Friday, December 25, 2009

A CBMW-Correct Christmas Account

The Bible account of the birth of Jesus must be all wrong. According to Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, CBMW, God would never talk to a woman, like He did to Mary. He would have said something as important as that to Joseph. Since they were already espoused, Joseph would have been Mary’s head, and therefore would have authority over her. She would have had no right to agree to carry the Christ Child on her own. Joseph would have had to give her permission, or God would have asked Joseph to do it, since God never asks women to do service of significance. Therefore, Luke 1:26-38 needs to be rewritten in order to line up with the biblical principles expressed in CBMW’s teachings.

Cheryl Schatz discusses the teachings of CBMW in her blog post “Equal in Value and Worth = in Whose Eyes?”
In this understanding of “equality”, God is restricted in the work that He can do through women. His Holy Spirit cannot operate through women in the same way that He operates through men. He cannot gift women equally nor can He give an understanding of God’s Word to a woman without going through a man first. In the complementarian understanding, God has great limitations on what He can and cannot do through women.
According to CBMW and their complementarian teaching, the angel Gabriel would have had to go to Joseph, not Mary. The entire biblical account should be suspect, because God simply would not speak to or work through a woman. Instead, Luke 1:26-38 should read:
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a man espoused to a virgin, whose name was Mary, of the house of David; and the man’s name was Joseph. 28 And the angel came in unto him and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among men. 29 And when he saw him, he was troubled at his saying, and cast in his mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto him, Fear not, Joseph: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And behold, thy espoused wife, Mary, shall conceive in her womb, and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Joseph unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing Mary knoweth not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto him, The Holy Ghost shall come upon her, and the power of the Highest shall over-shadow her: Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of her shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, her cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Joseph said, Behold the servant and handmaid of the Lord; be it unto her according to thy word. And the angel departed from him.
Or the passage should read:
30 And the angel said unto him, Fear not, Joseph, for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Joseph unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I am a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto him, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over-shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, Elizabeth, the cousin of thy espoused wife, Mary, hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Joseph said, Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from him.
Indeed, there is a major discrepancy between CBMW’s statement and the Bible. Anytime there is such a discrepancy, the CBMW is correct and the Bible must be wrong. Perhaps Luke got confused or the translators got the facts twisted.

We don’t need the atheists, humanists, or liberals to misrepresent the Bible. Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood are doing a super job of it themselves.

Merry Christmas everybody! God brought us His Son, through a woman. And when Jesus rose from the dead, He first appeared to a woman.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Husband Authority Doctrine of CBMW Supersedes Salvation

When pastors, churches, and organizations like CBMW elevate their doctrine of husband authority to the extent that wives are given no recourse when their husbands sin against them and their children, when husbands are not held accountable for verbal, emotional, spiritual, and power attacks against their wives, when wives are blamed for the sin of their husbands, it is clear the doctrine of husband authority has surpassed and become a priority above the doctrine of salvation.

When husbands obey only one verse in the entire book of Ephesians, and demand that their wives focus on obeying two verses in Ephesians, the husband authority doctrine has clearly reached the level of heresy. Husbands and pastors who insist on this heresy have become idolaters, who covet power and authority that belongs to God alone.

This is rebellion against God.

The command to husbands is to love their wives self-sacrificially, as Christ gave up himself for the church. Romans 12:1 calls it “a living sacrifice.” “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Instead of sacrificing for their wives, the husbands rule over their wives and demand that the wives do the sacrificing. Instead of bearing the fruit of the Spirit, the husbands bear the fruit of darkness.

The fruit of abusive husbands is anger, wrath, clamour, covetousness, idolatry, bitterness, malice, railing, swift to shed blood, violence, easily provoked, unkindness, unloving, self-centeredness, puffed up, impatience, evil speaking, unforgiveness, hatred, lust, rebelling against God, respecter of male persons, despisers of women, oppressive, vile, blasphemous, lover of evil, lying, deceptive, manipulative, without mercy, murder, twisting the scriptures, the list could go on and on.

By listening to the reports of the wives, it is easy to ascertain that the husbands have put themselves above God.

It is time CBMW and those who embrace their teaching, put God above husbands. It is time they insist that husbands who do not have evidence of the fruit of the Spirit when they are behind closed doors be excommunicated from their wives, their children, and their churches.

Ephesians 5:11-13 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Declaration of Independence from Complementarian Church and Husband Tyranny

Complementarians insist on roles; subjection for wives and authority for husbands. Church leaders like Bruce Ware, John Piper, and Wayne Grudem, among others, offer little recourse when husbands view their role as one of absolute authority over their wives. They claim that a husband chooses to physically assault his wife BECAUSE she is not submitting, when the opposite is true, and they deny that a husband should be held accountable for non-physical abuse.

This is absolute tyranny.

In 1776, the King of England chose to usurp a similar authority over colonized people in the Americas, denying them the right to govern themselves or address their concerns in a timely fashion. The result was the Declaration of Independence.

The tyranny of church leaders and abusive husbands has reached a similar intolerable level. It is time women put forth their own Declaration of Independence. I offer an abridged and edited version of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men {and women} are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness …{W}hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over {women}.
(see for entire original declaration.)

Indeed, many Christian women and their children have never experienced the freedom the Declaration of Independence seeks to guarantee. The church has stripped from them the right to pursue life, liberty, happiness, and safety. Instead, they live in a culture of death, danger, and destruction and many church leaders minimize the problem, deny it exists, or blame the women.

When are church leaders going to stop denying women the right to liberty and freedom from tyranny that males have enjoyed for over 200 years?

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Tyranny of Indian Tribal Government

Monday about 25 people from this area drove 5-6 hours each way through freezing rain, heavy winds, blowing snow, and glare ice in order to try to influence an American Indian court to allow a half-Indian 2 year old to return to his foster parents and their family. It was the only family he knew. He was traumatized when strangers came and took him away. Since that time he has been terrified of a black person, although he had no such reaction before being taken from his loving home.

The judge said he had to follow the law; he had no choice. The Indian Child Welfare Act states that any Indian children, who are taken from their own parents, must be raised by a relative, by another member of their tribe, by someone of another tribe, or as a last resort by a non-Indian family.

My sister and her family had the child since his birth, but it wasn’t until he was nearly a year old that the tribe got involved. They allowed him to stay with my sister’s family for more than a year, since they could not find an Indian home for him. The Indian social worker said my sister and her husband could become legal guardians, but they could not adopt him. She brought petition papers for them to fill out and sign, but didn’t leave a copy for them. It appears the papers never got to a judge.

1-2 months later, she called to tell them the judge had ordered the child was to be removed from their home in 10 days. Talk about having the rug jerked out from under one’s feet! It turns out the judge made the ruling at the social worker's urging.

Although we prayed, fasted, and trusted, they came on November 23rd and took him away. They put him with an Indian woman who already had 2 two-year olds, 1 one year old, an eight year old, and who lived at least 2 hours away from the reservation. Why they thought a woman who was already overwhelmed with toddlers should have another to care for is beyond me. As I suspected, the placement with her is temporary. The child I consider to be my nephew will be shuffled from home to home, never having anyone to call his parents, and never having a place to call home. He begged “home, please,” to his new foster mom. My heart aches for him. I hope he knows how badly he is wanted, that my sister’s family did not choose to send him away.

My brother-in-law appealed, and was granted a court date. Both the judge and the man who was advocating for the tribe, indicated they knew the boy would be better off with my sister’s family, but they had no choice but to keep him with the tribe. It was the law.

What are citizens to do when a law, which was intended to preserve a people and a way of life, ends up harming its own people?

Some folks may dismiss this; after all, the child was only 2 years and 4 months. He’ll forget about it.

Really? When I was 2 years and 4 months my parents left me with neighbors while they went on an out-of-state trip to attend a family wedding. Being left with strangers was so traumatic to me that I remembered it.

Years later I became aware that that traumatic event had colored my whole life. I never quite felt safe after that, and was an angry child, who felt she had no way to stop bad things from happening to her.

I suspect this Indian child will suffer from the same things. The difference, however, is that he will be raised in an environment where a high percentage of his tribe turn to drugs, alcohol and violence in an effort to deal with life’s problems. If he is raised there, he is likely to become a wife beater.

After the hearing, a woman who worked in that area informed me that in a town of 900 people, around half of them had fetal alcohol syndrome, and many were so mentally affected that they could not advance beyond a fifth grade reading level. Few made it all the way through high school.

But the Indian Child Welfare Act requires that this bright, loving child, who does not have fetal alcohol syndrome, be taken from a loving, vice-free, two-parent family, so that he can be raised to maintain his Indian heritage.

