Thursday, July 23, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 15 (Submit as to Christ, not as to Satan)

Church leaders fail to understand that Paul is teaching Christian wives to submit to a husband who loves as Christ loves the church. Ephesians 5:24 is key: “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

This verse is NOT saying that husbands can be as demanding and nasty as they want and a wife must submit. The verse actually puts a limit on what a wife is to submit to, by saying she is to submit AS THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO CHRIST.

How is the church subject to Christ? With her free will. She (we) love(s) Him because He first loved us. I John 4:19. Her love and obedience is dependent upon his love, care, and sacrifice. Without His loving self-sacrifice, her obedience would be pure stupidity and a mockery of the Good News of the Gospel, because it would no longer be good news. In the same way, without a husband’s love and self-sacrifice, a wife’s submission becomes symbolic of the church submitting to the demands of Satan.

How can the church put so much emphasis on wifely submission and so little emphasis on husband self-sacrifice when it provokes increasing sin from husbands? Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Such sinning is very serious in the eyes of God. Hebrews 10:26:
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?

Husbands who mistreat and abuse their wives in non-physical ways are sinning willfully. They are refusing to obey huge portions of scripture, which include the commands of Jesus, Himself. Many of them twist and misrepresent scripture to coerce their wives. The above passage says they have no more sacrifice for sins because they are despising the sacrifice Christ already did. When there is no more sacrifice for sins, they can expect and look for judgment and fiery indignation to devour them. They use passages like this on their wives, when they themselves are the ones who are disobedient perpetrators of violence upon a person they vowed to love and cherish.

Church leaders apparently do not understand the extreme violation that husbands inflict upon their wives with verbal, emotional, spiritual, and psychological abuse. The thinking is that if the woman has not been physically harmed, it is not that serious and she should forgive him, give him a clean slate, and stay with her abuser.

The problem is that men do not have the same areas of wounded dignity that women have. For a man to experience a similar violation, his wife would have to ruin his bright red convertible that is his pride and joy. She would smash in all the windows, bash in the doors, hood, top and trunk, slash the tires, and gash up the paint job. The pastor would then tell the husband to forgive her, fix the car or get a new one and try to get along. So the husband would start fixing his car, but his wife would destroy all the repairs and add another dent or two. Again, the husband would go to the pastor for help, and the pastor would tell him to turn the other cheek and forgive her. Every repair the husband attempted would be totally wrecked by his wife, until she even had the engine sawed up and and the gas tank cut in two. Once the car was totally destroyed, the pastor would still advise the husband that he is married for better or for worse, and that damage to his car was no biblical reason for divorce. The husband would go home like a whipped dog, feeling totally violated by his wife, revictimized and betrayed by his pastor, like he had to put all his things in storage because he could not trust his wife to not destroy them, and like he was a prisoner with no way to defend himself from harm in his own home.

In the same way, wives are decimated when their husbands trash them with tongue-lashings, scripture abuse and etc. The submission pastors and entire churches impose upon wives—especially when so many of them are abused—is in essence requiring them to submit to their husband’s destruction of the wife’s identity, dignity and inner person. Just as the car gets “totaled,” so does the wife.

But the Church of the Itching Ears prefers to count it a grievous sin if a wife chooses not to submit when her husband demeans and abuses her, and by their stance end up encouraging husbands to sin even more. The Church of the Itching Ears is more concerned about the letter of their law of power and control, than about actual truth, mercy, uprightness, or justice.

II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

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, July 22, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 14 (The Sin of the Gentiles)

Jesus has many sides. Two of them are his rulership over all and his loving selflessness. The itching ears crowd focuses on the one side—the rulership side, and claim when Ephesians 5 says the husband is the head, that gives the husband the right of rulership, leadership, or authority. (This is the belief that so frequently leads to domestic abuse and violence.) But Jesus expressly denounced rulership thinking and action and said that is what the Gentiles do. Matthew 20:25-28
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and that they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’”

With Jesus, Himself, denouncing the disciples’ desire for superiority, rulership, and hierarchical power over others, with Paul commanding husbands to love their wives even as Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her, and with so many commands throughout the New Testament to love, edify, be kind one to another, etc., where in the earth did men get the idea these principles of love, equality, considering others better than themselves, etc. to have nothing to do with their relationships with their wives? They actually brush off large sections of scripture in favor of their pet doctrine: their own kingdom of power and control over their wives.

