A Cry For Justice

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

Patriarchal Abusive Marriage is a Counterfeit of Marriage — and thus is Very Deceiving

My husband does not permit me to sin. When I sin, he sends me to my room and tells me to stay there until my attitude is godly again.

Those words were spoken by a pastor’s wife to a group of Christian women/wives.  Their response?  “Oh, what a model of a godly marriage.”

It was anything but that. And yet, these ladies believed it. They craved it for themselves. They believed that this woman’s husband was high and holy, far above their own husbands. Why? How could they possibly believe that such a thing as this pastor’s wife described is biblical, Christian, genuine marriage? In part, I suggest that the answer is that the enemy is a master counterfeiter. He is a liar and a deceiver. He sends false Jesus figures, false Christs, false pastors, false pastor wives, false Christians into our midst and these counterfeits are quite often, outwardly, genuine in appearance.

Patriarchal abusive marriage is a counterfeit of biblical marriage. It boasts of “submission” but runs with that idea and turns it into slavery. It lauds “headship” and presents the abuser to us as a model of that headship. He tells her what clothes to wear and she wears them, and only them. He tells her she must obey him, and she obeys him. He tells her what the true interpretation of Scripture is, and she believes him. The children appear to be a model of obedience to their parents, and the rest of the families in the church wish their children and homes looked like that.

But the whole thing is false. It is a sham. The marriage. The home. The family. The whole thing is bogus, an imitation, but only an imitation, and a very deceptive one. It is an idol created by man to bring us into bondage.

Do you envy some marriage or family in your church? Are the objects of your envy regarded by the church as a model of godliness? Take care. You may very well have been duped by a deception. The genuine is often in the background, unseen, following Christ humbly rather than blowing trumpets on street corners.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:1-4)

 

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18 Comments

  1. Seeing Clearly

    My prayer for 2016. Open my eyes, omniscient God, to see truth, to see counterfeit, and to know the difference. Encourage my heart toward boldness to stand for truth and to boldly stand up to the counterfeit. Thank you, God, for all that I have learned, the last couple of years, through the diligent work of ACFJ. May your blessing and favor continue to rest on this, your, vital ministry.

    • Jeff Crippen

      What a great prayer! Amen!

    • healinginhim

      Amen!

  2. As I look back over the last sevaral years. I now can see the trap the enemy was setting up.
    Using a outward appearing large church body to control my behavior.
    God will use the closest family or friend to set his trap.
    In my case it was my daughters and her father.
    I am still reeling from the effects of
    Spiritual abuse. Mind games. Works out side of grace. Financial control. Guilt. Shame. Loss is the biggest one. Such as family. Friends.
    Satan’s arsonal is full of tools.
    Division is a big one!
    Siding with truth will inflict pain.
    Emotional. Physical.
    Trust will be broken.
    If your enemy can break trust in your daily walk with God.
    Beware!
    This has been my most recent war.
    Trusting God.
    Doubt sets in.
    Thank God! He has brought along
    a few who have gone through the battle
    scared but stronger.
    Able to encourage and support with sound rebuke and concern.
    It’s not over yet.
    The light at the end is getting brighter tho.
    Thankful for this site.
    Intothelight1

    • Jeff Crippen

      Excellent! When we learn to discern it actually strengthens our faith when we realize what is oppressing us is not of Christ at all.

      • Anonymous

        And amazing to me is that the more discerning we become, the more peace we have. Peace settles in because the fog has lifted. Our minds are more clear therefore our decision-making process is focused and as a result our faith is strengthened. Accepting reality and the truth of knowing we must let go of an abusive ‘marriage’ and move forward is a bitter pill to swallow, but truly with it comes peace. We will no doubt have new challenges and difficulties in 2016 but we must never forget, we have Immanuel! God bless ACFJ and each and every one of you here.

  3. rrprewett

    What struck me immediately was not the controlling nature of this husband, or that he treats his wife like a child, but that neither person in this couple has a truly Biblical understanding of sin.