In trying to right a wrong that they did to the Indian tribes, the US granted the tribes the right to raise any child who has a small percentage of Indian blood. So the tribes tyrannize any child whose parent isn’t fit to raise him, by yanking him out of a kind and loving non-Indian family and forcing him to grow up in a culture of drugs, alcohol and violence.

It sounds like tyranny to me.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Proverbs 31 Woman--A Career Woman

The excellent wife in Proverbs 31 has been used by males who claim to be Christian to push their wives as well as other men’s wives to work harder, to carry a larger share of the workload. Women, you don’t have to hurt over this anymore. Proverbs 31 means exactly the opposite of what males have told us it means.

Look at verse 15, the one that suggests she gets by on 4-6 hours of sleep:
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
The word “maidens” is key. First of all, it does not make sense that the maidens are her daughters, because her daughters would already be a part of the "household." Strong’s Concordance, #5291 is the same word that is used in Exodus 2:5
And the daughter of Pharoah came down to wash herself at the river; and her MAIDENS walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her MAID to fetch it.
And Esther 4:16
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my MAIDENS will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
In both these verses, the word MAIDEN is referring to HIRED HELP. If it does not refer to hired help, then the maidens with Pharoah's daughter and Esther's maidens would also have to be their daughters, and Proverbs 31 would have to be speaking of the Proverbs 31 woman's daughters as not belonging to her household, or as not normally being given food along with the household, which is ridiculous.

Although the Proverbs 31 woman is accredited for doing all those things, a reasonable interpretation of the text says she has HIRED MAIDENS to help her. She was the CEO of her business, not the main labor force. It appears she was such a wise business woman that she was wealthy, and this is what freed her husband to serve at the city gates, and brought them both respect.

I would guess at least some of the activities she, herself, did. If she sought the wool and flax, she could do this because she had maidens tending to things at home. Other activities her employees did. Perhaps when she bought food from afar, she took employees with her to load and carry the food she selected. She may personally have got up while it was still night and fed her entire household, including her staff of maidens, or she may have had a cook make the meal and a staff to serve it-—especially if she was off seeking wool, flax, food, buying a field, or had returned late from a business trip. She herself may have gone to help the poor, or she may have sent her maidens with baskets of food that the maidens prepared.

This is the opposite of what Christian wives are taught today. They are told to LIMIT their activity to their own homes. They are NOT to be CAREER women or to have goals of their own--other than those of serving their husbands. Due to economic need, some are allowed to have jobs--if their husbands agree--but generally not careers or businesses that take subtantial capital and time.

In contrast, the Proverbs 31 woman was a BUSINESS woman with female employees, probably both in her household and in her business. She makes decisions about the big stuff, like what parcels of land and what produce and resources to buy. She also went on business trips where she buys and sells items. She DOES NOT ask her husband's permission for every move. She was praised because she widened her horizons. She took a risk and started a business and hired help. She made enough money that she had plenty to give to the poor and needy, as well as plenty to cloth her family in expensive silk and purple.

Notice also that her husband trusts her and does not supervise her or boss her around. This gives her freedom to make decisions and not constantly have to second-guess herself. He treats her as the adult she is, rather than keeping her in a child-like state. In her adult state, she serves her husband by hiring help and running a business, thus bringing wealth to her family. She neither mothers her husband, nor behaves as his innocent and ignorant child-bride. She does, however, help others in need.

According to Strong’s, #5291 is “fem. of 5288, a girl (from infancy to adolescence).” But if you check 5288, which is the source of #5291, you’ll find that maiden is the feminized form of boy, lad, young man, or SERVANT. Indeed, in the other contexts where #5291 is used, it is referring to female servants or to working girls from poor families.

The male establishment has used scripture to stomp on women and hold them down, making them into their personal slaves and prostitutes and giving themselves license to control and abuse their wives with impunity. Just like they did with the wife submission and husband authority doctrine, scripture has been twisted to say exactly the opposite of what it actually says. (Remember 1 Timothy 2:14, where “younger women…guide the house” means “younger women…be ruler of the house?” And Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives, not to rule them?) see: Instead of the wife doing all that work, her hired maidens did a substantial amount of it. Her staff may be the ones who got up early to feed the family and their employees.

If males refuse to rightly divide the word of truth, but instead institute norms that are contrary to scripture, are women required to obey the oppressive males instead of God? Absolutely not! In Galatians 2:5 Paul did not subject himself to oppressive doctrine--"no, not for an hour."

Rise up, women, make straight the paths for both yourselves, other women, and your daughters! Go forth with joy into the freedom and purpose God has given each of you.

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

When Truth Drives Out Oppressive Lies, Rejoice!

I just have to share this. One of the women on my networking team, I’ll call her Kathryn, gave a copy of my novel, “Behind the Hedge” to her sister, who had endured domestic violence for 23 years and finally left her husband. After her sister read the novel, she was open to becoming a Christian, and Kathryn led her sister to the Lord. I praise the Lord that another sinner chose to follow Jesus! The angels are rejoicing; let’s rejoice with them.

That the novel was instrumental in bringing someone to Christ is sobering to me. How could a NOVEL have that kind of influence? As I mull it over, I realize how non-Christians view Christianity. They see it as oppressive to women. They see the Apostle Paul as a woman hater. They see males in Christian churches as women haters, too. It is no wonder they despise Christianity! And it is no wonder so many women want NOTHING to do with Christianity and feel contemptuous toward Christian women who appear so stupid that they not only stick with a religion that harms them, they also subject themselves to cruel and abusive husbands.

I am so humbled that a mere novel can show them the love of Christ, the compassion, mercy, and freedom from oppression that He extends to women in His word. I am so humbled that a mere novel can help clear away the lies.

Yet, God knew that a novel could bring people to Himself; that is why He directed me to write it. I was merely writing at His direction.

All glory be to God! Praise His precious and holy name!

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

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Complementarian Husbands: Leaders, Supervisors, or Rulers?

I had an enlightening discussion with an ex-military man, who was taking 3 months of leave from work due to the non-leadership style of his supervisor. He told me he had been a leader in the military—an excellent leader. He told me that a leader empowers others to be all they can be. A leader trains others so they can grow and be promoted. A leader encourages others to make their own decisions, and to trust their ability to make those decisions. Leadership is not about nitpicking, ruling, over-ruling, or serving oneself. It is about empowering others to shine, about building their self-esteem. People tend to flock to leaders, because they feel so empowered to be all they can be by beginning exactly where they are.

Supervisors, on the other hand, watch over the minute details of whatever they are trying to accomplish. Some supervisors are kind and try to include those under them in decision-making and in coming up with ways to be more productive. Other Supervisors are all about experiencing and retaining power for themselves. They put limits on those under them. They watch for tiny mistakes. They impose a particular amount and standard of work in a squeezed amount of time. They demand to have the final decision-making power, humiliate those under them for any reason they can dream up, and obstruct them from promotions.

Rulers, whether kings or congress-people, usually focus on maintaining and increasing their power first, and much of their law-making is aimed at accomplishing this goal. The needs of the people are frequently secondary. If they gained their power through elections, they focus on pleasing those who have money to finance their campaigns. At times they ignore the majority of their voters if they think their bread is buttered elsewhere. If they gained power through military might, they favor a few to gain the help they need to intimidate the masses. They make special laws that further limit the freedom of those they rule, thereby forcing them to be subject. Sometimes their rulership is extremely oppressive. Frequently, those they rule have no recourse to stop whatever laws the rulers impose, or, as here in the USA, those they rule have to wait for the next vote to make their voice heard.

Where do complementarian husbands fit in? Are they leaders? Do complementarian husbands empower their wives to develop their God-given interests and talents as individuals? Do they make sure there are no roadblocks limiting their wives from achieving their goals? Or is their focus their own comfort and the pursuit of their own goals? Do they limit their wives to serving as homemakers, husband-pleasers, and child raisers?

The complementarian teaching does advise husbands to be kind, but much more emphasis is placed on telling wives to conform to their husbands, build them up, and help them reach their goals. This means the wives are in the leadership role. The wives are empowering their husbands.

Complementarians are calling the husband’s role “headship” or “leadership,” but in actuality that is not what they teach husbands. They do not teach husbands to empower their wives to be anything other than house-hold help, or domestic slaves. Instead, husbands are given authority to over-rule their wives, which suggests they are performing the role of RULER.

