A Cry For Justice

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

Wayne Grudem & CBMW don’t seem interested in reducing domestic abuse

Wayne Grudem and CBMW seem to be uninterested in correcting the gaps and flaws in complementarianism which make it easy for abusive husbands to get away with abuse.

Here are my experiences and observations about Wayne Grudem which make me say this.

1.   Approximately three years ago, one of our guest posters informed us that he (the guest poster) was in email contact with Wayne Grudem and that Grudem had told him that he was reading our blog. I have no reason to doubt this man’s report. Therefore, I believe that Grudem is at least somewhat aware of our efforts at ACFJ to awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst.

2.   Back in July 2010 I published a Critique of CBMW’s Statement on Abuse at my notunderbondage.com site. This was before ACFJ had begun. I published a revised version of the critique in 2012, here at A Cry For Justice: Critique of CBMW’s Statement on abuse. The critique expresses my concerns about CBMW’s Statement on Abuse which they adopted in 1994.

On 29 July 2010 emailed several leaders at CBMW to let them know I’d published the critique. I made sure to tell them that I wasn’t criticising CBMW’s views on gender roles, but I was concerned that their Statement on Abuse was potentially hurtful and dangerous to victims of domestic abuse. The CBMW leaders I emailed were: Randy Stinson, Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, John Piper, Ligon Duncan, H Wayne House, Albert Mohler, Susan Hunt, Peter Jones, Thomas Schreiner, Greg Allison, Mary Kassian, Dorothy Patterson, Paige Patterson, Thomas Edgar, James Hurley, John Ray Ortlund, mail@hopeinGod.org, info@reviveourhearts.com, blog@cbmw.org, office@cbmw.org,  info@cwfa.org,   administration@graceevfree.org.

Randy Stinson, who at that time was the Executive Director of CBMW, replied to me. (I give details of our correspondence at the end of this post).  I think the most important thing he said to me was —

You have made some good points in your critique and I plan to implement some of them. … I do plan to make some changes based on your suggestions.

CBMW no longer have their Statement on Abuse on their website (see proof here) but they still know about it because when Denny Burk recently was made their President, one of the things he said was:

I would like to revisit CBMW’s Statement against Abuse, to reiterate that the abuse of women is a serious crime, and has no place in a complementarian framework. (link)

I hope Denny Burk meant ‘revise’ as well as ‘revisit.’ But I don’t think his revision will make a difference unless he dumps his notion that the Pre-incarnate Christ had the form of God but was not equal with God. This is truly mind gagging stuff:

in Paul’s Christology “form of God” is something that Jesus possessed by virtue of his deity, while “equality with God” is not.
(Denny Burk, “Christ’s Functional Subordination in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Trinitarian Implications” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Fall 2011, link)

As far as I can tell, CBMW have never modified their Statement on Abuse in any way. The only thing they appear to have done is remove it from their website. 

Wayne Grudem was a recipient of my initial email in 2010. He was also a recipient of my later email to Stinson which I cc’d other CBMW leaders into. Maybe Grudem didn’t read my emails because he was too busy (I know how that can happen to me!) But if Randy Stinson set about doing what he said he was going to do — make some changes to the Statement based on my suggestions — then one would think that he would have discussed the plan with CBMW leaders including Grudem back in 2010. 

Putting all this evidence together, I suggest that it is highly likely that Wayne Grudem is at least somewhat aware of our concerns about CBMW’s approach to domestic abuse. Yet he does not appear to have done anything about it. Like the others at CBMW, he appears to have been sitting on his hands.

And of  course, CBMW and many of its allies do not allow comments on their blogs, so they automatically prevent themselves from being exposed to feedback from outsiders.

Details of my attempts to get CBMW to review their Statement on Abuse

In July 2010 I published the first version of my Critique of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Statement on Abuse at my site notunderbondage.com. On 29 July I emailed several leaders at CBMW to let them know I’d published my critique.

In August 13, Randy Stinson, who was then President of CBMW,  replied:

Barbara,

Would you have time to talk next week for about 20 minutes? Monday or Tuesday would be best.  I appreciate what you are trying to do but it would be easier to talk instead of trying to email back and forth.  I will get [my secretary] to try and coordinate something with you. I look forward to it.

Randy

Randy Stinson, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

I was so excited! But the proposed talk never eventuated. I  emailed him politely and briefly a few times more. As he continued to not reply, I cc’d to other CBMW folk as well in the hope that one of them might hold Stinson to account, or at least interact with me in lieu of Stinson interacting with me if he was too busy. No reply from anyone.

On October 14 (was I patient enough?) I emailed Randy Stinson to let him know that if he didn’t follow through on his avowed intention to dialogue, I would be putting an addendum on my post advising my readers that Stinson had said he wanted to talk with me but had failed to follow through. Therefore, it seemed that CBMW was unwilling to review its Statement on Abuse, was unwilling to enter into dialogue, unwilling to listen to victim-survivors of domestic abuse, and saw no need to improve its approach to domestic abuse. And I would be encouraging concerned readers to email CBMW.

Well. Stinson replied on Oct 19 (boldface added by me) —

Let me first start out by saying that I have every intention of taking your concerns about our statement seriously.  You have made some good points in your critique and I plan to implement some of them…. I would like to address a few matters with you.

