A Cry For Justice

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

Is Martha Peace a strong advocate for women who are being abused?

My first email to Martha Peace, 20 Feb 2016

Hello Martha

I assume you mean well and want to help Christian women. I believe you are under-informed about the dynamics of domestic abuse, and as a result your teaching is harming many Christian women whose husbands are abusing them. I am sure you do not mean to harm victims of domestic abuse. 

I co-lead the blog A Cry For Justice which is seeking to awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst. 

 If you are willing to learn more, I invite you to read this comment at our blog, and the few comments below it.

I also invite you to read this post at our blog: Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 groups — women influencing each other

yours in Christ

Barbara Roberts
co-leader of A Cry For Justice

Martha’s reply, 23 Feb:

Dear Barbara,

I am not sure what you have been told about me, but I am a strong advocate for women who are being abused, even verbally. I will refer you to my book, The Excellent Wife, chapter 14, “Resources to Protect a Wife Whose Husband is Sinning.” I always tell a wife who is not safe to either get a protective order and/or call the police and press charges. I do understand the dynamics and the understandable fear and intimidation these wives go through. Our church has, at times, sheltered women and children. I am concerned that you have been told, perhaps by someone I counseled a long time ago, some distorted truths.

There is a new book out by Chris Moles entitled Domestic Abuse and I highly recommend it.

May God bless your ministry.

Thank you for reaching out to me.

Martha

My reply to Martha, 23 Feb:

Hello Martha

I still believe that you do not sufficiently understand domestic abuse.
What you said to me confirms my opinion. You said:

I am a strong advocate for women who are being abused, even verbally. I will refer you to my book, The Excellent Wife, chapter 14, “Resources to Protect a Wife Whose Husband is Sinning.” I always tell a wife who is not safe to either get a protective order and/or call the police and press charges. 

This tells me that you think of domestic abuse as only physical violence. 

It also suggests to me that you are naive enough to think that the police are always able to press charges in cases of physical violence. You are so wrong. In many many cases the police will tell the victim who makes a report:  “It wasn’t serious enough to lay charges. . . there isn’t enough evidence. . .” etc. etc. Furthermore, police are often hamstrung by weak laws that define domestic violence in very limited ways. There is NO law in the whole of America that defines coercive control as domestic violence (and rarely in other countries, but England and Scotland have such a law ). 

Coercive control is THE main feature of domestic abuse, and coercive control can be achieved without the use of any violence. 

Here is our definition of abuse at our blog A Cry For Justice:

What is Abuse?

The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.

The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.

* Sometimes the genders are reversed.

I hope I have nudged you to see that you do in fact need to learn more about domestic abuse.
I hope you will humble yourself and listen to those who are willing and able to inform and educate you. 

Clearly you didn’t bother reading my email in any detail. My email gave a two links to testimonies from victim of domestic abuse who have been negatively impacted by your teaching.

Here are the links again, in case you change your mind and wish to read them:

I invite you to read this comment at our blog, and the few comments below it.

I also invite you to read this post at our blog: Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 groups — women influencing each other

I am aware of Chris Mole’s work. You say you think his new book is good.
But it seems you are closed off to reading anything more — Why?
Far better than Chris Moles’ work is the second book my colleague Pastor Jeff Crippen has written: Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church. 

But if you think you don’t need to be educated on this issue, I have nothing more to say to you.

Yours sincerely 

Barbara Roberts

~ ~ ~

Martha Peace has made no further reply to me.

* * * * * *

I think it is just too hard for people to get a fire in their belly on this issue unless it touches them personally at some level. There is a laziness and lack of serious interest otherwise. It is frustrating, but I think the floodgates are starting to swell open, and women are starting to stream out. Churches will have no choice but to address this because Christian women are not going to stand for it anymore.

The snow is melting. Aslan is coming.

— Natalie Klejwa (who blogs at Visionary Womanhood)

11 Comments

  1. healingInHim

    Thank you for posting this correspondence. Many Titus 2 ministries like Martha Peace’s influenced me. Even though The Word was my ultimate standard, my state of confusion and sensing that I must be doing something wrong had me reaching out to such resources.
    I kept trying harder to be the perfect wife who eventually would win her husband over without a word which is exactly what he has now acquired as we are non-verbal and he now doesn’t even profess a faith?
    It’s taken ACFJ and others to finally make me realize that I had every right to be righteously angry at sin!
    Many women are led to believe that it is only the men who can exhibit so-called ‘righteous anger’.

  2. Thisismysong

    Oh, how I love that quote. The snow is melting indeed, and I long for Aslans’ arrival. In my home, while married to an abusive spouse, it was always winter and never Christmas.
    Barbara, you are such an encourager, and this website has been a sweet shelter to a battered soul.

  3. keeningforthedawn

    The Natalie Klejwa quote is spot on. So much hard truth, yet hope-driven and inspiring as well.

