A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Twisted bible verses found in the Patriarchal bible

Smash Patriarchy image
[image design by Tori used with permission]

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In some Christian circles, Patriarchy is a big deal. Here is a description of it (penned by Ps Jeff Crippen):

The term “patriarch” is a valid, historic word with a simple, non-philosophical meaning. A patriarch is a “first father” and it refers to the “fathers” or founders of some movement, institution, or political entity. George Washington was a “founding father” of the U.S.A. and thus, a patriarch. In this sense, “patriarch” can be a broad term that theoretically could include a woman who was one of the founders of something.

But when we use the word “patriarch” and add various suffixes to it, the thing morphs into something else entirely. Patriarchal, patriarchy, patriarchalism, and so on. These words describe a society of some kind (a family, a nation, a local church, etc) in which father not only knows best, but is best. And, more properly, where men are best in contrast to women. Patriarchy in a family, for instance, exalts the husband to an innately (by virtue of being male) superior status above his wife (by virtue of her being female). In a patriarchal society then, men are seen as entitled to power and control over women. It is the man, the husband, the father whose mission in life truly matters to God, and therefore the woman, the wife, the mother, the children exist to further that mission. Their personhood, in other words, does not exist independently, nor even symbiotically, but rather as an “attachment” to the main program.

This is all in contrast to the biblical teaching that both men and women are created in the image of God. Neither is it an accurate application of the scripture’s doctrine of a husband being the head of his wife which, in contrast, emphasizes that headship as working itself out in loving, sacrificial service apart from a lording it over. Patriarchy denies the reality of the Apostle Paul’s words:

Gal 3:28-29  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

This text is distorted frequently of course. There ARE differences between men and women! But Paul reminds us here that there is no “—archy” of any kind in Christ. There is no “power over.” In fact, other scriptures tell us that the “archy-ites” (the ones who are first now) will be “eschat-ites” (last ones)  in the kingdom. Men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, all who are truly in Christ are full heirs of every blessing in the heavenly places, and in the new creation which is on its way.

So, when we use the term Patriarchy we are referring to the version of male headship which so vaunts the principle of male leadership that it easily becomes a toxic breeding ground for an unChristlike male privilege worldview.

We are joining today with several other abuse activists in cyberspace — the blogs Spiritual Sounding Board & The Wartburg Watch, and the I Will Stand page on Facebook — to publish simultaneous posts on Twisted bible verses found in the Patriarchal Bible.  Click on each of these links to read the other activists’ posts.

Of course, you can’t go into you local Christian bookstore and buy The Patriarchal Bible. To our knowledge there is no book published with that title. But there is a Patriarchal Bible in the minds of many ‘c’hristians who are twisting the Bible to justify their self-serving beliefs in male-entitlement and male supremacy.

Note: Many Christians believe the Bible endorses male leadership in the home and the church, often called ‘male headship’;  other Christians believe that the Bible teaches equality in gender roles and that leadership roles should emanate from a person’s gifts rather than their gender. At this blog we steer clear of this heated debate other than by saying what we think male headship and female submission are NOT. Today’s post is not a change in our policy regarding our choice to sidestep that controversial debate; it only addresses the kind of male headship in Christendom which so easily morphs into toxic male supremacy and treats women as second class citizens.

Here are a few  twisted verses we detect in the attitudes and teachings of Patriarchal ‘c’hristians:
Trigger warning — this may bring up tough memories for some of our readers.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be to control your husband.” And to the man he said “And you must rule over your wife.” (twisted by conflating Genesis 3:16 and 4:7)

What Genesis 3:16 really says is as follows; God is addressing Eve, not Adam:

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” [The word ‘desire’ in that verse simply means desire, longing; it does not have to imply that woman’s desire is to control her husband.]

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Since the husband is the ‘head,’ like Christ is the head of the church, whatever a husband does to his wife is right. In fact, it is loving.  (twisted from Ephesians 5:22-24)

The last two sentences in the paragraph above (the ones in bold) are not in the Bible. They are fantasies in the Patriarchal mind.

. . . do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined . . . then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. A husband can discipline his wife, punishing her in whatever way he chooses when he thinks she needs correction, because it is good for her to be disciplined. She should see that discipline as love, not as cruelty. She should welcome it because it will help her be a better wife.  (twisted from Hebrews 12:5-8 and Proverbs 13:4)

Again, the bold words above are illegitimately added by the Patriarchalists.

