A Cry For Justice

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

Is there biblical grounds for divorcing an abuser? — Eternity magazine

Eternity, a magazine published by the Bible Society of Australia and widely read by Australian Christians, has published Barbara Robert’s article Is there biblical grounds for divorcing an abuser?

We mentioned this on our Facebook page yesterday, but since not all of our readers follow our FB page we wanted to let you know here as well.

Australia has had a lot of  media coverage and discussion about domestic abuse over the last year. This has affected some sections of the church and some Christians have become much more engaged with the topic than before.

I (Barb) believe that an article like the one linked above would have not have seen the light of day in an Australian Christian publication some years ago, but now the ground has shifted — thank God — and there seem to be more key people willing to address the issue, challenge some long-held myths, and sweep out from under the rug the hidden stories of abuse.

10 Comments

  1. MaxGrace

    That’s great news. again – with the bringing tears to the eyes thing.
    It’s just wonderful.

  2. a prodigal daughter returns

    Congratulations and praise God for this break through step Babara! It is my hope and prayer that as this article touches people so that lives will be saved, people set free out of bondage and released to live of life of worship and freedom. In the US news this week, a family that included 6 children was gunned down and killed. The news calls it a domestic dispute, which is a denial of reality. When a batterer has a gun there is no dispute involved, just a former partner intent of finishing his violence with a bang. Those children weren’t disputing anything.
    Those that insist on reconciliation do not fully appreciate that they may be inviting someone to stay in the line of fire with someone that may very well be their killer some day. I’d hate to have blood on my hands because I insisted divorce wasn’t allowed and that victims of domestic violence must reconcile and make nice with a perpetrator. We take the potential for deadly escalation far too lightly

  3. marriedtohyde

    This is awesome! Barb’s ability to explain biblical divorce set me free from an iron ring of bondage my former pastor’s wife laid on me when she told me I had to wait indefinitely for ex to reconcile…I could never remarry.

    So so so glad this was published in a third party media so more people are exposed to truth.

  4. StrongerNow

    I also celebrate the spread of this message. It needs to be heard far and wide!

  5. Still Reforming

    Wow, Barbara! That made 1 Corinthians 5 leap out as it has never before to me:

    When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

    So…. that means that if a pastor and church leaders do NOT deliver the abuser to Satan so that his spirit may be saved, they are in fact doing the opposite, I would think. That is, by accepting him in his sin and trespasses they thereby deliver him straight to the gates of hell.

    Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    So… what Paul is saying that by a congregation keeping an abuser, that unrepentant sinner with the seared conscience who refuses to repent (by his private life of denying Christ by his abuse), such a one leavens the whole lump – the entire congregation and church. Not saying every single person therewithin will be damned, but it puts the basket over the light, takes the salt out of the church, quenches the witness and Spirit within.

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    That’s pretty straightforward. As I see it, all those who are abusers but go to church, thereby representing themselves as “brothers” – well, once they’re identified by their targets as the swindlers they are, then those leaders who do not hold these evil-doers to account are guilty. These leaders are refusing to judge those inside the church, as God clearly calls them here to do.

    Thank you, Barbara, very much!!!

    • you’ve got it, SR!
      and thanks for the encouragement 🙂

      • I’m not disagreeing here. I’m wondering what Romans 14:13 is getting at compared to ….what have I to do with judging outsiders. Meaning they are outsiders who behave in this way and should be cast out not judged as a brother/sister in Christ.

      • That’s a reasonable question, HisBanner.

        Romans 14:1-4 (ESV) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

        This passage is about how we are to interact with weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. It says of these ‘weaker brethren’ that their master is the Lord Jesus Christ, so they are IN the body of Christ, they are not outsiders. They have faith, but they are weak in faith and their understanding of the precepts of Christ is immature, under-developed. They think that certain things (conduct) are required or are forbidden to Christians, but the things they think are hard and fast rules for all Christians are in fact adiaphora. Adiaphora are matters that Christians have liberty in, things which the Scripture neither requires of believers nor proscribes as sinful. Each believer is at liberty to make their own choice regarding matters like that — foods, special days, etc. — and in this passage in Romans Paul is cautioning us that in regards to matters like that we must not act or teach in a way that misleads or confuses or despises or lays false guilt on believers whose understanding and maturity may not be as well developed as ours is.

        Ps Jeff may wish to add or tweak what I’ve said here.

  6. divorcinganarc

    I’m so grateful for this website and your continuing boldness to speak the truth. This article is insightful, thought-provoking and descriptive. Not to mention courageous. It gives those of us who have suffered abuse great hope. I have forwarded the article to my church elders and asked for a discussion. We’ll see how that goes!

    Thank you again for your advocacy for those dealing with an abusive spouse. Your willingness to dig into scripture and thoughtfully apply it to the evil of domestic abuse is helping so many of us Christians who are battling the shame and pain of divorce from an abuser. Blessings to you for your work.

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