Can rulers be kind? Certainly. But they are still ruling and in control through whatever means necessary to maintain that control. In the case of complementarians, the church steps in to pressure wives to empower their husbands and to be loyal subjects. If husbands do not choose to be kind rulers, many pastors and churches blame the wives, saying they have not subjected themselves to their husbands enough. Just as with the rulers of the world, those under them have no recourse to stop whatever evil laws the ruler-husbands impose.

Ruler-husbands who also perform a supervisory role are often the most damaging. These husbands (it is a shame to call them husbands, because the word implies care-taking and empowering those in their care toward growth, instead of self-centered demanding and stomping on those they at one point claimed to love) look at everything their wives do with a critical eye. They constantly demand more work in a shorter amount of time, look for tiny mistakes, and generally do anything they can to feel a sense of power of over their wives.

Frankly, a pig by any other name is still a pig, and a ruler by any other name is still a ruler. It is time complementarians stop lying to themselves and acknowledge the “headship” and “leadership” they teach is actually rulership.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Woman’s Place; a Carpenter’s Place

Mark 6:4-6 “Jesus said unto them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

Women have a lot in common with Jesus. His hometown folk said, “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter?” And even though they knew He did miracles, they were more interested in keeping Jesus in his place.

Similar things happen to women. People who claim to be Christians say, “But she’s a woman! Don’t listen to her! God doesn’t call women to ________ (fill in the blank with anything except domestic work). This too is submission tyranny. It is part of the culture of males devaluing women. This devaluing, along with male authority teaching, is part of the cause of domestic abuse.

Jesus could not do many miracles in his hometown. They only allowed him to be a carpenter. How many miracles are women blocked from doing here in the US because they are only allowed to work in the kitchen? I think of the many women who are blocked from working in God’s kingdom at home in spite of God’s calling on their lives. Some of them go to the mission field and do many miracles there. Gladys Aylward, for example.

How many women live their whole lives prevented from serving in the way they were called? How many miracles are denied to this world because women are kept in their place? How many more people would come to Christ if women were allowed to serve according to God’s call, instead of according to the limitation males place upon them? Could it be that hearing the gospel from a woman’s perspective and in a woman’s words would “click” with some people who are not open to the gospel message from a male perspective? How many souls are being doomed because women are kept in their place?

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for God’s Provision of Divorce

Christians often lament the high divorce rate, meaning the filing of papers in the court and the approval granted by a judge that makes a couple legally divorced. But to many women, divorce is a God-send, a blessing, a deliverance from death, and a gift of life. I am one of those women. I thank God for divorce. I thank Him for MY divorce. I needed it for my sanity and health. Painful as it was, my daughter needed it in order to have at least one place where she could know and connect with truth instead of being submerged in an environment of fear and lies that was so confusing it made learning and loving close to impossible.

I look at Galatians, my favorite book of the Bible, and see how free God wants us to be. 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Complementarian teaching entangles women in the yoke of bondage to husband authority. Paul tells us to steer clear of bondage. Granted, Galations is talking about circumcision. But the principle of liberty in Christ applies to the bondage males are attempting to force upon women. (In case you didn’t notice, I refuse to call them men. Behavior and teaching that results in bringing women into bondage is 100% unmanly.) Galations 2:3-5:
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Note that Paul did not submit to the false teaching of circumcision for even an hour. Likewise, we should not submit to the false teaching of husband authority for even an hour. The Bible clearly teaches husbands to be a living sacrifice to their wives. Not once are they told to rule or overrule their wives. Paul said the bondage of circumcision was subverting the truth of the gospel. Their gospel was “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be circumcised, and you shall be saved.” Today the gospel is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and subject yourself to your husband and you shall be saved.” (Although complementarians would never admit this. But notice how much guilt and condemnation they try to heap on wives who refuse to submit to being sinned against by their husbands.) Both the bondage of circumcision and the bondage of husband authority make salvation something to be acquired by works--by the flesh--instead of by faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.

In addition, the latter destroys the gospel message that Christian marriages are supposed to represent to the world. Marriage is supposed to symbolize the sacrificial love of Christ for the church, and the church’s response of willing and joyful yielding. Instead, because of the husband authority doctrine, many “Christian” marriages represent a ruler demanding obedience, often by throwing thundering rages, combined with lightning swift unpredictable, irrational, and threatening behavior and/or spiritual arguments to keep his subjects cowed into submission. These marriages actually symbolize Satan and his followers instead of Christ and the church.

Thus, I am so very thankful to be out from under Satan-like bondage, and to be free. I have been liberated to serve Christ unhampered by my husband’s nastiness, his sudden irrational and threatening verbal/emotional and occasional physical attacks.

I praise the Lord that my daughter and I have been set free.
Glory be to God!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to Take a Fresh, Unbiased Look at Scripture

“It is very important that leaders and lay people alike take a fresh look at scripture and stop projecting their preconceived notions or traditions onto it.”

The above quote was part of a response I wrote to Rebecca who commented on my blog. see entire post and comments here

How does one go about keeping their biases out of their research and interpretation of scripture? How can one be assured that he or she is not listening to an evil spirit instead of the Holy Spirit?

I cannot give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but I can share what has worked for me.

I prayerfully take the issue in question before God, confessing, “Lord God, there is some disagreement about this issue/passage, and I want to know what YOU meant by it, what YOU want me to do or believe. I confess, Lord, that I really hope your answer is ______, but I choose to let go of that. I lay down my will and my preference. Lord, I am willing to believe and practice what YOU tell me, either way. Help me as I study this. Lead me to related scripture and help me to fully understand the context. I am yours, Lord God. Protect me from the wiles of the Evil One, and do not allow him to speak to me or influence my thinking or conclusion(s).”

After praying, I begin to study. Sometimes it is helpful to read several different views of others—especially if I was taught to refuse to even look at or consider other viewpoints. The idea with this step is to get an overview, to see if verses relate to the subject and reasoning—verses other than the ones I have been taught are applicable.

Other times I get the sense that looking at the views of other humans will get in the way of hearing what God wants to tell me.

One such instance is the verse “Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down on your wrath.” As far as I know, no one else has the interpretation of this verse that I do. I believe my interpretation came from God. My interpretation is “When you are angry do not sin. Shine a bright light on your anger until you know the cause, and then work to solve the problem.”

I see this as being similar to shining a bright light on a sliver. You could just forgive yourself for getting the sliver and forgive the sliver for being there, and go to bed and try to forget it. But in the morning the sliver will still be there and may even be infected. On the other hand, if you shine a bright light on the hurting area, and dig around until you find the cause, dig it out and put appropriate salve on the wound, you can then go on your way with little to no pain at the sliver site.

Sometimes I am afraid that what I find will tell me I am totally wrong. Since I do not want to accept the one viewpoint, I acknowledge there is rebellion in my heart, so I confess that to God, and ask Him to cleanse my heart and take it away. I do not want to rebel against God.

One such time was when I was researching for this blog using only Strong’s Concordance. I was studying verses in I Timothy concerning husband and wife, and 5:14 came up. As I started on this verse, I became aware that I did not like the interpretation I had been brought up with—that a wife was to stay home and stick to domestic duties. I stopped and gave that to God and told Him if that was what He meant, I was willing to accept that. I was surprised—and delighted—to find that “guide the house” (#3616) actually means “be the head of the house,” and it is specified that this “head of the house” means ruler of the family. It appears the KJV translators had a bias.

When I looked up the parallel verses for the husband, “one that ruleth well his own house,” I found when you look at the words the word came from, the meaning Strong’s gives the word ruleth (#4291) is the FIGURATIVE meaning, not the normal meaning. The meaning of the originating word is “fore: in front of, prior to,” (which reminds me of the view that the word “head” likely is referring to the fact that Adam came into existence before Eve) and stand—“to stand before.” And the meaning of house is “dwelling.”

So the phrase is actually “to stand before his dwelling.” But the translators used the figurative and by implication forms to arrive at “ruleth well his own house,” which our patriarchal leaders interpret as having authority over his family. Yet, they fail to note that another implied meaning of rule is “maintain.” In other words, the phrase could be saying “maintains well his own dwelling.” In this case, since the KJV translation uses the implied and figurative meanings, I distrust the translation. In fact, when he adds “having his children in all subjection,” one questions whether children were included in the previous phrase at all. If they are, Paul was being redundant. Verse 5 “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he TAKE CARE OF the church of God?” agrees with my suspicion that the meaning God intended is to “maintain and care for,” NOT to RULE.

I notice that “guide the house” for wives, which means “be head (ie: ruler) of the house” is neither implied nor figurative. While the phrase for husbands which is translated “rule the house,” is actually figurative or implied. I end up seeing much more authority for the wife, than for the husband in I Timothy, which is contrary to what I was taught all my life.