If the wife says she has not done anything to deserve punishment, she is claiming to be without sin; she is deceiving herself and the truth is not in her. If she claims to not have sinned, she is making her husband out to be a liar, and God’s word has no place in her. (twisted from 1 John 1: 6-10)

In my opinion, abusers need to apply 1 John 1: 6-10 to themselves, not their victims. The passage actually says:

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. Since the husband is to be like Christ to his wife, the husband can use violence against his wife when he is displeased with her. (twisted from Matthew 21:12; twisting in bold)

All women are deceived and cannot know the truth. So whatever a woman believes, the opposite is true. A wife should let her husband do the thinking for her; it is her responsibility to carry out his decisions without question — to question her husband, even in her own heart, is to question God. (twisted from 1 Tim. 2:13-14)

Here is the actual wording of 1 Tim. 2:13-14

For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Adam was not deceived: he ate the fruit with full consciousness that he was sinning.  Eve, however, was deceived: she ate without full consciousness that she was sinning. This relates to the teaching that we all fell in Adam (not in Eve) sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin (Rom 5:12) and the first Adam/last Adam teaching in 1 Cor. 15:45-49.

Whatever happens in the marital bed is honorable. Coercion, threats, sodomy, making the wife dress up as a schoolgirl or a prostitute, beating, whipping, rape — it’s all pure because it’s done in the marital bed.  (twisted from Hebrews 13:4) 

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4)

The verse clearly is saying that married persons must take especial care to keep the marriage bed pure by not indulging in adultery and sexual immorality of any kind. That would include pornography and unnatural practices like sodomy, pedophilia, homosexuality, etc.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “The chief purpose of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love of God for the church, so make sure you put that purpose first; all the other purposes of marriage (being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth and subduing it) are less important than the illustrative purpose of marriage.  (bold wording is a twisted conflation of Genesis 1:27-28 & Ephesians 5:22-32)

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. A woman should meet her husband’s every need, but a man does not have to meet any of his wife’s needs. (bold wording twisted from 1 Corinthians 11:8-9)

[note from Barb: I edited this post after reading a suggestion from readers on the I Will Stand FB page]

Now we’re inviting you to brainstorm: What other twisted verses do you think are in the Patriarchal bible?

43 Comments

  1. As I See It Only

    I have two for your consideration:
    1. I Timothy 2:12. (Women not to have authority over a man). This has been twisted to mean women may not express an opinion that is contrary to a man’s opinion. Therefore, if there is a disagreement surrounding any facts–particularly in abuse cases–people must believe the husband, not the wife.

    2. I Timothy 3: 4 (description of good prospects for church leadership). Men who desire to rule in the church must prove that they are worthy by [heavy-handed] ruling over their own wives and families. This seems to encourage ‘weak’ men to step up and show by their abuse that they rule their own homes.

  2. Katy

    when Nancy DeMoss stated in her book Lies Women Believe that women who separate from an abusive husband lose God’s favor and protection — what verse is she twisting to get that? I wasn’t sure. it is definitely twisted and sick!

    • Words fail. Sometimes words utterly fail. Ugh!!

      • Katy

        well let me be accurate… 🙂 I think the context was if you separate from your husband because you fear for your life, you better keep an attitude of reverence for his position as your head or God will remove His protection from you

        someone correct me if I’m wrong….but what verses was she using to back that up?

      • Katy, I have not read Lies Women Believe by DeMoss, but I would guess that she was deriving her interpretation from the Patriarchal twist on ‘the husband is head of his wife as Christ is head of the Church’ (Eph. 5). That twist claims that the role of headship of the husband is so sacrosanct that, should a husband demand that his wife sin, and she must refuse to comply, she must refuse in winsome tones, making it obvious that she still respects his role as head. Now, that might work fine for a flawed husband who is not an abuser. But it is never going to work for a husband who is an abuser. The winsome words of his wife will only feed the abuser’s entrenched belief in his superior entitlement. It is like giving wine to an alcoholic: the wine may temporarily settle his bad mood, but it will entrench his addiction.