  4. Avid Reader

    Did Martha Peace actually recommend Chapter 14 of her book The Excellent Wife for victims of abuse?

    OH NOOOOOOO!

    Chapter 14 of her book has very questionable advice that becomes downright horrific when applied to victims of abuse.

    Reading through that book you feel that something is wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it until you realize that she is trying to remove your ability to make personal decisions. Even God Almighty respects your ability to make choices to the point of allowing you the option to reject Christ and spend an eternity in hell—yet Martha keeps insisting that you can’t make your own decisions!

    For example she teaches,

    Occasionally a husband will instruct his wife that in certain areas she is to make the decisions. In those cases, when authority is delegated to her, SHE THEN HAS FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. Otherwise he should be consulted in all matters that are important to him and she should submit. (page 151-152)

    Can you imagine a victim of abuse reading that book and thinking that they cannot seek help or find safety without the abuser’s permission? While Martha does encourage battered wives to call the police, she spends most of the book ripping apart their self esteem while emphasizing, “Rebellion is a very serious sin. If you disobey your husband you are indirectly shaking your fist at God.” (page 181)

    She doesn’t even give OBEDIENT women the benefit of the doubt when she writes, “Even if wives outwardly obey, they are often resentful and rebellious in their hearts.” (page 175)

    Maybe Martha doesn’t understand the Biblical story of Abigail who was married to an abuser but saved the lives of her household by disobeying her husband. Throughout the Bible, God rewards the initiative of women — from Jael who kills the evil General Sisera to Esther who saves an entire nation from destruction. God wants us to “stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2Timothy 1:6) instead of trying to hide that light under a bushel. (Matthew 5:15-16).

    For those that are interested, I’ve posted a full review of her book on Amazon
    https://www.amazon.com/review/R3RZVOY7C18PBM/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    • Avid Reader’s review of Martha Peace’s The Excellent Wife is EXCELLENT!

      I encourage you to click on this link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can vote on the review.

      • standsfortruth

        Thank you so much for writing that great review Avid Reader..
        it spotlights the many flaws of her twisted biblical perspective of women.

      • bright sunshinin' day

        As you said, Barbara, Avid Reader wrote an EXCELLENT review of Martha Peace’s book, The Excellent Wife. Really, the title should read, The Enslaved Wife. Here’s just a sample of AR’s wisdom to expose Peace’s folly:

        #2 Overcome Evil with Good

        Martha defines this as: “Serve a special meal to him, give him an unexpected gift, fill up his car with gas.” (page 158)

        What about setting boundaries to protect yourself from abuse? When King Saul threw the javelin at David—David left the palace. He didn’t stick around trying to do favors for King Saul. When the Pharisees tried to kill Jesus, Jesus left. (Luke 4:28-30).

    • The Wary Witness

      Wow! All that stuff in Ms. Peace’s book about the wife being “obedient” and the husband being an “authority” figure!

      I hope this doesn’t come across as sounding too crude or graphic, but who would want to sleep with an authority figure? That’s just creepy. Really creepy. In fact it makes me want to vomit.

      • standsfortruth

        Very true Wary Wittness, when one spouce is “dispenced” (through a FALSE TEACHING) a “hierarchy position over their partner” due to gender privilage, what results is a set up much like Hitlers regime, insted of a true relationship built on mutual respect, honor and trust where love CAN grow.
        No room for Love in that recipe.
        Just undeserved power, dominance and unjust control. Very twisted.

  5. Rosie

    Unfortunately, I am familiar with Martha Peace’s book “The Excellent Wife.” When I first became a Christian the book was recommended for me to read. In my former church books like these are held high. This type of teaching kept me in a cycle of confusion, despair, & abuse! The light bulb started going on when I read page 121 for the 5th time. Martha clearly puts the blame on wives when/if their husbands cheat on them. (Trigger warning if you read it). Wives are not responsible for satisfying their husband’s unquenchable sinful lust. Wives are not responsible for their husband’s sin period. In my opinion, Marha’s teaching lays heavy burdens on already weary shoulders.

    Martha makes blanket generalizations in her book for marriage, not acknowledging that every wife’s situation is different.

  6. Avid Reader

    Rosie,

    Thank you for sharing. That’s a really good point about page 121. My heart goes out to you and everyone else who has suffered under this religious nonsense that is causing so much damage. It’s “having a form of godliness and denying the power thereof, from such turn away.” 2Timothy 3:5

    The “power” that they deny is the “power” that Jesus gives us in John 10:18
    “No one takes My life from me but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. This command have I received of My Father.”

    Jesus gave us the power to decide when it’s time to pick up the pieces of our lives and move on. With all the teaching out there denying you that power, we have to keep shouting from the rooftops “Stand fast in the Liberty where with Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again in the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

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