First, your threat below is way over the top.  I appreciate your tenacity, but why would you think that this is the way to operate?  I want you to know that my response today is in spite of it, not because of it.  I have an email from you that goes back a couple of years.  In it, you actually compliment our statement and thought highly enough of it that you suggested that it should be on the front page of our website.  You are entitled to change your mind, but I do not understand how one makes such an angry shift.  Now you practically have us as accomplices in the act of abuse.  As I mentioned, I plan to make some changes, but it is a good statement and a strong statement.  I find it hard to believe that there are people out there finding loopholes in our statement and then justifying abuse.  I also am puzzled at why you would expend so much energy over tweaking our statement, when I am certain there are other places in the evangelical community that have no statements at all.

Second, your assumption below is that if we do not respond to you then we must not care about the abused.  You may need to get comfortable with the fact that you are not the only person that we are hearing from.  There are many people with whom we are in conversation that are either victims of abuse themselves, or work to help victims of abuse.  We did not create this statement in a vacuum.  Many people were involved including pastors.  It seems a little off to assume that because someone does not specifically listen to you in particular, then they must not care at all.

Third, I do not know of anyone who seriously thinks we are pro-abuse or pro-abusers.  Again, your intimation below that if we don’t change the statement we somehow fall into this category is completely unfounded.

Barbara, as I mentioned earlier, I do plan to make some changes based on your suggestions.  I will not make every change you suggested.  I also will not be held to some artificial timeline imposed by you.  As you have noticed, CCing multiple people on emails like you have been doing is not effective.  Most people do not like that so I would appreciate you just contacting me with any concerns you might have.  This will help you gain a higher level of credibility in the future.

I am willing to continue some dialogue through email if you wish to.

Blessings,

Randy Stinson

I emailed Stinson once more, and he did not reply. (I can provide evidence upon request.)

~ ~ ~

Why did I put Wayne Grudem’s name in the title of this post, when he is only one person within CBMW and the buck stops with CBMW as a whole? I did it because Grudem is probably the most prolific and influential teacher of ERAS/ESS/EFS.  Grudem has been pushing ERAS for years and years while being content to let CBMW’s Statement on Abuse languish and gather dust on the shelves somewhere in the bowels of the basement at CBMW. And I did it because Grudem is one of the founders of CBMW, so the buck stops more with him than many others. I’ve left out Piper, the other founder of CBMW, because he is in retirement now (though he still tweets…)

***

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42 Comments

  1. Anewanon

    When I went to our pastor about my marriage troubles, Grudem’s “biblical foundations for manhood and womanhood” was the first book he pulled off the shelf to give to me. Oh my.

  2. Lea

    >I find it hard to believe that there are people out there finding loopholes in our statement and then justifying abuse.

    It seems like there really are. Maybe he should read Ruth Tuckers book?

  3. Lynn

    Hmmmmmmm. Randy sounds like an abuser to me!

    • Leah

      He does😕

  4. Song of Joy

    I want to preface this comment by saying that there may be some people caught up within the leadership of the CBMW movement that have sincere motives and have the capacity to care about the real suffering of other people. Perhaps. There is still a chance for them to wake up and see what kind of a damaging movement they are part of.

    That being said, I think this is mostly a band of religious men who are very full of themselves and their ideas. They have put an enormous effort into justifying their male authoritarian beliefs by twisting scripture. They’ve produced charts and lists that label the hearts and minds of other people. They have waxed eloquent, convened conferences and published numerous papers on the finer details of all of their strict rules for gender roles.

    They promote and relentlessly push to institutionalize their philosophy within the church at large, regardless of how much real human suffering results from it. They love their own inner circle. They are so busy, don’t you know, with everything it takes to be like….what exactly?
    Awesomely harsh, pompous, overbearing, self-righteous Pharisees.

    This movement has proven that most of the leaders involved only give LIP-SERVICE to real people living real lives full of pain, hurt, confusion, violence and poverty (domestic and child abuse victims). They are so self-important that they have no time for actually living according to God’s command:

    Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

    He has shown you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justly, to love mercy,
    And to walk humbly with your God?

  5. kind of anonymous

    Ah, yes, I am familiar with this sort of pastoral behaviour. Many years ago my mom, who was an unbeliever, visited our church. The pastor preached a sermon in which he said that rock music was actually part of intentional satanic worship and that he had solid evidence to back that statement up which he would be glad to show anyone who asked him. So my mom approached him directly afterwards and asked to see the evidence. He obviously didn’t expect that anyone would actually ASK for what he had OFFERED openly. He hemmed and hawed and made some remarks about having to catch a flight out to a pastor’s conference the next day and that he would get back to her upon his return. Needless to say, that never materialized. My unsaved mother was not impressed. And really, what was she to make of this lack of integrity and follow through, but that he was a liar practicing intellectual slight of hand.

    At first glance, Stinson in one way may have a point; most people don`t respond to threats because they are most usually in our culture, a form of coercion by which we make someone bend to our will. So it would be understandable for anyone to refuse to be controlled by someone, not to mention how a male minister might respond to a woman doing that to him. He would for a variety of reasons, possibly perceive that as pushy, biblically out of line behaviour for a woman.

    HOWEVER, there is a story in the bible that comes to mind. It is the story of Tamar and her FIL Judah. Long story short, Tamar lost her husband and her FIL promised her that she would have his last remaining son as a husband when he was of age, that he might fulfill the duty of raising up a child to his dead brother by taking Tamar as a wife. Later when Tamar sees that Shelah had reached maturity and her FIL did not fulfill his promise to her, she takes matters into her own hands and pretends to be a prostitute. She is not about to be put off and gypped out of what is lawful and legitimate. She conceives a child. When her FIL hears of this, he is filled with righteous indignation and demands she be brought out and put to death. But she had obtained evidence from him of their `transaction ‘and sent it to him. When he is confronted with the evidence of his own hypocrisy, what does he say but: Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”

    Judah admits that he is caught out. He made a promise, swearing falsely. He struck the right pose of a righteous person but failed to follow through.. It`s interesting to note the his son Onan was like this also. He went through the motions of being righteous and honorable but he was cheating the woman he was dealing with of what was lawfully promised to her. God was displeased enough that he put Onan to death. It is abundantly clear that Tamar avoided the death penalty and the charge of being an ungodly woman who was out of line, because Judah put her in that position by his refusal to be a godly man and was actually denying her of what was right. Tamar had followed all the right pathways according to the law and she got the run around by men who were careful to appear God-fearing but who actually did what suited them at her expense.