        And the catch 22 with the Patriarchal view held by DeMoss, Piper, and many others, is that they can always find a way to accuse the wife of not being winsome enough, not couching her refusal to sin in honeyed enough tones, not honoring her husband’s headship enough. Thus, the more strongly she has take a stand and set boundaries against her abusive husband, the more the Patriarchalists can accuse her of being a bad wife.

      • Katy said:

        I think the context was if you separate from your husband because you fear for your life, you better keep an attitude of reverence for his position as your head or God will remove His protection from you

        Because you don’t have permission to divorce? Is that what I’m understanding, Katy? So while this man maintains a position of unrepentance, causing his wife to separate for her safety/sanity, she’s supposed to keep an attitude of reverence? There must be a Patriarchal translation for women. Oh, maybe it’s the one with the pink cover that my friend suggested. This stuff brings the snark out of me and I need to yank myself away from the keyboard before I get into trouble. hellllllllppppp!!

    • King'sDaughter

      ” women who separate from an abusive husband lose God’s favor and protection”

      Twisted AND untrue! When I submitted to his ungodliness I made him a god. Sure I had Jehovah but my abuser was elevated right there with him, ruling and reigning, keeping me so befuzzled I had hardly anything left to offer The One True God… I was breaking the very first commandment!
      When I repented and refused to live in the lie any longer God DELIVERED me! I am not only separated but divorcing and I have never been more smack dab in the center of God’s favor and protection!
      That’s like saying that the Israelites were stepping out from the protective “covering” of Pharaoh!
      Sarcastic warning—-We are supposed to submit to our rulers right? Weren’t they disobeying? There was no law to permit them to flee… how could anyone be sure it was truly God’s will? Shouldnt they respect the “role” of Pharoh? —That’s the kind of twistedness we (or at least I) go through when being delivered from Satan’s evil stronghold of abuse .
      Yes I call it deliverance (no I’m not pentacostal- not that there”s anything to be ashamed of there) because that is what divorcing an abuser IS! Its not a failed marriage, giving up, breaking down or a wearing out of endurance, it is pure, holy, godly deliverance! When the devil has his nasty claws in someone and God breaks those chains, the set free person has. been. delivered. NOT divorced!
      I’m sure thankful MY protection comes from Jehovah God and not His poor misguided Children (even if Miss DeMoss does have plenty of $$$ and power)!

      • As I See It Only

        Great observation, KD. Want to hear a good one? my abuser’s first name meant ‘ruler’ and his secretary (in a fit of sarcastic honesty) give him a mug that said, ‘Me boss, you not’. It was a prized possession. The sarcasm was completely lost on him.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Amen King’s Daughter! Good going! 🙂

      • Brenda R

        Amen. That is exactly how I feel. I have been delivered, rescued by the Lord God. My heart and mind are clear. I feel closer to God now giving him praise for his answer to prayer. I could be delivered by change in my husband, but that didn’t happen. So my address is now changed.

    • Anne

      And I was told this very thing today.

    • SJR

      Oh that miserable and wretched book used in the ladies study at my church so many years ago(and that was at the good church) !!

      Bad effects on me, I couldn’t say any thing about my husbands verbal, emotional and sexual abuse of me to anyone. No one believed the small things about him-that would never be believed. Save the marriage at all costs! We are still roommates with bedroom privileges, but of course still “married”. I threw the book away.

      • Brenda R

        I haven’t read the book, but from what I have heard of it I might go into book burning if it comes my way. I feel the same about The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner. Just respect your husband and everything will be fine. Sure honey I respect you as the broken glass is falling on me from the glass he just threw that hit inches from my head. It is about the dumbest thing I ever heard. One of her examples had me writing a very poor review of her book. A husband with irresponsible spending habits and lack of ability to pay bills was the setting. The wife allowed her husband to suffer the consequences of his poor behavior. He didn’t pay the electric bill and the power was shut off more than once. They had small children and no heat. As far as I was concerned she was just as responsible for making sure this was done and could have lost her children for neglect. This was not a way to show respect and didn’t seem to teach him responsibility either. Respect should be mutual and there is no way that I am going to bear the shame of anyone elses poor behavior.

  3. Barnabasintraining

    Clearly you are reading and quoting from your new Men’s Patriarchal Version* Bibles, preferred 2 to 1 over all other versions by abusers of all stripes.

    (*Vote at Julie Anne’s for your favorite name for this new Bible version. Currently MPV is winning.)