    He does not “permit her to sin”? In other words, supposedly he is the definer of sin, and recognizes it immediately in his wife, sending her to her room. Nowhere does Scripture tell us that this is a wise or godly response to someone else’s sin — or that this is even possible. Can he read her thought? discern her heart? Does he send her to her room regularly because she does not love God or her neighbor as she should? If he has not had to send her to her room for a few hours, does he then banish her for being so puffed up as to think she has been living a life of sinless perfection all that time? Who sends him to his room for standing in judgment over his wife and attempting to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit? Why is she not constantly in her room for her sin in not only allowing her husband to take in a role meant for God alone, but bragging about it to other women and encouraging idolatry and pride?

    “Look at me. My husband does not permit me to sin. I have no need of the Holy Spirit to convict or sanctify me because I have my husband. Let me boast of my sinlessness — after all, I’m not in my room right now! — and of my husband. He discerns my thoughts from afar. He keeps me from sin. Who needs God when one has a husband like mine?”

    Do these people even realize what they are saying?

  4. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you for such concise, clear words about something that sounds so spiritual but is a diabolical trap. The sin inspectors–I know them so well! Beware of them, I realize I have a “friend” in my life that is a sin inspector. They are steeped in darkness because their pride of putting themselves in the place of God they project their sin on their victims. They swallow the camel of their sin of abuse while straining at the gnat in their victims.

    It doesn’t matter what corner of the world you are from, abusers all have the same pattern, they seek to enslave their victims! I had a sin corrector husband that spent 20 years daily looking for things I needed to repent of. Taught that he was the voice of God in my life from the patriarchal church and my narcissistic scapegoating family of origin; I was steeped in deep shame. He’d tell me what my motives were and why they were wrong until I didn’t know what I thought anymore.

    Love, pain and servitude all seemed tightly bound to each other and life was nothing but burdensome. Seeking for meaning outside of my marriage by helping other women in a ministry that spontaneously found me brought the church down on my head. They rebuked me and told me I needed to be a keeper at home.

    They told my then husband/god if I didn’t stay at home we’d be thrown out of the church. I think in retrospect that the other wives were jealous that community women were calling on me for assistance. It disturbed our slavery to our husbands and living for their whims if I had anything outside of my house happening. It wasn’t until after 20 years of spirit breaking and a nervous breakdown from the shame of being the family sin “eater” that the thought “I’m a slave” came to my mind.

    The truth sets you free. The good news about this is that my sensitivity is raised when I hear, see, sense, taste or get within 50 feet of slavemakers I know it.

  5. Anonymous

    I only had one example of a “Christian” marriage growing up. I was TOLD this was a good marriage, but what I saw was a woman who exemplified “perfection” but was obviously hopeless and depressed. She was musically gifted and played a variety of instruments, was active in all church activities, played guitar on the church bus every Sunday, held Good News Clubs meetings monthly in the local projects (this is how I came to the Lord), got her education (against her husbands wishes) and became a teacher, cared for her selfish mother until her death and entertained all her family members. She happened to be a relative of mine. Her husband lied to her, called her names, tried to keep her poor, used her gifts to glorify himself, constantly incited fear within her by pointing out all her flaws and how others would perceive her to be selfish etc. The abuse she endured actually turned me off to a “Christian” marriage because I knew I could never be “good” enough if this was the standard that needed to be achieved in order to be in a Christian marriage. So instead, I married what I thought was a “good” man.

    I have since read countless books on marriage, taken classes etc., etc., but NONE of them provided me with truth. It was only after God tore down all the lies in my life was it revealed that everything I had been taught about a Biblical marriage was actually a gross pervasion of what the Bible said. This evil deception was concocted in the brains of those who feel no love towards others but who secretly desire to manipulate those who they believe they “own” and to also be worshiped by them. People like me who have a sincere desire to serve the Lord and desire to give genuine love to others, are the ones who are so deeply destroyed by this evil. This is right up Satan’s alley. To have God’s genuine people serving HIS evil children.

