Sunday, April 25, 2010

CBMW Complementarian teaching Threatens Wives

When leaders of Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood state that a wife who is abused or beaten by her husband has brought it on herself because she is not submitting to her husband, they are publicly threatening all Christian wives because they are giving license to all Christian husbands to abuse their wives—even if they add there is no excuse for using physical violence.

Wives who hear such statements understand the meaning quite well, and redouble their efforts to do all within their power to make sure their husbands are happy. Wives who suffer abuse, understand their husbands have been given license and encouragement to abuse or beat them for any reason, since no matter what the reason, it will be blamed on the wife.

Many wives who are not abused or beaten, join with the CBMW in blaming the abused and beaten wives, because they assume they are doing a better job than their abused sisters of submitting to their husbands.

Husbands who hear such statements, experience no pressure to stop their nasty behaviors. In fact, they are encouraged to enforce their man-given authority rights. They know their pastors and peers will not hold them accountable for their sinful actions, but will instead shift the accountability onto their wives.

The result of this is an entire Christian community of wives striving to obey their husbands. Those whose husbands are kind and non-abusive do not need to strive as hard and can voice and push their opinions and preferences. But those whose husbands are harsh and demanding, live in fear of punishment from their husbands and put their entire effort into pleasing their husbands, even if that makes them less than perfect in the eyes of God.

Wives who live with domineering husbands are so focused on submitting, that they are rarely abused for non-submission. Contrary to the teaching of Bruce Ware and other CBMW teachers, these wives are abused because their husband is unhappy about something, or because he feels less powerful than he thinks he ought to feel. If he wasted the day being social, he will come home and chew out his wife for doing nothing all day, even if she was extra energetic and accomplished more than usual that day. If he is attempting to repair the car and the process is not going according to his wishes, he may beat his wife or hurl the wrench at her when she comes to tell him lunch is ready.

Abused wives know this, and do all within their power to make things go well for their husbands. It is unfortunate that they are unable to control the weather, wild animals, pets, inanimate objects, children, other men, the government, & etc.

Because “Christians” blame wives for the sinful behavior of husbands, husbands know they can freely sin against their wives and children.

When pastors like John Piper refuse to intervene until the husband’s violence against his wife turns physical or until the husband demands “major” sin from his wife, they are tempering the threat against wives by disallowing physical violence and blatant sexual sin, but still encouraging husbands to use all other forms of assault and control against their wives.

Furthermore, withholding intervention until the abuse turns physical, makes it unlikely the abuser will stop abusing. The abusive husband’s mindset has become so engrained that any other way of thinking seems ridiculous and non-biblical to him.

When pastors spend 90% of their effort to push wives to forgive and reconcile, and 10% of their effort to encourage husbands to stop abusing, and continue to teach husbands to take authority over their wives, wives know it is pointless to go to pastors for help.

The result of living with this threat from their peers is that far too many abused Christian wives never go to anyone for help until the abuse is so severe their lives, or the lives of their children, are threatened through health problems, suicidal thoughts, or from the abuser’s own hand. And far too frequently, they never go to anyone for help, and one day they end up dead, killed by the very person who vowed to cherish them.

And then some “Christians” claim the murder is the will of God. This blames the wife for being murdered by her husband, and ends up also being a threat against all Christian wives.

It is no wonder Christian women are fearful and prone to anxiety. They live with a major threat over their heads.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See


  1. Waneta, Bravo for writing truth.

    Complementarians do the brothers a GREAT DISSERVICE because they do not tell the brothers to "walk even as Jesus walked". They teach them that they are "saved" because they know the right doctrine, and the one relationship in which they SHOULD be encouraged to practice genuine agape love, they are instead told that they have a special "sin at will" indulgence in that relationship, on account of their Y chromosome.

    When Jesus talks about people who thought they had been serving the Lord their whole lives, and yet were sent away in the Day of Judgement, his complaint against them was I NEVER KNEW YOU .

    His complaint was not, you didn't read your Bible enough, you had incorrect doctrine, you didn't attend church regularly, you didn't tithe- all things that many self-righteous men I know are counting on as true religion that marks them as "saved".

    No, Jesus said "Depart from me. (Get out.) I never knew you."