    • As I See It Only

      I wish there were a good way to make it the MVP Bible (Most Valuable Player). It seems to line up with the abuser mentality.

      • That’s a good one, As I See it Only. I’m going to add it to the poll. If you voted for something else and want to change it, just vote for the new selection twice to cancel out the old vote.

  4. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “The chief purpose of marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love of God for the church, so make sure you put that purpose first; all the other purposes of marriage (being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth and subduing it) are less important than the illustrative purpose of marriage. (twisted by conflating Genesis 1:27-28 & Ephesians 5:22-32)”

    This one is really good. Though I would include “intimacy and companionship” as purposes of marriage in addition to the others mentioned.

    • You’re right, Jeff S, good pick up. It was not good for Adam to be alone: so the purpose of marriage is intimacy and companionship (not being alone); being fruitful, multiplying and filling the earth (procreation); and working together for God’s kingdom (filling and subduing the earth).

  5. annette621

    I had told my counselor I don’t respect my husband, He said to me ,That I needed to respect the husband role, not my husbands actions. Just how do you do this, when you can’t trust the person actions and what they say. Oh My word! all of this sounds like the teaching I grew up under. It really sounds a lot along the lines of sharia law. Without the stonings. God help us !

    • As I See It Only

      There’s stonings . . . and then there’s ‘stonings’. Maybe sharia law is just a little more honest about its murderous intent.

  6. lydiasellerofpurple

    Nancy DeMoss was born rich, is still rich, never married and has no children. Not sure she can relate or teach women anything about marriage, abuse, etc. In fact, I suspect she has many non profit ministry men submitting to HER for donations.

    Her comment makes no sense. The woman needs protection FROM the abusive husband. He has no “God ordained protection” to offer her when he is the one who is abusing her. Did Nancy miss logic in college? How about Thinking 101?

    • Yes, and I wonder how DeMoss factors in Romans 13:4 and God’s ordaining the secular magistrate as an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. The secular courts are ordained by God for the protection of the oppressed, and the punishment and restraint of wickedness.

      What the Patriarchalists need to do a lot more of is talk about how an abused wife can, in all godliness, seek protection from the secular courts without implying any disrespect to the principle that the husband is head of the wife. They really need to grapple with the business of a victim seeking protection through the courts, rather than drop the idea in as an parenthesis or a footnote, as they tend to do.

      But of course, if they started doing that, their whole house of cards might fall down, and then yikes, they would not longer be able to keep their women under, and keep themselves as the top dogs.

  7. lydiasellerofpurple

    ” had told my counselor I don’t respect my husband, He said to me ,That I needed to respect the husband role, not my husband’s actions. Just how do you do this, when you can’t trust the person actions and what they say. Oh My word! all of this sounds like the teaching I grew up under. It really sounds a lot along the lines of sharia law. Without the stonings. God help us !”

    Annette,

    We cannot separate who a person IS from what they DO. This is being taught all over the place in many venues from church to politics. What they DO consistently tells you WHO they are. A “role” is a part one plays. That is why discussions of “roles” is ridiculous. We are not to be pretend people. We are not “acting out” our lives. Using the word “role” should always be a red flag.

    Amazing how many people have bought into this in all segments of our society.

  8. I have recently watched a church leader advocate for a friend of mine to stay in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. It amazes me that this man can preach so eloquently on the gospel of Grace and the message of Galatians, but he fails to see God’s saving grace and mercy in an abusive relationship.

    As Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and “broke” a commandment (in the eyes of the Pharisees), he demonstrated that the law was LOVE. God gave us the commandments because he loves us and wishes to protect us from evil! He wanted his commandments to foster and preserve a holy people who loved Him. It’s amazing how we as humans use the law to judge and hate. People will deny an abused woman her freedom in Christ just as the Pharisees would have denied the crippled man his healing. As Jesus later said, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

    • King'sDaughter

      ” I have recently watched a church leader advocate for a friend of mine to stay in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship”