    Scripture directs us to speak truth to one another and put off falsehood. It direct us to keep our word even if it is difficult. It even warns that liars will have their part in the lake of fire. There is no pretty way to put this. Tamar got done over.

    So, if Mr. Stinson did indeed tell Barbara that he wanted to speak to her and that he would make arrangements to do so, and then he did not follow through, then he has spoken falsely. If he changed his mind for some reason, he owes it to Barbara to speak truth to her. His admission that he has emails that date back quite a while hardly helps his case. If we are to go by scripture, then no matter how much of a monolith a ministry has become, no matter how much godly reputation it has, if those heading it say one thing and do another, it is actually THEY who are over the top and not in righteousness, in that they force other Christians to resort to confrontational measures to get them to deal honestly. The fact that men professing godliness would mock attempts to hold them accountable only highlights the problem that exists right now. Churches and Christians don’t actually BELIEVE scripture, nor require of themselves to take it seriously as binding upon themselves. This is where revival must begin. In re- realizing all over again that a Christian is one who loves Jesus and obeys Him. Many of us, myself included, are in need of repentance in that area, for we strike one pose and live another.

    So, Mr. Stinson: Did you tell Barbara that you wanted to talk her and that you were going to arrange something and then not do so; if so, she is more righteous than you and you should acknowledge that she is correct to hold you to account. Dealing truthfully and honestly with others is a key part of the fabric of righteousness, truth and integrity. Don`t you agree; let us honor our Saviour and Lord, the risen Son of God, with the first fruits of inward truth and outward honesty.

    • kind of anonymous

      Just wanted to say the wording `if Mr. Stinson did indeed tell Barbara that he wanted to speak to her“… is not meant in any way to imply that I am not sure if Barbara is telling the truth. I believe what she said and have no reason to doubt her word. I`ve seen this kind of thing enough times to know that not admitting failure and outright covering things is unfortunately quite common amongst leaders.

  6. Natalie Klejwa

    [Note from Barb: the italics and boldfacing in this comment was added by me.]

    This sounds exactly like the pastors and elders (in general – I don’t have experience with all of them) at Bethlehem Baptist (John Piper’s former church.) Here are two common themes I see:

    1. They don’t respond. This communicates that Barbara, the concerned woman, is not worth responding to. Why? One can only speculate since they won’t be honest with themselves or anyone else about why they choose not to respond. Maybe it’s because Barbara isn’t a pastor’s wife? Doesn’t smile enough? Gives negative feedback? Rumbles in the arena instead of sucking her thumb on the sidelines? Isn’t married and is therefore a renegade? Doesn’t have a penis?

    2. If you don’t pick up what they’re putting down via their lack of response, and you persist in expecting an authentic, honest, honorable, Christian response, they make veiled, personal attacks. Here is a summary of Stinson’s attacks:

    A. He labeled Barbara’s statement about updating her readers (which I thought was respectful of her – she didn’t have to give him a head’s up) a “THREAT.” She was THREATENING him when she told him she’d tell her readers the facts about what happened. The truth threatened him, and he didn’t like that, but he’s a Godly Christian Leader Man, and it never looks good for a Godly Christian Leader Man to be threatened by the TRUTH, for crying out loud, so he had to say it was Angry Little Nobody Woman threatening him. Maybe that made him feel better, which would be sort of weird when you think about it.

    B. He asks Barbara a question he should be asking himself. “Why would you think that is the way to operate?” – regarding her tenacity. But wait a minute…if he had just responded, no tenacity would have been necessary. So let’s ask HIM that question. “Why would you think that (not responding) is the way to operate?” And let’s take it a step further and ask him now – “Why would you continue to think that shaming a person for being forced to follow up with you on your word multiple times is the way to operate? Why? I don’t get it.”

    C. I gotta say, my sister and I busted out laughing when we read this next line of Stinson’s:

    “I want you to know that my response today is in spite of it, not because of it.”
    Oh wow. Wowzer BOWZER was that funny! He’s not even trying to hide his arrogance. He’s just letting it all hang out there for everyone to see. Seriously hilarious. And you know why? He’s pig bitin’ mad. He’s so offended by Angry Little Nobody Woman getting in his Godly Christian Leader Man face that he actually loses his Christian cool here. Now, I don’t have a problem with losing your Christian cool. I do it all. the. time. But when you pretend to be a rock star perfect guy – to lose your cool is to lose your cover. But every single man who thinks he is amazeballs WILL lose his cool when he is offended. And it WiLL show. And I’m sorry, but that’s funny. Read the Wemmick stories by Max Lucado for examples of this dynamic. Awk. I went down a rabbit trail. I wanted to point out what he is saying in his arrogant choice of words. “I want you to know that my venerable response is in spite of your ridiculous, shameful, even sinful (??) tenacity – but most certainly not because you deserve to hear from My Presidential Awesomeness. In finally responding to irritating, buggy little you, I am stooping, STOOPING, I tell you, to your level. Just so you know. I wanted to write this at the very beginning, JUST SO YOU KNOW.”