    For the abused woman, who has spent countless hours on her knees, drawing close to God with her broken heart, continuously striving to be pleasing to the Lord- there is no fear in God's perfect love. She has lived the life of a servant, loved her enemy and done him good (enemy=one who has hostility toward us), forgiven seventy times a day, even offered mercy where there is no repentance.

    Ans so the upside down kingdom of God triumphs over the manipulations of man again. God truly does choose the weak things, the despised, the things that are considered worth nothing to bring to nothing those who now have power. (I Corinthians 1:27-28)

    Complementarian men should tremble before the Lamb of God in humble repentance, mortified for teaching anything less to men than loving the Lord with their whole heart, laying down their lives daily for their families, neighbors, enemies. They should be teaching that knowledge destroys, but love builds up. They should be teaching that the greatest command of all is love, and that love must be sincere, truly seeking the good of another above your own good.

    But instead they stroke men's pride, and give them all the indulgences they need based on the presence of the all important Y chromosome. The may thing they know the Word inside out, and yet they have completely missed the presence of Jesus in their own lives and made their disciples twice the son of hell.

    When we were first married, before my husband started cracking under the weight of all his unresolved inner conflicts, I was a happy complementarian too. Poison for my marriage, that's all it was.

    I don't think my husband would still be in the mess he is in today if Christian were exhorted to walk even as Jesus walked. :(

  2. Well said, Shadowspring!
    I keep thinking of one of the movie versions of Jane Eyre, where Sinjun Rivers (don't know if I spelled that right) proposes to Jane. He says one of his reasons for wanting to marry her is that he wants a wife so he can have someone to claim obedience from.

    I suspect this is the very reason many "Christian" males marry today. They want to form their mini kingdom with subjects who they can order to serve their whims. And they use the church as their back-up police force.

    As you point out, this is NOT scriptural. It is NOT loving. It is the sounding gong and clanging symbol mentioned in I Cor 13, the love chapter. It is pure selfishness.

    Meanwhile, the wives "seek not their own, are not easily provoked, etc."

  3. I've said it before.
    I'll say it again.

    There are gonna be a whole lot of surprised Comp men in heaven. They are going to find out that Jesus MEANT it when He said, "If you would be great in God's kingdom, learn to be servant of all."
    And when their wives, who WERE servants of all, out rank them in heaven, they will curse their teachers on earth who told them, "your wife is eternally submitted to you, just as the Son is eternally submitted to the Father."

    Well, maybe they won't curse those teachers. Is there cursing in heaven? Or is that reserved for hell?

    dunno. just know I'd rather take the words of Jesus serious here on earth than to bank on the words of a bunch of men on a council bent on twisting scripture to make women servants and men masters.

    Martin Luther quote: "Unless I am convinced by scripture and by plain reason and not by popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God."

  4. "There are gonna be a whole lot of surprised Comp men in heaven. They are going to find out that Jesus MEANT it when He said, "If you would be great in God's kingdom, learn to be servant of all."

    I am beginning to wonder if a number of these Comp men are even going to Heaven. Jesus said we would know people by their fruit. If instead of love, joy and peace, their fruit is selfishness, oppressing others, and divisive creators of conflict, I find it unlikely that Jesus is their savior, and obvious He is not their Lord.

    In Ezekiel we are told that God will hold the shepherds responsible for not properly caring for their flocks. Currently, we have a world-wide problem of pastors and lay people encouraging the harm of the sheep with their male authority doctrine, and many of them perpetrating harm on the sheep with their own mouths or hands. To make matters worse, when harmed sheep go to the shepherds for help, the shepherds attack the bleeding sheep instead of binding up their wounds and offering protection. If these cruel shepherds and lay people get to heaven at all, I agree, there will be surprises in store for them.

    Interestingly, I have been noticing that God does deal severely (even here on earth) with those who wound the bleeding, who are the apple of His eye. As someone pointed out to me, Katrina happened at the very time Israelites began to be evicted from Gaza. God promised that those who bless Israel, He would bless, and those who curse Israel, he would curse. Sharon agreed to give up Gaza because of heavy pressure from the USA. Is the HUGE oil spill in the gulf because of the US turning her back on Israel, of shooting at Israeli planes if they fly over Iraq?

    We, the genuine church, are grafted in as God's people. I have seen judgement come on those who harm God's vulnerable wives, much like it comes on those who harm Israel. Gene Scarborough mentioned this judgement, too. (not in relation to Israel; I do not know where he stands on that subject.)