My study and conclusion of this passage, ended up strengthening what I had already seen in other husband-wife passages. Because of the interpretation of church leaders, I thought the I Timothy passages disagreed with Ephesians 5, and I wasn’t sure how to handle that. But prayerful study showed me the two passages agree; there is no command to husbands to rule their wives.

Again, I stress, it is very important to lay aside your own preferences and will about a passage, and to diligently seek what our Almighty God wishes to communicate in His love letter to us. When I lay down my wishes, and surrender my heart to God, it doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong. It only matters that I go forth in obedience to Him—even if it means my family will condemn me, as happened another time.

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 for information.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Huge Complementarian Arsenal of Weaponry

Some argue that the complementarian view does not promote domestic violence, that it is the individual who misuses the doctrine who is choosing domestic violence. They point out that egalitarians can be just as abusive as complementarians. On the surface, this is true. A man can claim to be egalitarian and still abuse his wife. However, because he is not using God and scripture to justify and enforce his authority, the abuse he uses is more likely to lack a wall of support that is as thick and imprisoning as the Great Wall of China. Without the “God says wife submit” argument, it is much easier for women to recognize the behavior as abuse, rather than as God-given authority to husbands and as a non-negotiable commandment to wives to submit to their husbands.

Having said that, I want to point out that wives who do not have Ephesians 5 rammed down their throats, still have a difficult time recognizing domestic abuse and dealing with it. In other words, domestic abuse is difficult enough for women to get a handle on, without adding teaching that demands the absolute subjection of wives to their husbands.

Christian doctrine, itself, makes recognizing abuse and dealing with it wisely very difficult to achieve. Even without the husband authority and wife submit no matter what doctrines, the love unconditionally and forgive and forget and turn the other cheek doctrines all work to prevent a Christian woman from confronting the domestic abuse early enough to both save her marriage and make it a loving one that symbolizes Christ and the Church. (The no-matter-what part is denied, of course. But who gets blamed for abuse? The wife, who they claim failed to submit. So even though they SAY the doctrine is NOT no-matter-what, in reality, it is exactly that.)

Those who teach marriage, for example, tell wives to be loyal to their husbands and not talk to others about their husband’s failures. This rule aids husbands in their quest to control their wives and does nothing to help a woman figure out how to deal with her marriage difficulties. Wives who stay silent, are more likely to try to perfect their own behavior, are less likely to recognize their husband’s behavior as abuse, and are more likely to stay in their abusive marriage longer, harming themselves and their children. This rule also harms husbands by allowing the abusive behavior and beliefs to become more and more entrenched in the minds of the husbands as well as in the minds of everyone in the family.

Christian wives whose husbands are abusive, constantly turn the other cheek and forgive and forget, but it does not make their marriages better. Instead, it makes them progressively worse. Abusive men see Christian behaviors as weaknesses, and tend to “go for the kill” or to “kick a person when she is down.” Thus, the Christian behavior of the abused wife tends to make her husband MORE abusive.

On top of that, Christians add the authority/submission doctrine. It is so pervasive, that some women who read my novel, “Behind the Hedge,” had a difficult time comprehending that the husband’s behavior in the beginning was abusive. The doctrine is so entrenched, that abuse is often seen as the husband’s right because he is the “authority.”

When a husband demands that his wife submit because God commanded it, no matter how idiotic and hurtful his demands, it is so difficult for wives to think through the mass of confusing messages, to be able to differentiate whether his demand is contrary to scripture, to know who to believe, that many wives have to literally throw out the submission doctrine in order to make sense of what is happening in their marriages. Even then, a church-house full of finger-pointing people makes it very difficult for a woman to deal wisely with the reality of her own broken marriage.

For those who do acknowledge the abuse and act redemptively to deal with it, they frequently face rejection from their whole church, while their abuser is accepted with open and welcoming arms. This drives many of them away from their churches and away from their primary support. This fact, makes wives think long and hard before taking steps to hold the abuser accountable.

So although egalitarian husbands can also abuse, they lack a huge arsenal of weaponry that complementarian husbands have at their disposal: their own beliefs, church doctrine, church pressure, church discipline of the wives, their twisting of scripture, the wife’s own belief that she is required to submit, along with her guilt if she fails to submit, or even the self-blame if she submits but her husband is still not happy.

It is my contention that the church would have much less domestic abuse and domestic violence among her people if she taught egalitarian, submit to one another and husbands love your wives as a living sacrifice, doctrine.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

Benefits that are Mere Pottage

Ok, I get it. Males have a vested interest in forcing women to stay married, even to abusers. Think of all the benefits they would lose if they encouraged abused wives to leave and even divorce their husbands. Their OWN wives could decide to divorce them for some made up infraction. (according to them and their viewpoint.) And then they wouldn’t have anyone to cook their meals, to wash their clothes, to order around, to raise their children, to put down so they can feel superior, to clean their houses, to dump the work load onto.

To keep this benefit, they will twist scripture and repeat the twisting over and over—like the mainstream media—in order to keep at least one foot securely on the head of their own wives, ready to crush their wives at the slightest “provocation.” The other foot they keep on the heads of Other Male’s Wives, so their own wives won’t get any ideas about freeing themselves from oppression.

The males are at war, practicing terrorism in their own homes and churches. And just like Obama, the majority of women continue to deny it. The truth is just too horrific to handle.

A study says 44% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence in their adult lifetime. That is nearly half of all women, and it assumes the women know what domestic abuse is. Yet women remain in their rose-colored glasses, still insisting that wife submission will heal marital woes, still blaming the women, still insisting if males just become Christians or rededicate their lives to the Lord, they will stop abusing their wives. Yet the very church doctrine the males rededicate themselves to teaches husband authority and fosters abuse.

With church doctrine like that, I can see why so many woman reject both their churches and Christ. Why belong to Christ, if doing so brings the same misery one could expect when one belongs to Satan?

Why do our churches act as if the fruit of the Spirit applies only to women? Do they not know that those who do not bear Christ’s fruit, are not connected to the Vine, and if they are not connected to the Vine they are spiritually dead? Why does the church act as if the command in Romans 12:1-2 applies to women only? When are males going to start being a living sacrifice, being kind and forgiving? When are males going to stop picking out the scriptures they can twist into domination commandments, while ignoring the clearly spelled out Christ-like behaviors they are commanded to practice?

Why are women in these churches still marrying? With a prognosis of life-long misery, it makes more sense to utilize the sperm bank if one wants children. Then a woman never has to worry about her husband using the children to control her, about her husband turning the children against her, or about her husband damaging her children. Frankly, feminists have legitimate arguments against males, and very good reason for despising Christians.

What are we as Christians going to do about it?

Oh, of course! The usual! Males must maintain their benefits at all costs—even at the cost of their own salvation. They, like Esau, are selling their birthright for a bowl of pottage.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Submission of Women Required for Survival and Profit

There is another group that relies on woman submission for its survival—similar to the Christian community. No, I am not speaking of the Muslim community, although they also rely on woman submission for survival.

“For SURVIVAL?” you ask.

Yes, survival. For many Christians, wife submission is right up there with salvation in importance. The good and godly behavior of husbands is dependent upon the submission of the wives. After all, they say husbands are wired to be leaders and the authority in their homes. According to the rhetoric, a husband doesn’t feel like a man if his wife doesn’t submit. Church would have to be cancelled because many husbands would be in jail for committing domestic violence when they tried to enforce their authority. Like as not, the pastors would be in jail, too, since clergy and faith leaders are the number 1 perpetrators of spousal abuse. Apparently, without the submission of wives, many husbands are incapable of producing evidence of having the Fruit of the Spirit. Without fruit, there is no church. Unless we have all female churches.

Another group has a similar dilemma. They, too, rely on female submission. Without it, a whole billion dollar industry would collapse.

The industry? P*rn.

In April I saw this article by Shane Ersland in the Daily Iowan that pointed to the submissive roles of women in p*rn films:

“An Expert Says Women’s submissive roles in p’orn films adversely affect today’s society.” Robert Jensen showed “The Price of Pleasure: P’ornography, S’exuality, and Relationships” at an event sponsored by the University of Iowa sociology department and by the Women’s Resource and Action Center. He pointed out that p’orn is used by men to pleasure themselves. Ersland commented that females in the film were “often put in disrespectful and submissive positions.”

Both Ersland and Jensen are right, men pleasure themselves at the expense of women. But this is not only true of the p*rn industry, it is also true in so-called Christian families and churches.