    Yeah. We got it. Impressive. Let’s move on.

    D. This next section is so full of it – I’ll just copy it and comment in parenthesis.

    “You are entitled to change your mind, but I do not understand how one makes such an angry shift.”
    (He is accusing her of making an angry shift that makes no sense to him. In his mind, she has no reason to make an angry shift. How does he know it is an ANGRY shift, in the first place? Is he assuming she is angry? Is he drawing conclusions based on his biases? Or maybe he just wants to write more negative things about her, as a person, rather than addressing the actual issues. Plus, I might add here that I think HE is the angry one.)

    “Now you practically have us as accomplices in the act of abuse.” 
    (Wait, what? Where is Barbara communicating that they are accomplices in THE ACT OF ABUSE? He obviously hasn’t paid attention.)

    “As I mentioned, I plan to make some changes, but it is a good statement and a strong statement.”
    (in his personal opinion). 

    “I find it hard to believe that there are people out there finding loopholes in our statement and then justifying abuse.”
    (I’m guessing he finds this hard to believe because he doesn’t have contact with anyone who does this. Does the world revolve around Stinson and his personal experiences with people? So if he doesn’t know anyone who does this – therefore nobody does this? Another really good reason to have a dialogue with someone who DOES know how this happens, but alas, Barbara doesn’t have a penis or a credible (to him) position, plus she keeps irritating him, so that rules her out.)

    “I also am puzzled at why you would expend so much energy over tweaking our statement, when I am certain there are other places in the evangelical community that have no statements at all.”
    (So, at this point, my sister and I are thinking this guy has a dead battery or has his wires crossed somewhere or something. Basically, he’s saying it confuses him as to why she would want to tweak an existing statement when there are non-existing statements in non-existence. Oh dear. We had tears running down our cheeks it was so funny.)

    D. He blatantly belittles her in the next section. You know. Like a mature Godly Christian Leader Man would. Again, he doesn’t actually address the issues. He continues to focus on how important HE is and how small SHE is. It’s sort of like domestic abuse on a macro-level. Gross. He writes:

    “…your assumption below is that if we do not respond to you then we must not care about the abused.  You may need to get comfortable with the fact that you are not the only person that we are hearing from.” 
    (He is talking down at her here. Treating her like his teen aged daughter rather than a grown woman who has years of experience and has authored books that are widely respected. But even if she hadn’t, is she not worthy of honor just for being a human being? This manner of his gives me cancer.)

    “There are many people with whom we are in conversation that are either victims of abuse themselves, or work to help victims of abuse”
    (and we know how “helpful” most of them are). 

    We did not create this statement in a vacuum.  Many people were involved including pastors”
    (I spit my crackers all over the kitchen floor when I read this part. PASTORS?! Now there’s your reason RIGHT THERE for why there are serious problems with their statement. Every experience I’ve had with pastors and abuse has been horrifically ignorant. Kind of like this email.)

    “It seems a little off to assume that because someone does not specifically listen to you in particular, then they must not care at all.”
    (Me thinks he is making assumptions about her assumptions.

    If I could sum up the basic argument of abusive individuals, it would be this: “You are making ASSUMPTIONS.” That’s their Go-To because they can say it about anything you might want to bring up. Anything. Try an experiment. Keep a paper with a tally of how many times these kinds of folks say that, and you’ll see my point. You can use it yourself anytime you don’t want to make an effort to use the grey matter between your ears. Aside from the tiresome “assumption” assumption, he is projecting his own arrogance onto Barbara, accusing her of being offended that they won’t specifically listen to her. I’m honestly trying to wrap my brain around the profound arrogance of this statement.

    Let me sum this up so far:

    Stinson says he wants to talk to Barbara.
    Stinson never follows through.
    Barbara emails him. No response.
    Barbara emails him. No response.
    Barbara emails him and cc’s others so they know this dude isn’t keeping his word. No response.
    Barbara lets him know that she will be letting her readers know.
    Stinson attacks her personally and accuses her of thinking she deserves a response from someone who promised a response. How dare she?

    Bottom line? Stinson is a hot shot man who may or may not keep his word, may or may not respond, and if you give him any feedback regarding his lack of follow-through, expect an attack. Plus he lies, which you’ll see at the bottom.

    This is how powerful men intimidate people and shut them up. I applaud Barbara for refusing to shut up. Refusing to back down. And for publicly calling him out on his unloving behavior. All she had to do is publish his own words. He hangs himself.

    Patrick Doyle says that the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference. Some men abuse power (hate) in overt ways. And some abuse power (hate) in covert ways. Ignoring people when you gave your word to follow through is HATE, plain and simple. Stinson was HATING on Barbara. Hate isn’t Christ-like. I hope Stinson will repent, but I’m not holding my breath. The most hateful, hurtful people I’ve ever known have been male Christian leaders and their homies.

    He says he doesn’t know anyone who seriously thinks they are pro-abuse or pro-abusers. This statement shows he isn’t listening. He has paid zero attention to what Barb is trying to communicate. He thinks he already knows, and he has no time for buggy little Barbara. He knows.

    And then he makes sure Barbara knows that he has NO intentions of doing anything because she asked. He wants her to know that she has NO influence, whatsoever. He implies (accuses her?) that she is holding him to a timeline rather than simply wanting to dialogue about the issues. Then he ends by scolding her again (she is a mere woman-child, you know) for cc’ing multiple people. He has no tolerance for the choices of others or their reasons for making those choices. If he thinks it is bad, it is bad. And he tells her most people are like HIM and think it is bad! (Cuz the world revolves around HIM, you know.) And for him, cc’ing multiple people who were on the original conversation is bad. No respect for Barbara at all. It’s reprehensible. Then he tells her to just contact him in the future (and we all can see how effective THAT is) because it will give her more credibility, implying that she has none right now. And THEN he says he is willing to continue some dialogue. But he lies. Because it turned out he wasn’t.