Church teaching explains that husbands don’t feel manly if they are not in control. This explanation is reserved for wives, which means they are actually saying men don’t feel manly if they are not in control of their wives. Indeed, men of society are in agreement with this mindset and call men who are self-sacrificial, considerate, and submissive to their wives, wimps, hen-pecked,and use many vulgar terms to degrade such men. Yet Ephesian 5:21 tells Christians to submit one to another in the fear of God, Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially as Christ did for the church, and the “likewise” in I Peter 3:7 tells husbands to be in subjection to their own wives, and to “dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife.” The church’s teaching is still in agreement with the world’s values. Both the church and the world’s view of manliness are in direct opposition to the scriptures. Both advocate and encourage husbands to 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

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 13 (A Present Day Deception)

Today I heard a popular TV personage preach on deception. He said women who deny the headship of their husbands are deceived. This is not a rule I made up, he said, it is what GOD says. He went on to say that women who think their gut is telling them something is wrong with husband headship are deceived. He then proceeded to present human arguments that in every organization there always has to be a leader, that it does not work to have 2 leaders of an organization, etc. You all have heard the human reasoning. I’d like to know; since when does human reasoning override God’s word? Why didn’t he just quote scripture if God said it so clearly? Could it be it’s because the scripture he would have quoted is a figure of speech? Why else focus on the reasoning of men? Furthermore, he totally neglected any mention of the deception of husbands who think it ok to rule and abuse their wives, instead of sacrificing their desires for the sake of their wives. I confess, I felt driven to turn off the TV, so great was the assault to my ears and heart. Instead of teaching the true word, this preacher scratched the itching ears of his male listeners and told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

I kept thinking how deceived the preacher was. Did he not realize that God never told husbands to lead or to rule their wives? That instead God through Paul told husbands to love their wives so much that they would give up their own wants, preferences, & desires for the sake of their wives, like Christ did for the church? That Peter told husbands to HONOR their wives or their prayers would be hindered and cut off? Did he not realize that Paul told Timothy to teach young women to marry, bear children, and rule their households?

If this preacher is that deceived, can I trust the rest of his teaching? Will that be biased or skewed, too? Or is Satan content to just have won one huge area of doctrine that causes chaos, hurt and destruction to so many families who claim to be Christian?

A while ago this pastor’s wife and son told how the TV ministry of this pastor started. His wife wanted nothing to do with a TV ministry. She seldom watched TV, and she did not want to be so closely connected with it, nor have to be present on TV herself. Her husband was insistent that he should expand his ministry by making it a TV ministry. The couple was at a stalemate, so they agreed to pray about it. He prayed that God would change his wife’s mind, and she prayed that God would change her husband’s mind. The pair remained staunch in their original positions. Meanwhile, Pastor Husband checked into getting a station, and found he could break into TV much easier if he put it in his wife’s name since she was a minority. So that is what he did—without her knowledge or approval. His move forced his wife to be involved against her will. The fact that signing someone else’s name is illegal and/or unethical is another issue entirely.

It appears God blessed this man’s move, at least if you count the numbers. His TV ministry has grown to become both national and international, and his is a well-known name. His wife commented in a ‘boys will be boys’ tone that he has a tendency to roll over anyone who disagrees with him. I gathered that she was well squashed, although she tried hard to appear the supportive wife.

I have wanted to give money to one of the causes this man heads up, but do not feel right doing so when I consider his disdain for his wife’s input, and how he violated her as a person, and as his wife. If he rules his own family like that, I cannot in good conscience add my name to his organization because sooner or later, he and his entire group will be put on the carpet for other violations.

Toward the end of his message he said that those who attack other Christians are of the devil. Yet here he was not only attacking women and saying they are deceived if they believe anything other than husband headship, which apparently does not require submission on the husband’s part, but actually teaching the opposite of the word of God, which says a husband’s submission shows itself in servanthood. Consider Jocelyn Andersen’s study of headship on her blog, "Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence." the June 19,2009 post entitled "I corinthians 11:3 Headship or Lordship?" Jesus is head over all, He is the capstone, as the top stone of a pyramid. There is not room for a second in command under him. Has Pastor Husband actually done word searches to see if what he is teaching is backed up by the original language? Has he never noticed that the context of Ephesians 5 clearly spells out what it means for the husband to be the head of the wife, and that hubby’s job description does not include boss, authority, leader, guide?