      THAT just makes me sick! I have a friend in an abusive relationship (amazing how many of these you see outside of the fog) who, when dating this abuser was guilted into marrying him by her pastor because they had been intimate. “God won’t help you unless you do things His way..” sort of guilt.
      Makes me think of the pastor who tried to manipulate me into staying in a dangerous situation, citing the damage I would inflict on my children by leaving!
      Shepherds like this are DANGEROUS!
      I’ve given up trying to figure out “why”, as identifying motives can be as twisty as the abuse itself, all I need to know anymore is if the behavior is acceptable and promotes righteousness or ungodliness. A pastor instructing, guilting or otherwise influencing a person to stay in a destructive situation is not promoting righteousness. That’s enough for me.
      Oh and btw the pastor first mentioned not only instructed this woman to wed an abuser but he proceeded to malign her character calling her a trouble maker behind her back (in strict confidence of course).
      His personal motives matter nothing here… those kinds of actions stem far beyond individual sin or misguidedness, that kind of advice and behavior is straight from the pit of hell.

      • Brenda R

        I’m not sure how this man could call him self a pastor or why a church would keep him.

      • King'sDaughter

        I’m sure he thinks he’s doing a good job… keeping families together, putting the “harlot” under the authority of a man, promoting “biblical” standards and warning (in strict confidence) of the harlot’s propencity to stir up trouble…
        His church LOVES him! He is personable, kind and doesn’t cause trouble. He puts out fires and makes everyone feel good. He’s Dr. Feelgood-or-just-bad-enough-to-feel-religious. He believes he is good. He has given his life to the ministry but he is blind. Blind from birth, from his sin or his parents? It makes no difference, he just plain can not see. And we love him because we trust his heart, we know he means well so he must be well. Right?

      • Brenda R

        I’m thinking NO, but that is just my opinion. I don’t know the man.

      • “I’ve given up trying to figure out “why”, as identifying motives can be as twisty as the abuse itself”
        THIS! Bingo!

  9. Paul

    Wait. Wait!
    Let’s see if I’ve got this right.
    So a woman who is being abused by her husband is receiving God’s favor and protection.
    But, if she separates from her abusive husband, she loses God’s favor and protection?

    • Brenda R

      Yah!! It doesn’t make sense to me either. I have been told that if I had bruises I could leave, but because I am ONLY brow beaten and inanimate objects thrown in my direction that I had to stay. I’m still looking for that verse somewhere, but haven’t found it.

      • Barnabasintraining

        So you have to stay because he has bad aim. Got it.

      • Brenda R

        Now that was a much needed laugh Barnabas. It wouldn’t have been funny if he would have ever connected (I did have glass shatter and fall on me while leaning against a wall once, but that wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t cut!), but I really needed that laugh. I’m sure that verse isn’t in the Bible either. Thank you. I truly am grateful for that.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I’m glad you found that amusing, Brenda. 🙂

        I was kind of er, aiming (heh. 😉 ) at the stupidity of that kind of reasoning precisely because of what you said here:

        It wouldn’t have been funny if he would have ever connected

        No. It wouldn’t.

  10. RayLene Logan

    I Cor 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

    Because of this verse, my husband would tell me that my body belonged to him and that he could do whatever he wanted with it, and that I didn’t get to say “no”.

    I Cor 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    This is the verse my husband used to explain to me that I was not in line with Scripture if I did not initiate sex. His reasoning was that he wanted me to initiate and so that was his due benevolence.

    I Cor 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

    This is the verse that my husband used to tell me how I was in sin and sexually abusing him when I would not share a bed with him any longer. Our last sexual encounter was while I was pregnant. I told him he was hurting me. He did not stop. When he was done, I thought I was bleeding…thankfully, I was not. I could not endure anymore and refused to sleep in the same room with him anymore. Thus I became his abuser.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Clearly he didn’t understand the second part of 7:4 Funny how common that is among abusers. Like it doesn’t even exist!

    • Stronger Now

      I experienced all of these. I told him that when he would grope and hump me while I was making supper, right in front of small children, that I felt demeaned, I didn’t like it and I wished he wouldn’t do it. He told me that my body belonged to him and he could do whatever he wanted to it.

      When I told a counselor, in joint counseling (I know, stupid), that my husband demanded sex every single day, and multiple times on weekends, my husband protested that “two weeks ago on Wednesday night I gave you a break.” (The counselor managed to keep a straight face, even!)

      Then when we got home, he informed me that he would no longer initiate sex. A few days later, when I had let more than one 24 hour period pass without initiating, he complained that he didn’t think that it would be “never.” He made it clear that I was responsible to initiate sex just as often as he would have.