    Surprise, surprise.

    • Thank you Natalie Klejwa. I loved your comments on Stinson’s email. 🙂 I believe they are spot on. And though I may be a persistent teenage female, I wouldn’t have dared write that analysis myself because.. hey…there’s only so much self-defence one can engage in without looking like one is a narcissist, eh? But I fully agree with your analysis of Stinson’s words, now that you’ve done it.

      And BY THE WAY if there are any doubters reading this and thinking I’ve engaged in a conspiracy, I did not email Natalie or anyone else to ask them to defend me by analysing Stinson’s words! I gave no one a special heads up about this post before it was published. I just woke up this morning in Oz and saw Natalie’s comment sitting in moderation.

      • I will confirm that this is absolutely true. I saw this article in my own inbox, read it out loud to my sister, laughed my fool head off with her, and then sat down and penned my comment. It just bubbled right out.

        I have over two decades of experience personally dealing with these types of people. My church gave me extra doses of it in recent years, and I’m so thankful, because God used it to hone me. Plus, I read buttloads of fiction and non-fiction – both of which can teach you oodles about human nature.

        The reason I felt it was important to write an analysis is because most nice, normal people would read his email and feel bad about themselves. They would allow his crappy, verbally abusive language to affect their emotional well-being. I know, because that’s how I used to be. It’s still my knee-jerk reaction. But it is CRITICAL that we start seeing this kind of covert manipulation and shaming for what it is. THEIR PERSONAL CHARACTER ISSUE. Not ours.

        Another huge lesson here is that just because a human being holds a position of power doesn’t make them smart, wise, godly, or even ultimately powerful. It’s their character that makes them influential in God’s kingdom. One day there will be a big fire, and all the rubbish we may have thought was the stuff of which eternity is woven – will be burned. If this email is any reflection of the heart of this man, I’m suspecting his life work won’t be worth much in the end. And that’s sad. Sad for him, and sad for the Body of Christ. But for the rest of us, it is important to see sick, destructive rhetoric for what it is.

    • Natalie mentioned her experience with leaders at Bethlehem Baptist (John Piper’s former church.)

      At this blog in April 2015 we published a post titled John Piper’s old church is admitting to fault in how it has addressed domestic abuse, and making changes.

      Here is some of what Ps Jeff Crippen wrote in that post:

      Pastor Jason Meyer at John Piper’s old Church (Bethlehem Baptist) preached a sermon on Domestic Abuse last Sunday (sermon: Fooled By False Leadership). Many are hopeful change is taking place. I am pessimistically hopeful.

      Why hopeful? Because I really do hope the evil of abuse in the church is beginning to be exposed and called out.

      Why do I remain pessimistic right now? Because I read nothing in Jason’s sermon about four acid tests that evidence real change:

      There was no mention that abuse is indeed biblical grounds for divorce.
      There was no acknowledgment of the profound rarity of true repentance by abusers (in fact, Jason issued a call to abusers to repent and reminded them that such repentance is their only hope).
      Jason and the elders at Bethlehem issued an invitation to victims to come to them and get help (he acknowledged that the church had “disappointed” some abuse victims in the past).
      What is the intent of the church leadership? Is their intent to “save and fix this marriage”?

      Why are these tests so vital?

      First, if a church still will not acknowledge divorce for abuse, then that church fails on every other count as a true and safe ally of the victim. Remember! Bethlehem church is the long-time preaching base of John Piper, infamous to us for his no divorce ever for any reason whatsoever permanence view bondage teaching.

      Second, if there is still an undue emphasis upon bringing the abuser to repentance, victims will still be entangled in “waiting” for that repentance. Jason’s first statement in his conclusion, after reading the elders’ statement on domestic abuse, was a call to abusers to repent.

      And third, what is wrong with an invitation to help victims? Nothing, if the nature of that help is healthy and right. On our Facebook page yesterday I posted about this (link) and said I want to hear from Bethlehem church that they intend to ask the victim how they can help, rather than tell her what they are going to do, and what she must do as well. I posed the question: What will victims receive now when they go to the Bethlehem church leadership? Books and resources to become educated about the abuse, about their abuser, about the effects of the abuse on themselves? Leaders asking her how they can help? Or will they be faced with more of a “never fear, dear sister. We will handle this” style from the leadership?

      And fourth, if their intent is to “save and fix this marriage” and that is their primary goal, then they still are walking in ways that will continue to enable the abuser and increase the victim’s suffering.

      Here is some of what I (Barb) wrote in that post:

      we know for a fact that some women have been in Bethlehem Baptist Church in the past and been treated immensely unjustly when they sought help from the church about the abuse they were suffering from their husbands. Some of these women have left BBC because of the way they were treated. Will BBC be addressing the wrongs they have done in the past in such cases, and making full specific confession, apology and reparation where possible? I’m not thinking of financial reparation firstly, or even necessarily; I’m thinking of the kind of reparation that gives vindication to the maligned woman by confessing how the church has hurt the victim, and publicly denouncing her abusive and unreformed husband (or ex-husband) for what he has done to his wife and to the church by passing himself off as a nice Christian man. . .

      • and the reason I reprinted that stuff from our April 2015 post is because we HAVE NOT seen any of those changes at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

        What have we seen, since then, from BBC? When their Ps Jason Meyer preached that sermon flagging a change of mindset about how the church would be responding to domestic abuse, the church formed a team of people to spearhead that change and to interact with victims of domestic abuse who came forth. They called the team DART.