    I know that Proverbs 31 is a trigger for many women because the church has used it to control them, but for me this passage shows what a dick my husband is and also all men who employ control over their wives are. When I read it I see a women who loves the Lord and is free to do this because her husband is also a man of God and is wise enough to love and admire her and her heart and so leaves her alone yet supports her so she can serve God in the way she was created to do. He is proud of her success and counts himself blessed and realizes that part of the reason he is admired at the city gate is because he has such a kick-butt wife! There’s no talk of him trying to implement control, him telling her that she should be this or do that but instead he actively loves her by telling her how grateful he is and beautiful she is in the Lord! Not one derogatory comment; just rapt admiration and gratefulness. No getting in the way of the many gifts God has given her that are clearly meant to glorify the Lord and also be blessings to all who are in her care.

    It [Psalm 31] is a measuring stick that can be used to assess THE HUSBAND as a man of God, not the wife. Is he such a man of God that he knows that the Lord is actively working in his wife’s live as He is working in his own and that God has a unique walk for each of His children and that we are to be helpmates for each other not owners? Is her energy sapped because Mr. Husband MUST be worshiped or is her energy being enlivened by a helping, LOVING husband who knows they are co-heirs in the Lord? Can he compile such a thoughtful list? Meaning, can he SEE the many things his wife has done or can he only think of the negative things? Or does he need to have a list of equal amounts negative in order to allow her to get credit for any positive thing? Does he need to include himself in her successes or can he do as the author in Proverbs 31 has done and solely list his wife’s successes?

    Thank you for yet another topic to help us see where evil lurks and how it destroys God’s children. I’m grateful!

    • Jeff Crippen

      “I have since read countless books on marriage, taken classes etc., etc., but NONE of them provided me with truth. It was only after God tore down all the lies in my life was it revealed that everything I had been taught about a Biblical marriage was actually a gross pervasion of what the Bible said.”

      Nailed it!!!!!

    • Anonymous – Thank you for taking the time to articulate where so many of us have been.
      I wish my adult children could see that I was a victim to bad teaching and that their father did not question others. He passively portrayed what the church wanted to see – now I am being blamed and have been told that it was me who ‘demanded the so-called Christianity’ that they grew up with – that their father was the compliant one …
      My talents were always put aside as I encouraged my husband in his hours of employment, etc. I always had to have everything ready so we could spend time with his family whereas my parents saw us very sparingly. I did not want to believe that this was selfishness on his part. I wanted so much to believe that I was being a good wife.

    • Thank you for your words about Proverbs 31!

      We have a four-part series on Proverbs 31, in which we republish an article by Carmen Bryant. I am going to put a link to this comment of yours into Part 1 of that series. 🙂

    • bright sunshinin' day

      Well said, Anon. Regarding marriage, I especially like your phrases, “God has a unique walk for each of His children,” “we are to be helpmates for each other,” and “co-heirs in the Lord.” You said:

      It [Psalm 31] is a measuring stick that can be used to assess THE HUSBAND as a man of God, not the wife. Is he such a man of God that he knows that the Lord is actively working in his wife’s live as He is working in his own and that God has a unique walk for each of His children and that we are to be helpmates for each other not owners? Is her energy sapped because Mr. Husband MUST be worshiped or is her energy being enlivened by a helping, LOVING husband who knows they are co-heirs in the Lord? Can he compile such a thoughtful list? Meaning, can he SEE the many things his wife has done or can he only think of the negative things? Or does he need to have a list of equal amounts negative in order to allow her to get credit for any positive thing? Does he need to include himself in her successes or can he do as the author in Proverbs 31 has done and solely list his wife’s successes?

  6. This is awful from both angles–female AND male. Besides the awful and ungodly control issues over the women in these situations, it does not really serve truly godly men either. It is this sort of “does not permit me to sin” mindset that gets Christian husbands unjustly blamed for their wives choosing to commit adultery and abandon them.

