In September, 2009, a guy named Nick showed up on Hannah's blog and defended John Piper, saying “He is incredibly faithful to the Word of God. He does not stray from it.” and “His reputation and love for God and his church does not need defending.” http://eaandfaith.blogspot.com/2009/09/john-pipers-ignorance-is-killing.html (comment #3)
How much does Piper love his church if he refuses to defend wives who are abused? Aren't the wives a part of his church, too? Or are they secondary citizens with fewer privileges than males have?
How can he be “incredibly faithful to the Word of God,” yet give husbands the license to sin against their wives? Being a pastor, surely he has heard the details about domestic abuse more than once or twice. His answer on youtube shows that he does know there are different degrees of abuse, and also shows that he is making light of the abuse.
The answer John Piper gives is the same type of behavior abusers use. It is one of their tactics of power and control. It is called Minimizing, denying, and blaming.
First, Piper minimized (made light of, spoke of them as being insignificant) emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse by calling them “verbal unkindness.” Then he denies the seriousness of the situation by telling wives to endure it "for a season." With his focus on wife submission, and his emphasis on allowing a wife to refuse to submit ONLY if her husband is CLEARLY asking her to sin, he is blaming wives by holding them responsible for their husbands' sin against them, except in cases that are so extreme even Piper, or another pastor with male authority bias, would agree they are sin.
The rest of the CBMW do the same. Bruce Ware, for example, blamed wives for getting beaten. As far as I can tell, none of the CBMW members has much sympathy for abused wives.
If this group is using one of the trademarks of power and control, could they also be using others?
They definitely use Male Privilege. They teach that it is the husband's role to make the decisions. After all, he is the authority, they say. They encourage husbands to dictate how things shall be, and call it leadership. While Piper's writing denies this, his actions in dealing with domestic abuse show his real beliefs and what he would permit himself to do.
What about husbands isolating their wives, telling them who they can see or talk to and when, telling them when they are allowed to go anywhere? Does the CBMW do that? This is unknown. However, it is clear from their teaching that they do believe a husband has the authority to command his wife what she shall and shall not do. Therefore, it is likely the males of the CBMW use this power and control tool as well.
Do they use verbal and emotional abuse? Piper clearly permits the husbands in his congregation to use “verbal unkindness” against their wives. That means husbands can call their wives names, put them down, humiliate them, make them feel guilty, play mind games against them, and make them think they are crazy. If Piper permits other husbands to do these things and is not horrified by them, if Ware blames wives for being being beaten and isn't horrified by it, isn't it likely both are doing the same to their wives?
If verbal unkindness is ok, and if husbands have the privilege to have their way, and are the authority in their homes, then economic abuse must be ok, too. That means Piper and the husbands in his congregation can keep their wives from getting or keeping jobs, can limit their access to family money, can put their wives on an allowance and/or make them ask for money, or can use the lion's share of family finances for themselves, while degrading and scolding their wives for buying a $3.00 blouse from Goodwill.
If all these are ok to Piper, Ware and to the rest of the CBMW, isn't it likely that it is also ok with them if husbands, themselves included, intimidate, coerce and even threaten their wives? After all, as long as it isn't smacking, it is permissible.
Isn't it likely that they also practice sex abuse by controlling what happens in the bedroom, making sex all about whatever they want, and insisting on sex as part of “making up” after an argument to reestablish power and control? Has anyone heard them speak out against marital rape? Or do they deny that rape ever happens between husband and wife? If so, they give themselves permission to rape their wives.
If all these are ok, then using the children would be ok, too. They dictate what discipline shall be used, what rules and roles shall be required of the children. It is likely they say things like, “No, boys do not have to do the dishes; that's women's work.” and “You are a lousy mother.”
All of these are based on spiritual abuse, which claims that God says husbands are the authority, when actually Jesus taught his deciples to not be dictators like the Gentiles, and Paul told husband to love and sacrifice for their wives. The entire CBMW preaches and teaches this twisting of scriputre.
Indeed, one of the hallmarks of abusive husbands is to look charming and spiritual in public, and to be abusive at home. The comments I've read about Piper suggest he is seen as charming in public. Nick claims, “He is incredibly faithful to the Word of God. He does not stray from it.” and “His reputation and love for God and his church does not need defending.” I haven't heard whether the other members of the CBMW are also charming in public.
But the fact that Piper and Ware have publically shown their unconcern for the plight of abused wives, that they have blamed wives rather than held husbands accountable, that they have excused or minimized the husband's abusive actions, that they are not horrified by the abuse, makes it clear that they permit husbands to abuse. If they permit husbands to abuse, is there anything to keep them from using power and control against their own wives?
Indeed, with faith clergy being the profession with the highest incidents of domestic violence, it is likely that pastors who teach husband authority and who permit husbands to abuse their wives, would also boss, control and abuse their own wives.
Especially when it is already clear they are using several of the power and control tools against women.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com
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