        I initiated email conversation with the DART team, hoping to engage with them positively and offering the help and resources we have at this blog. I was even willing to help coach the DART team members if they wanted it, so that they could become more astute at discerning tricky cases such as whether a man presenting as a victim was in fact an abuser or a victim (i.e. all the experience we have about abuser-ese and the language of abusers).
        In my early contact with DART I informed one key DART leader that I was putting her on my ‘group email’ list for occasional emails but she could unsubscribe at any time if she wished. Within a few months, that DART leader unsubscribed.

        btw, I do not send out group emails very often at all, so I doubt she unsubscribed because she felt I was flooding her inbox.

        So much for BBC’s supposed change of tune…

      • Based on my lengthy experience at Bethlehem, there have been very little changes. I believe they are better able to recognize overt, obvious abuse (which should have been a no-brainer to begin with), and they are attempting to help where they can. However, in general, they are still ignorant when it comes to covert abuse and the common, well-known tactics of abusers, and they are unwilling to learn (or believe, as the case may be). They “know” everything already. They are easily duped because their goal appears to be the rehabilitation of the abuser and the restoration of the relationship rather than the safety and sanity of the family.

        They gave an inordinate amount of time investing in my soon-to-be ex-husband while ignoring the profound and desperate needs of my children and myself. In the end, I was labeled the abuser. Why? Because my h said I was. This is Abuser Tactics 101. But they never took that class, or if they did, they weren’t paying attention. They get to keep my h (he’s a perfect fit) – and I’m no longer a member there. Although I was informed last week by one of them (unsolicited, by the way) that I am still a member until the congregation votes me off in October. Translation: “WE decide for you, and you need to know it.” Sort of delusional – like a cult.

        I would not recommend that a woman in the Twin Cities go there for help related to domestic abuse.

      • Thanks for that info, Natalie.

    • Leah

      That’s a blog post right there! Just drop the mic and exit stage left! You nailed it Sister!

    • GC

      Thanks for this spot-on analysis of Stinson’s communication with Barbara. I was appalled by the level of condescension in his emails, but you have spelled out his tactics so clearly.

      • Hi GC, let me offer you a belated welcome to the blog 🙂

        We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      • GC

        Thank you, Barbara

    • H

      Natalie, I am in complete awe at how skilled you are in seeing through this man’s B.S. and being able to so clearly and convincingly illuminate the subtle jabs and motivations behind what he wrote and how he behaved. So much awe. The truth rings in what you say.

      It’s so frustrating that abuse over years is able to fog your mind so that you can’t see things clearly. I myself read this exchange and find it difficult to ascribe evil motivations to him, I find myself explaining it and giving him the benefit of the doubt in my mind. I continue to read good motivations into my abusive husband’s communications, even though I have plenty of evidence that he purposely says things to get me to feel sorry for him and go back. Argh, my mind! When will the effects of abuse be gone completely from my heart and mind! But I’m encouraged that someday I may have such clear vision as you do.

  7. H

    I can understand that they get upset that people keep lumping them in with abusers or saying they are pro-abuse when they believe they have repeatedly made statements over and over again that they don’t support abuse. And they have indeed made such statements against abuse, it is true. Some of them are quoted above. I really believe that most, and hopefully all, of the CBMW leaders are completely against abuse of women in their hearts. But then they let their insulted pride stop them from soberly considering how the theology they teach at its heart allows for abuse and justifies it.

    I really can understand the reaction they have to the perception that people are attributing untrue (and horrifying) motives to them. I know how frustrating that feels, and I think in particular a lot of abuse victims can identify with that feeling.

    But God calls those who would step up and lead other Christians to lay aside so much concern for their own pride and reputation and to sincerely consider the truth of the matter.

    So, maybe people are unfairly characterizing your personal attitude about abuse. That’s not good. But what if those very same people have a justifiable point about some errors in your theology? Let God worry about your final reputation. You be zealous to make sure what you are teaching about the nature of the trinity, among other things, is accurate!

    More than having some people on the internet mad at you is at stake. God himself will be the judge of the teachings and the leadership you have taken upon yourself. Because of that alone, you should be actively concerned if a group of people (who intimately know abuse, by experience!) is saying your teachings justify abuse. Clearly God is not for abuse. So correct teachings about God should not encourage abuse, period. CBMW, where’s the source of the disconnect? Where’s the error coming from? (Not God, we know that much.)

    I’m not trying to say Barbara or anyone else is necessarily calling them abusers, or even that such an accusation is unfair considering their teachings and their resistance to correction… It just appears that they feel unfairly criticized and personally attacked, and then they are letting that taint their evaluation of the message of ACFJ.

    Understandable, but not a triumph of Christian maturity. It’s God’s reputation that matters most, not yours, CBMW.

    • H thank you so so much for this comment. I agree with all that you say there. And I really admire the way you worded it. 🙂

    • kind of anonymous

      It’s God’s reputation that matters most, not yours, CBMW.“ Isn`t that the crux of the matter in most cases right there, the issue of idolatry? The church is infected with this polymorphic virus.

  8. Angel

    What if a husband was physically and verbally abused by his wife 6yrs ago and once in awhile since two years ago but he never brought it up to keep the family together, and then eight later recently with the help of a female brought of charges of domestic violence. I’m sorry but this happens but the male conterpart usually will handle in silent distress.

    • Angel there is no need to apologise, especially since we recognise that sometimes the genders are reversed — see our Definition of Abuse in the sidebar.

      If you were inferring by your apology that we deny that husbands are sometimes be abused by wives, please don’t infer that.