Something is dreadfully wrong when both the p’orn industry and churches rely on the humiliation and submission of women in order to survive. Both groups do little to nothing to combat the degradation of women. Prostitution also uses the submission and degradation of women. Similar to pastors who insist women must remain with their abusers, pimps lock women into their degrading lifestyles, and p*rn makers refuse to hire or pay women who insist on respectful depictions of women.

How does the submission of women profit these industries? The p*rn and prostitution industries make huge monetary profits and are rife with male power. Similarly, the church industry profits with huge gains in male power for both clergy and for husbands, and also profits with monetary benefits. Without submissive wives bearing children and bringing them to church, there would be no next generation(s) for pastors to fleece.

Could it be that if pastors did not emphasize the submission of women, MEN would refuse to come to church and put money in the offering plate?
According to Mark Driscoll, who emphasizes wife submission, getting men into the church is everything. (see: ) Driscoll says if a pastor gets young men into his church, he gets the men, their wives, their children, and their money. If you don’t get the men, (meaning if you only get women and children?) you get nothing.

In order to get the men, then, women must submit so the family will stay together and go to church. Apparently Driscoll thinks a divorced husband is less likely to bring his children to church--and part with his money.

So one could say the men running po'rn industry, the prostitution industry, and the church are all vying for power and for men's money. And the submission of women is required to achieve that goal.

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Parable of the Divinitys Explained

Jesus spoke in parables. Sometimes it was to hide the meaning from those who would misuse it, and other times it was to make the point in a way that people could better understand. It seemed many people could not comprehend heavenly truths any other way. They could not see the forest, because the trees were blocking their view.

As I consider the many authors who have written before me, those who are battling alongside me, and then look at those who dig their heels in even harder and refuse to hear the message, it seems the trees are blocking the view of many church folk today, too.

Perhaps the previous parable along with the meaning in this post will help make a difference.

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity represent God. Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Male and female together are the image of God.

The last name, Divinity, represents God’s whole family.

The twins, John and Jane, the older children, represent church leaders and also parents. Ephesians 5, along with other passages command us all to submit to one another. Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another…”

The younger siblings, Tom and Sally, represent a young married couple. They, too, are told to submit to one another, to honor one another.

The Divinity house and property represents wherever God places us on this earth, and includes the jobs He gives us to do.

The cabin represents both Heaven and the way of escape that God has promised to us. I Corinthians 10:13-14 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” If we do not flee the temptation to do other than what God has commanded, we risk becoming idolatrous.

The incorrect statements of John and Tom represent the reasoning of men who claim to be obeying God’s commands, but twist the scripture so that it is more to their liking, giving themselves full authority over women, their wives in particular.

John’s increasing declarations of authority, and urging his brother to take authority, represent the current trend of leaders taking authority in many churches, and urging husbands to take authority contrary to God’s command to husbands to love self-sacrificially and to present their bodies as living sacrifices, not being conformed to the world’s hierarchical way of thinking (Romans 12:1-3).

Tom’s increasing declarations of authority represent the escalating abuse some husbands inflict on their wives.

Tom’s statement that Jane is not his boss and that he does not have to listen to her, represents the attitude of many church men that all of us should not listen to women, nor allow women to influence us, but instead should suspect them of leading us astray. Also, they insist we should only accept new ideas/biblical truths from males.

The feast in the cabin represents both our heavenly reward and our earthly reward. Job, for example, was rewarded after God had tested him.

Over all, the parable points to the evil that men are committing against women in both church and home today, in spite of God’s commands to neither rule like the Gentiles, nor elevate themselves like the world does.

Like in the parable, God does provide a way to escape. By insisting that wives live with rules that are contrary to God’s word, (elevating husbands to a place of authority and superiority which belongs to God alone), husbands force wives to live in idolatry. If a wife chooses to do a sinful act that her husband is demanding of her, that is obviously sin. But church leaders fail to recognize that wives who are forced to live as inferior to their husbands are also disobeying God. That disobedience is both idolatry (putting husbands and church leaders above God) and sin.

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Parable of the Divinitys

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity knew it was time to test their children and that their children needed to learn to appreciate them more, so they decided to go on a three-month mission trip to encourage a number of churches. Before they left they gave instructions to their children.

“Jane and John,” Mr. Divinity said, “You are the eldest, so we are leaving the two of you in charge. It is your responsibility to make sure your younger siblings are taken care of and that the house and yard are well tended. We left you with some phone numbers if you should need help.”

“It is very important that you love and respect one another,” Mrs. Divinity added. “You are to make sure Tom and Sally listen to you and do what you ask. Make sure that they get along with each other and treat each other with respect and dignity. You all are our children, and when we come home we want to hear that each of you valued your siblings highly. Tom and Sally, obey the twins and don’t fight with each other.”

“Mrs. Divinity is right,” Mr. Divinity chimed in. “It is very important to us that you all choose behavior that is becoming to a Divinity. Each of you make sure you care about the needs and feelings of each of your siblings and try to find solutions that keep the peace and are satisfying to all of you.

Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their children good-bye and left for their mission trip.

As soon as their conveyance was off the property, John announced, “Since I am the man, you all will have to answer to me. Tom and Sally, if you want to do anything, you have to come to me. Is that understood?”

“But John,” Jane protested, “our parents left us both in charge. They made us both responsible.”

John snorted, “They weren’t thinking; it isn’t possible for two people to be in charge. This place will go to hell in a hand basket if the kids listen to you.”

“John is right,” Tom said, putting his hands on his hips. “We MEN know better than you GIRLS,” he curled his lip on the last word.

“But Tom,” Sally whispered, “what about loving each other and acting as is becoming to a Divinity?”

Tom shoved his younger sister causing her to fall down. “THIS is behavior that is befitting to a Divinity. “You be quiet and do what we men tell you to do.”

“John,” Jane frowned, “what you and Tom are doing is not right. I will have to report to our parents.”

John laughed. “You go right ahead. See if I care.”

That set the tone for the days ahead. John and Tom sat around playing games and meeting with friends and demanded that their sisters clean the house, care for the yard and garden, cook food for them and their friends, and wash their clothes.

One day John went off with his friends, and young Tom took the opportunity to be meaner to Sally than usual. He pulled her hair, kicked her shins, threw juicy mud balls at her, making her clothes all muddy, and pulled off the heads of both her dolls.

Sally went crying to Jane.

“Tom, that behavior is NOT becoming to a Divinity!” Jane said sternly. “You will apologize to your sister at once.”

“You aren’t my boss,” Tom stuck his tongue out at her. “I don’t have to listen to you.”

“Then you will not get any supper. I will not allow that kind of behavior in this house.”

Tom snorted, “We’ll see what John says when he comes home.”

When John came home, he took both Jane’s and Sally’s supper and gave it to Tom. “You girls are NEVER to boss us men!” John shouted. “Is that understood? WE are in charge here. WE are the Divinity men! If we see either of you helping yourselves to ANY food for the rest of the night, we will lock you in the basement. Now get busy and clean up the house!”

Jane and Sally quietly washed the dishes and went to bed hungry.

The next day Jane stepped outside to work in the garden and overheard a conversation between Tom and Sally, who were in the sandbox.

“Why do you and John treat us so badly?” Sally asked in a small voice.

“We aren’t treating you badly,” Tom sounded kind. “It’s actually you and Jane who are being nasty to us. You keep questioning our authority, even though our parents left us in charge.”

“Tom Divinity!” Sally said. “You know that is NOT true. Our parents left John and Jane in charge because they are older. Since they are twins, Jane is just as old as John.”

“But they told Jane she is responsible to keep up the house and take care of us men,” Tom explained. “We are following their rules; we didn’t make them up. You and Jane are the rebellious ones. John told me we would have to report you to our parents if you keep bucking our authority like you do. Our parents told us to get along. They will not be happy with you and will punish you severely.”

“That isn’t what our parents said, Tom.”

“Yes it is. You can try to interpret what they said differently to get out of doing what you were told, but in the end you will be disobeying and disrespecting our parents. Now go get me a big glass of water. I’m thirsty.”

Jane ducked out of sight as Sally started toward the house. She hadn’t realized John and Tom were comparing notes, or that they had gone so far as to decide their parents had given them authority. She thought about what to do as she hoed the garden and collected vegetables for supper.

Then she remembered the list of names and numbers their parents had left with them. She went in the house and called one of the numbers, then yelled out the door and asked Sally to come in and help prepare supper.

“Go get the picnic basket, Sally,” Jane said when Sally had come inside, "and then I want you to go pack some clothes for yourself. We are going to a cabin our parents provided for us if things get too ugly.”

Sally’s eyes grew big and round. “Our parents provided a cabin for us?”