      When I would tell him that he was hurting me during sex, he would not stop doing whatever he was doing that was hurting me. I had to learn to figure out ways (positions) to avoid getting hurt.

      When I developed an allergy to the soap he was using, making sex excruciatingly painful (burning) from beginning to end, he refused to change soaps, because “it wasn’t hurting him, so it wasn’t his problem.” After 7 years of enduring this pain every day and multiple times on weekends, I was suicidal. (Yeah, imagine that!)

      When I saw a counselor, he told me that “wives submit to your husbands” did not include that kind of treatment and I could refuse sex if my husband wouldn’t change soaps. It took a bit for me to work up the courage, but I did tell him that I wasn’t going to have sex with him if he insisted on using a soap that was hurting me. He changed his soap! Of course, because now it was going to cost HIM something.

      His financial irresponsibility got us evicted multiple times, utilities shut off, house foreclosed, and finally bankruptcy. And a pastor to whom we went for counseling (again, joint, duh) said I had to let him handle the finances so he would learn from reality. That’s the situation that led to the foreclosure and bankruptcy, and myself and many children would have been homeless if not for the benevolence of a relative.

      That pastor promised me he would oversee my husband’s financial management and make sure we were ok. Sure. When he made that promise, he knew he was candidating to move to another church out of our area. When he was chosen to pastor the new church within 2 months, he left us high and dry without looking back, and never kept his word about mentoring my husband.

      Scripture twisting, it’s rampant. All to maintain power and control.

      • Hi Stronger Now, I airbrushed one detail in your comment before publishing it. Since you’ve been around the blog for a while, I am guessing you are well aware of the potential risk of a comment being too identifying. If you want us to airbrush anything else from your comment, please email me and TWBTC. 🙂

  11. The verses on submission are frequently and maliciously twisted to suit wife abusers, but the fifth commandment is also frequently twisted by child abusers as well. There really are some people in the church who believe that the commandment to honor your mother and father really does give them the right to abuse their child in any way they want to and that that commandment prevents them from ever having to experience any consequences for it in the relationship.

    I’ve never married and thankfully, I’ve been spared the hell of domestic abuse/violence in my life, but the woman who gave birth to me did abuse and neglect me and she believed the fifth commandment gave her the right to do so. I for one get so hurt and so weary of hearing Christians say that if parents abuse their kids, they are still owed honor from them; that they can spiritually or even physically murder their children and their children still owe them something, and that ANY kind of parental obligation or responsibility of parents to their children is COMPLETELY optional. They still get their honor regardless, even if they treat their children like manure.

    I won’t lie. I’ve been a Christian for many years now and while I certainly love Jesus and respect His Word, I have always been very deeply offended that when God wrote the fifth commandment, He said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING of the obvious obligations parents have to care for their children. Sure, in other places Jesus affirms the special place children have in His heart, and in the NT letters, fathers (parents) are admonished not to provoke their children to wrath, but for abusers like the one I had who at least CLAIMED to be a Christian (but had minimal knowledge of the Bible when I was little), they’re unaware of those verses but the Ten Commandments are famous all over the world and have been for centuries, and practically everybody knows about the fifth commandment. Because later on it gives the promise that children who honor their parents will be rewarded with a long life in the Promised Land, I personally believe that that implies that God only meant that commandment in the context of a healthy parent/child relationship in which the parents are actually DOING THEIR JOBS, but it has always hurt me quite a bit that God DIDN’T say something more like, “Children, honor your father and mother, but parents, you in turn must take good care of your children because I never intended a parent/child relationship to be a one-way street. Your children should honor you, but that doesn’t give you the right to think of your children as your subhuman playthings, and My commandment for them to honor you DOES NOT give you the right to refuse to care for them, or make your obligations to them optional. You have responsibilities in this relationship too, and you don’t get to experience the blessing of your children’s honor if you don’t do your jobs. Children ARE NOT animals.”