  9. luvadoxi

    The most troubling thing to me is the re-emergence of the old Christological heresies! I grew up in the 50s and 60s in what is now the Presbyterian Church USA, then was Lutheran, and am now Catholic. I always assumed the Creeds united us….that everyone agreed who Christ is. Wow. And I want to say thank you so much for this site. I have had issues with my mother, and that’s how I first found you–the threads were so very helpful. God bless you in your work. 😘

  10. Stronger Now

    He only finds it hard to believe because he refuses to see things from any other point of view than his own.

    Hmmmm, who else typically does that?

  11. Un-Tangled

    When I read things like this, I often think that the men/pastors/church or ministry leaders who are teaching such things would never tolerate such abuse if they suffered from it. But then I realize that such men never will tolerate it, they will never be in such a situation, because no matter what happens, they can always blame the woman. If he loses his temper, abuses, looks at pornography…or whatever, it’s always, always the women’s fault. And if a woman–like Barb–tries to educate them about abuse, well, they don’t have to listen to such a rebellious, angry, threatening woman.

    They do not hear the cries of the abuse because they do not have ears to hear.

    And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

    But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 7:8-12)

    • Lea

      >no matter what happens, they can always blame the woman

      This is the long and the short of it, to me. Not only will they always blame the woman, they will never listen to her. So, this could have 50 people telling him that his policy caused them pain and he would still say ‘he never heard anything about that and couldn’t believe it’ because he never listened and never believed any women.

      • Charis

        ^yes. And it all started with Eve. And ever since her the rest of us have been blamed. For everything. Ever. With “Scripture” to back it up.

        So sad….

  12. StandsWithAFist

    From the prophet Jeremiah:
    6:13….”from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. Prophets and priests alike, all of them practice deceit.
    14 They offer only superficial help for the harm my people [my daughters] have suffered. They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’ But everything is not all right!”

    One translation says, “they have healed the wounds of my daughter superficially, saying ‘Peace, peace’, but there is no peace”.

    These self-righteous idiots have fulfilled ancient prophecy & can’t even recognize their own folly, which by definition, makes them fools.

  13. Barbara, thanks for this post and for your tenacity with CBMW. I hope it will eventually bear fruit. So some at CBMW find it astonishing that people care about how Christians talk about abuse. That words matter! It boggles the mind.

  14. Lea

    >>You have made some good points in your critique and I plan to implement some of them. … I do plan to make some changes based on your suggestions

    I want to say, if he is wondering why people don’t believe them when they say they don’t support abuse it’s because they talk out of both sides of their mouths. Here is an example. He is going to do this thing…but never does. We do not support abuse is in the all the statements, but in practice? That’s just not how it plays out.

    What you do speaks louder than what you say.

  15. Remedy

    I found it interesting that Mr. Stimson’s response to you, Barbara, is it would be better to have phone conversation than attempt to dialog via emails…….then after failing to follow through with what appeared to be genuine interest and subsequent confrontation about it, he completely changes to offering email ONLY exchanges. Very odd. Seems he may have gotten a talking to from these other colleagues to avoid talking, as words can be twisted, or he might even be persuaded to consider stronger action steps in their position ‘paper’…..and we can’t have that. Soooooo, better to avoid any further talks or at the least keep talks to the written word so there is controlled response (which can be evaluated by other colleagues) and written proof.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Hi Remedy, I don’t read too much into whether someone offers to phone me or email me, because if someone in America offers to phone me the first thing I have to tell them is that I’m in Australia. Most people who don’t know me well assume I’m in the USA.

      The time difference makes it pretty hard for me to interact by phone or skype with people in the USA. It can be done, but it’s a little complicated working out what time would suit each of us….and my brain can never wrap itself around the time differences so I have to work it out from scratch each time. Then on top of that I have to be aware of daylight saving changes which affect the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere differently.

      And yes, we do walk round on our heads here and we ride kangaroos — not!

  16. Charis

    “I find it hard to believe that there are people out there finding loopholes in our statement and then justifying abuse.”

    “…there are other places in the evangelical community that have no statements at all.”

    “We did not create this statement in a vacuum. Many people were involved including pastors”

    These statements do not surprise me. I attribute this mindset to an indication of how deeply embedded Mr Stinson is within the ‘c’hristian subculture. I was there once, too. The walls and atmosphere can be particularly thick on christian college campuses and workplaces.

    He doesn’t hear or recognize people finding loopholes in their statement because within the subculture he is surrounded by like-minded individuals: “yes-men.” And those on the fringe who might be objecting…will eventually be silenced or escape the bubble altogether.

    He then can justify any supposed imperfections in CBMW’s statement by condemning those he supposes have no statements: his organization is now on a pedestal within the subculture. In his mind’s eye they are trend-setters. He may even be obliquely be referring to organizations he considers “outside the bubble.” They may not even truly qualify as ‘christian’; they are suspect.

    Finally, he doesn’t acknowledge that the subculture IS a vacuum. Just because others were involved in crafting the statement doesn’t mean it had helpful, critical, expert opinion and insight. The subculture is often found re-creating secular expertise in its own image: christian education, christian music, christian psychology, christian entertainment, christian sports, christian libraries, christian dating sites, even christian medicine. It simply cannot – will not – recognize expertise outside the bubble. Thus, the vacuum becomes stronger…and blinder…not necessarily healthier and better.

    Barbara burst his bubble…and he didn’t like that.

    • When CBMW was thinking of write a statement on abuse, they invited CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) to work with them so they could issue a joint statement on abuse. CBE refused. So CBE is the ‘other organisation’ which Stinson is making a veiled reference to.