“Yes. Leaving is the best we can do to get along,” Jane explained. “We have to behave as is becoming to a Divinity, so we have to leave for awhile. John and Tom were told to treat us with respect and love, but they are not. The longer we stay here, the less they behave like Divinitys. Our parents told us to take care of you and Tom. Since John and Tom are not allowing me to obey our parents, I must take you to a safe place.

That night, while the brothers were asleep, Jane and Sally crept out of the house with clothes, food, and enough money to buy more. They walked all night until they came to the cabin their parents had provided. They found the key in the crotch of the tree, and let themselves in.

The cabin suddenly flooded with light and their parents rushed forward to hug them.

“Father, Mother,” Jane said, “what are you doing here? I thought you were across the country by now.”

“We were,” Mr. Divinity said, “but when we saw what was going on at home, we knew you needed us here to comfort you.”

“You saw?” Sally squeaked.

“Of course,” Mrs. Divinity said. “We always keep our children under surveillance.”

“But why didn’t you come stop them?” Jane protested.

“It was important to test you all,” Mr. Divinity explained. “We wanted to give all of you a chance to see if you really loved us, or if you were just pretending.”

“Well, done, my daughters,” Mrs. Divinity led Jane and Sally to the next room, where a table was beautifully set and loaded with a thanksgiving feast. Mr. and Mrs. Divinity kissed their daughters and seated them at the table, then loaded their plates with food, and encouraged them to eat their fill.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2009

“In Everything” Christianese, Part 2

As discussed in part 1, Ephesians 5:22 and 24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything,” have been interpreted to mean “no matter what” in Christianese. Specifically, they have been interpreted to mean “submit if he is abusing you, obey when he is nasty and sinning against you.” The result of this Christianese, is that the church is commanding wives to REWARD husbands for disregarding all of Ephesians except the directions to wives. This encourages sin.

According to the context of Ephesians, those words to wives mean wives are to submit to the sacrificial love of their husbands. If they do not, then the other passages about submitting to one another and getting along in church would also mean our churches are to be ruled by those who are the most demanding and sinful. After all, the demanding and nasty ones are the very people who will never give in, therefore, the godly ones are required to give in and submit to sinful behavior. (This may actually be the problem in many churches today—that the godly leaders are submitting to the sinful leaders.)

Submitting to one another does NOT include submitting to sin or allowing sinful and selfish behavior. Rather, just like we have to accept the gift of Christ’s salvation, so a wife must accept the gift of her husband’s sacrificial love. When he says, “Honey, you look tired. Please, go get ready for bed. I’ll wash the dishes and put the children to bed,” she is to submit to that. She may want to protest, “But Dear, you are tired and worked hard all day, too. Those are MY responsibilities. I feel so bad leaving those things for you to do, I cannot submit to you.” But the passage tells her to submit to sacrificial love, even as she does to Christ.

I recall a sermon Chuck Swindoll preached about the letter to Philemon. Chuck suggested that Paul wrote that letter “tongue in cheek,” meaning in a humorous and ironic way to get the point across. Paul played with the meaning of Onesimus’s name and his unprofitable behavior. On the one hand Paul refused to command Philemon to accept his slave as a brother, and asked Philemon do so voluntarily as receiving a gift from Paul, since he is Paul’s son in faith and Paul would have liked to keep Onesimus with him. Yet at the end of the letter he said he is coming to visit, suggesting if Philemon treats Onesimus harshly, Paul will be coming to hold him accountable. Although Paul writes kindly, he tells Philemon to treat his slave well, especially since his running away ended up in bringing him to Christ.

There is similarity in the letter to the whole Ephesian church, where Paul tells wives to submit in everything and as to the Lord and in his actions of sending Onesimus back to his owner. Just as Philemon may have thought when his slave returned, that he had the right to beat his slave severely, husbands tend to think they have total power and domination rights over their wives because of Paul’s words to wives. Paul’s next words say to both husbands and to Philemon that this supposition is false. Paul asked Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother in the faith, as Paul’s own son, and asks husbands to treat their wives with self-sacrificial love, even as Christ loved the church so much He gave Himself up for her.

It is time churches teach ALL of Ephesians correctly, that abusive, controlling, and authoritarian husbands turn from their wicked ways, be transformed by the renewing of their minds, align their beliefs with scripture, and treat their wives as daughters of God, and joint heirs with Christ and worthy of all self-sacrificial love, gentleness, and respect.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

“In Everything” Christianese, Part 1

Sometimes a biblical passage is explained repeatedly to the point that the passage begins to take on a meaning other than that stated by the biblical text. Ephesians 5:22 and 24 are an example of this phenomenon. “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord…Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

In Christianese, the words IN EVERYTHING and AS TO THE LORD mean: submit when you disagree, submit as if you are the stupid one, submit when he is being nasty to you and/or to your children, submit when you know what he is insisting is unwise, submit when you know it will ruin you both financially, submit when he’s walking all over you and taking advantage of you, submit when his demand is hurting or even harming other people, submit when he is demanding that you break a promise or contract, and etc.

The context of the passage is in the whole book of Ephesians. Chapter 4, for example tells us to walk worthy of our calling, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Our actions are to build one another up, to edify the body of Christ, to behave in such a way as to promote peace with one another. Husbands are to love their wives self-sacrificially as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. This is in keeping with those earlier verses. The passage also reminds us of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Yet those words to wives are lifted out of their context and spun to mean something else entirely. The way they are spun nullifies the words to husbands and wipes out the whole of Ephesians for husbands in relation to their wives, and replaces it with a doctrine of domination and authority over their wives. It is as if Ephesians is written only to wives, or as if every passage has an exception clause—“except toward your wives.”

Ephesians 4:1a-3 would read, “I…beseech WIVES to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with YOUR HUSBANDS in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 would read, “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, EXCEPT TOWARD YOUR WIVES, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…”

Many husbands—backed by their pastors and entire congregations—behave as if the false paraphrases above are what the Bible actually says, and that only the directions to wives, from which they derive husband headship and authority, are applicable. They think AS TO THE LORD and SUBMIT IN EVERYTHING mean a wife is to submit NO MATTER WHAT the husband does or demands, since we submit to the Lord in everything.

But they fail to take into account that since the Lord NEVER behaves sinfully, nor acts selfishly, this verse cannot possibly mean “no matter what,” unless Christians are willing to make sin acceptable. There is no way she can submit AS TO THE LORD when her husband’s behavior is selfish, mean, or sinful. A husband whose behavior is not Christ-like, is following the lead of his father, Satan. To require a wife to submit to a man who is following Satan, in essence is requiring her to submit to Satan. In order to submit AS TO THE LORD, she must submit to self-sacrificial, Christ-like love.

They also fail to recognize that because husbands are told, in addition to the rest of the commands in Ephesians, to love their wives self-sacrificially even as Christ loved the church, that the command to wives to submit IN EVERYTHING and AS TO THE LORD, when read in context, means that a wife’s submission is to be in response to her husband’s Christ-like behavior. She is NOT to encourage sin, even if her husband is not saved. If EVERYTHING has any other meaning, the wife is being forced to encourage her husband to disregard all of Ephesians, except for those verses to the wives.

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Forget and Suffer vs Remember and Reject

Remembering how other individuals treat us is an important part of making decisions and of staying out of danger. Yet many Christians throw human interpretation of forgiveness at people. By insisting that they forgive and forget, Christians abuse them yet again and cause them to put themselves in harm’s way.

This is especially so for wives who suffer abuse from their husbands. The ultra pious pressure wives to forgive and forget. They tell a wife who is still grieving the loss of her marriage, still trying to accept that the man she married doesn’t cherish her after all, that she SHOULD forgive and maintain relationship with her abuser. They tell her if she holds him at arms length, she hasn’t really forgiven him.

So she takes a phone call from him, and he berates her for half an hour. She hangs up, feeling shaky, confused, and scared. But she focuses on forgiving and forgetting. She blames herself for not handling it better.

This is contrary to scripture. Titus 3:10 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” Abusers tend to be divisive. Their repeated reviling creates conflict and splits up marriages.

2Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM.”

This passage describes many abusive husbands. Instead of controlling themselves, they put all their focus on controlling their wives. Their behavior is pure treachery. They led their wives to believe they would love and cherish them, but instead they turn on them and attack them.

How does the Bible say we are to respond? HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. There is nothing about forgive and forget. There is no exception clause saying “except when you are married to him.”

When a married man chooses the above behaviors, HE is the one who has broken the marriage covenant. Without loving behavior there is no covenant. It has become null and void. Unless he repents in sincerity and truth. And few abusers do.