    But anyway, it’s obviously a very similar system of malicious Scripture-twisting that gets used on abused wives in the church, verses in Ephesians 5 and in other NT letters twisted to try to say to abused wives that they can’t even talk about the agony caused by their abusers with anyone because to do so would disrespect their husbands as their spiritual head and the head of the house, etc., etc. Only it’s the fifth commandment and the story of how two of Noah’s sons kept quiet about their father’s drunkenness that gets twisted this time. Such verses are twisted to try to keep child abuse victims from ever reaching out to anyone for help (as if it wasn’t hard enough for them to do so already!) because according to people who view the fifth commandment in this light, that story of Noah’s drunkenness produces some kind of biblical unwritten rule that says that if parents do anything that’s harmful to their children, children in turn must obey a code of silence so that their parents are never viewed in a negative light. (Translation: the fifth commandment and the story of Noah’s drunkenness is some kind of unwritten biblical mandate that means that child abuse must be swept under the rug because an abusive parent’s reputation is more important than an abused child’s well-being.) Tragically, I do suspect that maybe even the majority of people in today’s churches really do believe that “Children, honor your father and mother” is essentially saying, “Parents, children are your possessions, your toys. Do with them whatever you wish for they do not have the same amount of worth in My eyes as you do.”

    • Arwen, I am so sorry for what happened to you, both the way your mother treated you and the way many ‘c’hristians have treated you. They don’t get it, do they, ‘c’hristians like that. They simply don’t get what abuse is and how vile and evil it can be. They mouth platitudes, but they have no knowledge.

      My take on the fifth commandement is that like any other commandment is must never be used to excuse or enable sin. God does not condone sin, and he most definitly would not tell an abused child that she must honour her abusive parent by staying silent about that parent’s wrongdoing. Like an abused spouse, an abused child can best honour her abusive parent(s) by standing up, refusing to comply with the abuse, speaking out about it to those who have a duty of care to stop it and protect the child, and keep speaking out and reaching out till she is made truly safe from her abuser(s). With wicked people, the best way to honour them is to refuse to comply with their wicked conduct and to do what she can, within the parameters of her personal safety and wellbeing, to make her abuser accountable. That kind of response from the victim calls the wicked one to repentance; therefore it honours the wrongdoer as a person made in the image of God who ought NOT to be behaving so wickedly. The abuser may not respond to that call, but the victim cannot control the abuser’s response, as we all know.

      Blessings to you, and thank you for visiting our blog. 🙂

      You might like to read this post by Megan, one of our team: How I teach my children to honor their abusive parent. I think you may find it refreshing.

  12. Another passage that is often twisted to justify Patriarchy is Genesis 2:18-20.

    Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

    Some people claim that Adam’s naming of the animals before the Fall indicates that male authority is a Creation ordinance. And they justify male authority over women on the basis that Adam named Eve.

    Martin Shields’ post Finding too much sex in Genesis 2 challenges several of the common misunderstandings of Genesis 2. Here is an excerpt from that post:

    Naming the animals is an expression of the man’s authority over them.

    This one’s very common [it’s a very common misunderstanding], but [it] completely misses the point of the naming episode. The first mistake is the presupposition that naming in the ancient world always served as an expression of authority. This is not true (just see Gen 16:13 for a good counter-example). More fundamental to naming was the aspect of character recognition. Names reflected something of the character or nature of that which was being named. This is seen in numerous names and name changes, think of Noah, Abram/Abraham, Isaac, and so on.

    Next, take a look at what’s actually going on in Genesis 2 before the naming: God declares that it is not good for the man to be alone. What follows (the naming of the animals) is the first step in resolving this problem: God has the man examine the various animals he brings to him in order to determine whether any will fulfil the shortfall in creation. Naming the animals is an act designed to depict to the reader this close examination of each animal. It’s not simply something God gives the man to take his mind off his problems, it is an activity designed to scrutinise the animals to determine whether any would be a suitable companion for the man (note that it does not include naming of all animals, only those with which the man could feasibly form some form of attachment). In the end, no animal is found that is suitable and so God moves to plan B, build a companion from the side of the man.

    Claiming that this is primarily about authority makes the whole naming of the animals an irrelevant aside in the story. Correctly understood it serves as a search for the missing element in creation, and highlights the unique place in creation the woman occupies, for no animal is a suitable companion for the man.

Trackbacks

  1. Smashing Patriarchy and Their Twisted Translations of the Bible | Spiritual Sounding Board
  2. Why people in patriarchal societies and Abrahamic religions despise weakness and are addicted to power and success | The Mystery of Christ

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