      But the fact that other organisations may or may not have issued statements on abuse has nothing to do with whether I had the right to critique CBMW’s statement on abuse.

  17. StandsWithAFist

    Reading thru the comments compelled me to revisit the “Hall of Blind Guides”, which then led me to the Association of Certified Biblical Counsellors (sic).

    Once there, I stumbled on a “board draft” of their most recent revision (June 2016) “ethical standards & statement”, as presented by their so-called Executive Director Heath Lambert, who wrote:

    I am happy to release this document, below, for the first time ever for public review. We believe this document represents the biblical standards of conduct for practitioners of biblical counseling. We believe it is a biblical, comprehensive, and persuasive explication of the kind of conduct which ought to characterize the ethical commitments of biblical counselors. But we want your feedback before we proceed any further.

    Quite predictably, there was NO feedback to the feedback, and the feedback (for the most part) was glowing & shallow.

    Here is the statement:

    https://biblicalcounseling.com/2016/06/an-announcement-from-the-executive-director/

    Oddly, there is nowhere to compare the original statement to the new one, so I cannot compare them. But in my humble opinion, it was a pitiful, patriarchal, Pharisaical, misogynist mess. There is no mention of marital rape, incest, divorce or justice.

    It was actually quite shocking to me to read this and was wondering if Ps Jeff &/or Barb have any comments to add.
    I am thankful for ACFJ to educating us here on the subtleties of false teachings & blind guides, so in that regard I am grateful to be equipped to read such a document & see right thru it.
    It is permeated with shaming, blaming, guilt-tripping arrogance, and misses the mark so completely that it would be funny if they didn’t take themselves so seriously.

    It is also quite shocking to realize how many churches ascribe to these “leaders”, as well as CBMW, and provide links to both on their church websites. Perhaps this is a litmus test for those of us seeking a church home?

    Thots??

    • Thanks, Swaf! Good sleuthing, and great comments on the page from biblicalcounseling.com

      Jeff and I are so busy already, I’m not sure we have the time to add to your critique.

      We love to see our readers becoming sharp and zealous in exposing stuff like this. We need an army doing it – and we are so glad to have you in the army 🙂

    • I look at that link you gave, SWAF. Guess what? The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors endorse the doctrine of Eternal Subordination of the Son. Yes, that’s ESS / ERAS — the very doctrine I’ve been exposing on this blog in recent weeks. And many others on the internet have been denouncing it out too.

      I’ve given a heads up to Rachel Miller as she’s been exposing all the ways ESS/ERAS has bee taught, and I hope she will write a post about this.

      Here is quote from the The Standards of Conduct of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (boldface added by me)

      IX. The Commitment to Authority.
      The Bible is clear that God’s world is one where structures of authority must be recognized and respected. The Bible teaches that authority exists between the Trinitarian relationships of the Godhead and effects each of our human relationships as well. Biblical counselors work to honor all biblically-instituted authorities and assist their counselees to do the same.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Oh, wow—thanks for your trained eye!

        My gut sensed it was “off kilter”, and I am grateful for your discernment on their “word salad” reference to ERAS. Why can’t they just spit it out and say “we are aligned with Grudem” and be honest & straightforward? Why the oblique, obtuse maze? Maybe in their arrogance they actually believe they sound like biblical scholars, but the statement on whole was written so poorly that it is shocking that they are proud of it. Your readers would welcome a post from Rachel Miller on this.
        Your question to Grudem in your open letter “why are you so preoccupied with authority?” was the same one I kept muttering to myself when I read this “revised statement” from ACBC. It is literally dripping with an authoritarian ethic.
        In my mind, it reads like shariah law.
        It reeks.

  18. Wayne Grudem recently withdrew his support for Donald Trump, saying:

    I previously called Donald Trump a “good candidate with flaws” and a “flawed candidate” but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.

    Grudem says he came to this new conclusion after seeing the video of Trump bragging about groping women without their consent, which opened his eyes to Trump’s immorality. He said:

    His [Grudem’s] vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God’s command, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). I have now read transcripts of some of his obscene interviews with Howard Stern, and they turned my stomach. His conduct was hateful in God’s eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.

    But Grudem’s claim that he ‘only just found out’ about Trump’s deeply immoral character is a lie. Grudem KNEW back in February this year about Trump’s immorality: he advised pastors to not endorse Trump for and to speak out about Trump’s awful attitude to women.

    See Tobin Grant’s article Is Wayne Grudem Lying About Not Knowing Donald Trump’s Past? Watch the video

    A quote from Tobin’s article:

    Grudem stated again and again that Trump’s infidelity and moral character disqualified Trump “because a man who cannot be trusted to be faithful in his marriage cannot be trusted to lead the most powerful nation on earth.”

    Grudem was explicit about Trump boasting about his infidelity and sexual past. [Grudem told pastors in February 2016]:

    “Now we have a Republican candidate leading in many polls who boasts that he has slept with many women, married and unmarried, many of the most beautiful women in the world. He boasts about it and yet he is leading in many polls. Does a man’s moral character no longer matter in choosing someone to be the most powerful man in the world?”

    Grudem went further, recounting that Trump made millions of dollars on casinos and strip clubs. Grudem said that these strip clubs “scarred the souls” of women and men.

    Grudem called on pastors to speak out that “moral character matters” and to remind themselves that “moral character matters” when they are tempted to vote for Trump.

Trackbacks

  1. Wayne Grudem & CBMW don’t seem interested in reducing domestic abuse — A Cry For Justice – GBFSV SPIRITUAL ABUSE VICTIMS' RECOVERY

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