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Is Forgive and Forget Biblical?

Those who place emphasis on forgiveness often say one must forget for it to be real forgiveness. This week a woman told me about her struggle to forgive her abusive ex-husband. As soon as she decided to forgive him, the memories of all he had done overwhelmed her. She thought that meant she had not forgiven him. She said it took 2 years for her to be able to forgive and forget. (Yet, she must still be remembering, or she wouldn’t have mentioned it to me—not even from the forgiveness angle.)

I want to know the book, chapter and verse that tells us to forgive and forget.
I checked the concordance, and did not find those words together anywhere. In fact, I find principles that suggest it is unwise to forget. Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12 “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Even though we forgive, it may be stupid to forget.

Consider this unlikely situation: While at work, your boss tells you and a coworker to go to another area of the building. You get on the elevator with your coworker, and she walks in front of you presumably to punch in the number of the floor you are headed for, and with all her weight, steps on your foot with her spiked heel. She apologizes and you forgive her, even though your foot hurts, and when you check it later, you have a bruise. But you put the incident out of your mind.

A week later the boss sends you and your coworker on another mission, and she does the same thing, and again apologizes, calling herself a big klutz. You forgive her again, and berate yourself when you can’t put it out of your mind the first 2 days. “It was just an accident,” you scold yourself, “forget it!”

Two weeks later during another elevator trip with her, you again get your foot nailed by her spike. This time, she apparently lost her balance and fell against you, and her spike landed on the very spot that is still hurting from the last time. You forgive her again.

Now, if you are too stupid to see that this is a pattern you need to make sure you do NOT forget, and that you either need to ride a separate elevator or keep a large briefcase between you and the spike-lady, and that you need to report her to the boss (or to whoever deals with assaults at your workplace), and to the police, you will keep getting hurt by your coworker.

Remembering how other individuals treat us is an important part of making decisions, of staying out of danger. Yet many Christians throw human interpretation of forgiveness at people, and by insisting that they forget, influence them to put themselves in harm’s way.

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Forgiveness, Trust, Restitution, and Reconciliation

The truth about forgiveness is that it does not erase our pain. Instead, we choose to bear the pain and release the one who caused it by no longer demanding payment from them and by letting go of our anger and refusing to seek revenge.

Consider a person whose loved one is killed by a drunk driver. Will forgiveness actually take away the pain of loss? Will the person stop missing their loved one? Hardly. That pain will be there for many years. Forgiveness in this case means the person is not going to try to get even, but chooses to let go of all anger, resentment, bitterness, and malice against the person.

Does forgiveness mean the person is going to try to protect the drunk from the consequences of his behavior? No. To do so would actually be a disservice to the drunk, and may result in another unnecessary death at his hands. However, testimony against the drunk must be truthful and neither understated nor embellished. It is the responsibility of those who administer the law to punish the drunk.

Therefore, while forgiveness does not seek revenge, neither does it protect from consequences. Further, although a person who forgives may have to distance herself from or even divorce the one who wronged her, she will not administer punitive consequences by her own hand, unless that is actually the harmed person’s responsibility because she is the offender’s parent, or otherwise carries the responsibility to punish the wrong-doer.

How does forgiveness look in real life? In the case of unpaid debt, the wronged party may choose to stop associating closely with the one who did the harm, and may even take steps to hold the wrong-doer accountable by reporting him to the authorities and testifying in court if needed. However, the wronged person will not slash the wrong-doers tires, spray paint hateful words on his garage, nor leave key scratches in the paint on his car. Instead the wronged person will pray for his/her trouble-causer, and with a loving attitude do what he/she can to restore him to right thinking/behaving if opportunity arises and if it is safe to do so. Here I add that what is safe for one person, may put another at risk. For example, it may be safe for a large man to associate with an abusive husband, but totally unsafe for the abuser's wife to associate with him.

When the person says he is sorry, the wronged one can express forgiveness and cautiously offer relationship if it is safe to do so, leaving room to back away again if the repentance is not genuine. However, in some cases, especially when there has been repeated harm done as in domestic abuse, a person can accept a statement of apology, extend forgiveness, and remain distant until such time as trust is reestablished through the offender’s restitution and long-term trustworthy behavior.

In the case of domestic abuse, the abuser is often the first to point out that if the abused party does not take him back into her full good graces, she has not forgiven him. This is totally false. In actuality, the ball is in the abuser’s court. Because of his repeated trampling on his wife, he must not only show that he will no longer stomp all over her, he must take responsibility for his behavior by paying restitution.

Lundy Bancroft, in his book “Why does he DO That?” puts it this way. (I repeat this in my own words without looking it up recently, so I may miss some points and add thoughts that are my own.) The harm done by domestic abuse is similar to the harm done when a man cuts down his neighbor’s beautiful shade tree. Most abusers think an “I’m sorry” will make the relationship OK again. But it does not. How does the neighbor know if her prize rose bush is safe from her neighbor’s chain saw? In fact, although it is impossible for him to restore the shade tree, he must do his best to restore as much as he can. He must buy as large a shade tree as he can find to replace the tree he cut down, it must meet with his neighbor’s approval, and he must hire a tree moving service that plants large trees to plant it. He must water and feed the tree faithfully for several years to make sure it survives and grows. Since even this does not restore his neighbor’s property to its original condition, he must look for other ways to make amends, to beautify his neighbor’s property or benefit his neighbor in a way that the NEIGHBOR deems appropriate.

This obviously requires genuine repentance, humility, loving concern for his neighbor, and an attitude of selflessness. When these qualities and actions are missing, it is impossible to restore the type of trust that brings true reconciliation.

Only when the abuser makes full restitution and shows himself trustworthy over a long period of time—at least a year—can he expect his wife’s pain to begin to diminish and her physical and emotional ailments to begin to heal, which will allow her forgiveness to grow into trust and then into reconciliation.

Instead of pushing the wronged party to forgive, trust, and reconcile, it is high time we push the offender to take responsibility, pay restitution, and BE consistently trustworthy for the rest of his life.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Forgiveness—What it is and Isn’t

Christians say much about forgiveness. They teach it is the eraser that cements all kinds of relationships. People often believe forgiveness erases offenses, restores trust, brings reconciliation, eradicates emotional pain, heals illnesses, and makes everything hunky dory.

But is this true? Can forgiveness do all of the above?

Well, what IS forgiveness? There is so much conflicting information about it, that I have struggled to know what it is, let alone how to apply it. I finally came to a conclusion based on biblical teachings about money. Using a concrete item makes it much easier for me to understand the concept, which also clarified for me what forgiveness can and cannot do.

Jesus told a parable about forgiving a debt, so I, too will tell a parable.
Imagine that you came to me, jobless and wanting to invest in a business that would provide for your family, and I loaned you $100,000.00 (One hundred thousand dollars). It took me 40 years of scrimping and self-denial to save this money so I could set it aside for retirement. It is also all I was able to save. But seeing your distress, I loaned it to you so that your family would not go hungry, and with the agreement that you would pay me interest so that I, too, would benefit from the exchange.

The first year was interest and payment free, per our agreement, and the second year you made two monthly payments, and then stopped paying altogether. It soon became clear that you had used up the whole $100,000 and now your fledgling business had failed to get off the ground. Then I find out you squandered the money, using most of it for “research” that was actually self-gratification and entertainment. You never did open your business. And now you not only had no money left, I also understood that you didn’t have the morals to be able to work enough to repay it. I could choose to forgive you or choose to remain angry and frustrated the rest of my life as I keep hounding you for payment or telling everyone what a horrible person you are. (I do believe there is room for sharing our grief with a few trusted confidantes, but it is important that we do not emebellish the wrong that was done to us.)

What does it mean to forgive? It means that I do not expect you to repay the debt. It is forgiven. Therefore, I let go of the anger and frustration I felt toward you. However, I may need to take some time to grieve my loss.

Does it mean I trust you? If you have shown yourself untrustworthy, absolutely NOT! Does it mean I am reconciled with you? No. Does it mean I do not deal with emotional pain? NO. In fact, I will have to deal with major emotional pain because I have just suffered a HUGE loss. My entire retirement savings are gone and cannot be recovered. Because of this, I will be unable to retire—ever. My income was low enough in my working years that my social security will never be enough to live on. I will live in pain, still working hard years after I am too frail or ill to keep working. Or I will stop working and constantly be scraping the bottom of the barrel for the rest of my life, forced to choose what needed items I must do without.

The pain I suffer will be so severe I may end up grieving my loss for the rest of my life. It will always be a factor in my life circumstances. Even at a tiny 2% interest on the $100,000, I will bear the loss of $167 a month for the rest of my life. That hurts! It is not small change to me.