    We are each responsible for our own sins as we will each answer individually for them (see 2 Cor 5:10). I continue be disgusted by how the evangelical community continues to feed “The Shared Responsibility Lie” that suggests we take–even partial–responsibility for another person’s sins (i.e. our spouse’s or former spouse’s). It is a lie. And any teaching built on a lie will be burnt up on Judgment Day…including, IMO, the teaching expressed by the pastor’s wife quoted at the top of the post.

    Whatever happened to encouraging Christian maturity involving taking responsibility for our own choices and actions before God with an eye to tending our OWN living relationship with Him?

    • Anonymous

      Divorce Minister,
      The thing is that there are oftentimes decades of abuse that have been heaped on people with a heart to love and they have no idea about the truth of scripture and as a result believe they are doing “right’ by taking direction from their “Christian” spouse or church. It is rarely as cut and dried a “we must all take responsibility for our own actions.”

      I was raised around people who attended AA-type meetings. If you’re familiar with this type of cult, they are always teaching that you are responsible for your own actions. So I was raised to never blame others and always blame myself. The problem is that the people around me were actually abusers and they found covert ways to abuse me and they never saw themselves as abusers. I was so brain-washed to NEVER blame others and as a result, I couldn’t see that I was being abused. Can you see how it’s all intertwined? We must first acknowledge that some people are abusers (even if they never hit or physically harm someone) and educate people. (A person with an abusive mindset is different than someone who has been abused and is acting out.) Then we must help their victims through education about abusers, help them to see how they may have been raised to become victims of abusers, and then how to learn to live as a child of God without catering to evil. George Simon’s books are a good place to start to see how these evil ones operate. Dr. Robert Hare also has a good book and some videos on Youtube. Once you see how these evil people must always control and manipulate others, with no truth and constant hatred, on top of a church and society that denies that some people are evil, you can see how we end up in situations like this.

      Before we demand that people MUST take responsibility for their own actions, we must first ensure that they know the truth about evil and how abusers operate, Then we can start to sort out how abuse has affected the victims, so that they can start to hear and feel the Word of God in their hearts and minds instead of the rules created by men that they’ve been following. It’s often a slow process but worth every second spent on helping God’s little ones heal. (Remember that PTSD is a permanent alteration in a persons brain and things that trigger it can further damage a victims brain so it is necessary to learn to care for ourselves–be gentle with ourselves–for the rest of our lives.)

      • Agreed, Anonymous. Dr. Simon is an excellent resource. THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR was a book that was very helpful and eye-opening for me as well.

        What you have described is a common spiritual abuse tactic that I recognize as common in the evangelical world. This sort of false teaching blames everything on the individual and ignores orthodox sin doctrine that recognizes that others can and DO sin against us. It further exacerbates the abuse by pressing the abuse victim to answer the question of what he or she did to “cause” or bring on the abuse. This is not godly but wicked, IMO.

        I am not talking about “personal responsibility” in that sense. Part of having good personal boundaries is recognizing when someone has violated those boundaries and then reinforcing them (something I still have to work on myself as it is a journey). I am responsible for rebuking my brother if he sins against me (see Luke 17:3), but I am in no way responsible for his sin against me or his response to my rebuke.

        Finally, I am in FULL agreement that we need to educate people about the disordered in our midst a la Dr. Simon (i.e. character disordered). The last thing I would want to see happen is a victim blaming herself for being victimized.

      • This comment is from Anonymous, replying to Divorce Minister:

        Such a great response! You’ve explained this type of abuse perfectly:

        What you have described is a common spiritual abuse tactic that I recognize as common in the evangelical world. This sort of false teaching blames everything on the individual and ignores orthodox sin doctrine that recognizes that others can and DO sin against us. It further exacerbates the abuse by pressing the abuse victim to answer the question of what he or she did to ’cause’ or bring on the abuse. This is not godly but wicked, IMO.

        I pray others who need this find it and are encouraged and comforted by it. Thank you!

      • Seeing Clearly

        I agree that it is “rarely cut and dried”. Your writing is concise and correct.

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