Yet Christians teach that if I forgive you, my pain should be gone, and I should be your good friend. They seem to deny that friendship requires trust—a trust that is earned. In fact, they would urge me to be so foolish to loan you money again, if you are still in need and I am able to save enough to loan. This, my friends, is not forgiveness, it is stupidity and foolishness.

The forgiveness pushers fail to understand that it is each person’s responsibility to BE trustworthy—to earn trust. I take that back. They fail to understand that it is each MAN’S responsibility to BE trustworthy. They have very little problem demanding trustworthiness and perfect submission from 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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Authors of Fireproof Seem to Claim Forgiveness Would Save Abusive Marriages

Another comment by the Kendrick brothers, that Catherine’s “bitterness” is the result of her failure to forgive Caleb on a daily basis, seems to suggest that the marriage of Caleb and Catherine would not have degenerated if Catherine had forgiven her husband daily. This belief is frequently voiced in the Christian community and needs to be examined. Does a spouse’s forgiveness stop her abuser from escalating his abuse as is commonly believed? Many people quote Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.” Is this verse always the case?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think forgiveness is great and necessary, and a soft answer does turn away wrath in many cases. But is this true in abusive marriages?

To find out, I want to follow through on what their reasoning would produce. Remember, I personally have been abused and for years did my best to forgive and believe the best of my husband and also responded with a soft answer. Other abused women report experiences similar to mine. Yet none of us claim to be perfect. Thus, I want to imagine what the results would be if a wife WAS able to forgive her abusive husband every day.

Let’s start with Caleb saying he wants to withhold a third of his income to save for his boat and that he pressures Catherine into agreeing to this. According to Brothers Kendrick, Catherine should forgive him for being so self-centered and for not seeing her needs. So let’s say Catherine sacrifices her needs and even tries to help him save for his boat. She forgives him, loves and serves him, while she sees him in the best possible light as an unselfish man.

Caleb sees her love, service and forgiveness as his due, and takes his 2 days off doing whatever brings him pleasure. (This has been his pattern for 6 years of marriage, according to the writing of the Kendrick brothers.)

Catherine comes home from work on his second day off, picks up Caleb’s mess, buys groceries, cooks his dinner, dares to take his clothes to the dry cleaners while the food cooks, all the while thanking God that she has such a wonderful husband and again forgiving him for leaving all the work to her. At the dinner table, Caleb complains that the roast is tough and the lettuce hasn’t been cut fine enough. Catherine forgives him, and brings out the dessert, which he tells her is not to his liking, either. After dinner, she struggles with resentment, but chooses to forgive him. She sweetly gives herself to him that night, and he uses her, giving nothing in return. Catherine cries herself to sleep, and when she wakes in the morning, again chooses to forgive her husband and love him unconditionally.

This becomes a normal part of Catherine’s life. Her husband puts her down and expects special service every day, justifying his behavior by emphasizing how much he contributes with his pay check and with saving people’s lives. Catherine forgives him, and acts like a normal wife would by telling him how her dad has to work so hard to help her mom because the wheel chair and bed are not right for her mom, but Caleb dismisses Catherine’s concern, saying it is their problem, so Catherine drops the issue as a good Christian wife is taught to do.

Catherine tries to do all the little things to encourage her husband, to raise his self-esteem, and he continues to get nastier. (Bruce Ware and followers would blame Caleb’s nastiness on Catherine because she is not submissive enough, but in real life once abusers get what they want, they soon raise the bar and increase their demands. This seems to be caused by a mix of believing they are entitled to get special service and special privileges that their wives do not have and by a desire to feel a sense of power over their wives.)

After a year goes by, Catherine is secretly crying herself to sleep every night, while Caleb is getting everything he wants, and becoming discontented that he doesn’t have more or get even more service from his wife. He would like her to stay at home so she can do more for him—especially on his days off, but he also wants her to continue bringing in her paycheck, so he can buy his boat sooner. He asks her to cook meals for him to eat while she is at work, and she complies with that request, too.

Catherine keeps forgiving her husband, and doesn’t keep a record of all the things he does to hurt her every day, yet her inner pain keeps growing. She makes a bigger effort to forgive him, thinking that is her problem, but she ends up bursting into tears at work. She tries to control and hide her tendency to cry, but it slips out at times.

When Gavin makes his overture at work, she tells him how wonderful her husband is, which results in Gavin leaving her alone. Everyone thinks Caleb and Catherine have a wonderful marriage.

After another year, Catherine stops going to sleep after being intimate with Caleb, but instead gets up to finish all the tasks she is expected to do, trying to be as quiet as possible so her beloved husband can sleep soundly. She uses this time to pray for her husband, focusing on seeing him in the best possible light. These extra hours of work result in her getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep. Less sleep plus the stress of being continually trampled on by her husband makes her prone to “catching” every cold and flu that goes around, and she develops physical diseases as well. (In a recent study women who had suffered recent domestic abuse were more likely to have been diagnosed with a wide range of diseases and disorders:
The women who reported violence were nearly six times as likely to have been diagnosed with substance use disorders, the researchers found, while they were at nearly five-fold greater risk of "family and social problems." Their risk of depression was more than tripled, while anxiety diagnoses were nearly three times as common among these women.
Other diagnoses that were more common among recently abused women included low back and neck pain; sprains and strains; sexually transmitted diseases; lacerations, bruises and scrapes; urinary tract infections; chest pain; and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

to read the entire article.) She goes to the doctor for her many maladies, and the doctor recognizes symptoms of depression and prescribes anti-depressants.

Caleb thinks the anti-depressants are not necessary and refuses to pay for them, which leaves Catherine with yet another expense she can ill-afford. She tries to cook more from scratch to save at the grocery store, but time is an issue, so she tries buying cheaper cuts of meat so she’ll have funds to buy some precooked meals. Caleb complains about the cheap meat, so she is forced to skimp on clothing for herself, wearing them until they are noticeably worn out, and getting fewer haircuts. Caleb gripes that she is letting herself “go to seed,” so she tries to find other ways to stretch her income.

There never is a solution. Catherine is always viewed as the problem, and over time she also believes if she could be more perfect, Caleb would be happy with her.

The prescription doesn’t help. One day when Catherine’s heart is breaking because of her husband’s recent “verbal unkindness,” (John Piper’s term) she focuses so hard on trying not to cry and on trying to get rid of her anxiety and the fear she still feels because Caleb overwhelmed her by threatening her with his fists and screaming in her face that she steps in the street without thinking and a car hits her and kills her. Everyone thinks it was an accident. No one suspects suicide, since they believe her marriage to Caleb is so happy. A few blame the anti-depressants. But no matter, Catherine is dead and everyone feels so sorry for her husband who “adored” her.

A second possible ending is that one day threatening her with his fists wasn’t enough, and Caleb gets his bat and hits her with the same viciousness he used on the garbage can. Caleb either breaks her jaw and fractures her eye socket, or hits Catherine so hard she falls and hits her head on the counter, killing her or putting her in the hospital for a long time.

The point I’m making is that in both Fireproof and in the Love Dare and in the Kendrick Brother's commentary there is a complete lack of teaching about a wife confronting her husband and holding him accountable for sin. Instead they say when Catherine confronted Caleb she may have been disrespectful. In other words, they suggest wives shouldn't express anger or disgust to their husbands concerning their behavior. With their repeated comments about Catherine's “bitterness” and lack of forgiveness and trust, they apparently would have us believe an abusive marriage will become healthy if the abused wife will just forgive and love unconditionally. If she will get rid of her bitterness and completely die to self. But they picture Caleb being REJECTED when he "dies to self," not TRAMPLED on, screamed at, threatened, punished, and assaulted—perhaps even killed.

Indeed, it appears to me the life they picture for abused wives is a life-time of degrading slavery and cruel punishments, neglect, overwork, and imprisonment, coupled with a spirit of forgiveness and service on the part of the abused wife which amounts to voluntary self-degradation. The Kendrick Brothers compound this by neglecting to clarify that it is the abuser who must use the Love Dare.

Once again, the focus is on finding yet another way to condemn the abused wife. When are Christians going to hold abusers accountable, instead of transferring that accountability onto abused wives?

Think about it: Does forgiveness stop emotional pain? Does forgiveness heal a person who is a paraplegic because of being hit by a drunk driver? Does a victim's forgiveness stop an abuser from abusing? Are marriages that end in assault and murder (till death do us part) more righteous and godly than those that end in divorce to avoid assault and murder? Is divorce a bigger sin than murder and spousal abuse?

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