I would like to think Pastor Husband takes his stand in ignorance, but I cannot convince myself of that. And then I recall that my very first impression of him when I first heard and saw him speak, was that he is arrogant. Then I heard him tell husbands that they have no right to use the submission verses to abuse their wives, so I was ready to support him based on what he SAID. But after I heard what he DID, and that he still rolls over the opposition, and that he currently claims a rulership type of headship for husbands by requiring wives to set aside their strong sense of right and wrong, my original impression returned stronger than ever. One of the things I have learned the hard way is that I must evaluate people—especially men—based on what they DO, and not on what they SAY. And I MUST not trust them based on what they say, but must withhold trust until I find out how they behave. I have indeed found out what this particular pastor believes and practices. His wife tries to present a good front when she appears on TV, but I get the sense of a woman who has had more than her fair share of grief—because of her world-renowned husband.

My heart goes out to Pastor-husband’s wife. I know she knows her husband is controlling. But does she know that is abuse? I know she can feel the violation of her personhood and principles. But does she know that is domestic violence?

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, July 6, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 12 (Cut off Prayers of Husbands)

Of the commands to servants, wives, and husbands in I Peter 2 and 3, the commands to husbands are the strongest and carry a warning. The itching ears folk may think Peter only wrote one small verse to husbands, but the opposite is true. What Peter wrote to both servants and wives also applies to husbands, because the “likewise” in the section to husbands refers to what was said to the wives. And since the “likewise” to the wives refers to what was said to servants, that also applies to husbands. But the command to husbands tells them what will happen if they do not submit to and honor their wives, if they do not live with their wives as heirs together of the grace of God, their prayers will be hindered. Again, husbands who abuse their wives, who practice any form of domestic violence may as well not bother to pray, because their prayers will be cut off as soon as they leave the abuser’s mouth. The prayers will never reach God’s ears.

Isaiah 58:3-11 says the same thing. When the Israelites were fasting and praying and their prayers were not answered, they asked to know why. God replied it was because they were oppressing others with strife and debate and smiting with the fist of wickedness. These are the very thing husbands who demand to be the authority do. When they quote scripture to coerce obedience from their wives, in spite of the wife’s intense knowledge that what the husband is asking is wrong, that is oppressing with strife and debate. When they insist on their way through any of the non-physical means, like isolating her, threatening her, unnecessarily limiting her economically, using the children against her, chewing her out, griping at her, all these fall under the heading and spirit of strife and debate. And striking with the fists is obviously any form of physical abuse, including choking her, shoving her, blocking her from going somewhere, hitting the wall or slamming, breaking, or destroying things to threaten her. All these carry the spirit of oppression and result in God turning a deaf ear and an unseeing eye to the abuser’s cry for help.

However, if a husband is caring and compassionate of others, including his wife and children, and may I add the wives and children of other abusive men, and does what he can to “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke,” if he also provides food, clothing, and shelter to those in need, then when he calls, God will hear his prayers, and the man will be healthy and his “light” will “break forth as the morning.” Light in this case means “illumination or luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.)”

In Isaiah 58:10-11 there is a promise. “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall they light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as noonday. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

With a promise like this, why aren’t men doing more to stop domestic violence? Come on! The Lord is promising good and happiness to those who do what they can to loose the bands of wickedness, to set the oppressed free, but church men are so set on maintaining their power over women that they send the oppressed wife home with another set of chains tying her down and tying her to her oppressive abuser.

It is a scriptural principal to set the oppressed free, but church folk avoid doing that for people in their own pews. No, it is easier to point the finger at those in government, to work to control the non-Christians or to control followers of Christ who do not follow the rules of the Church of the Itching Ears, than it is to focus on delivering the oppressed in their own pews.

Note that in I Peter 3:7, husbands are told to HONOR their wives as the weaker vessel. Yet so many husbands are contemptuous toward women, because women are the “weaker vessel.” This, too, is oppression, and will hinder a man’s prayers. A woman is to be honored, somewhat like fine china and fine, expensive jewelry is honored. She may appear delicate on the outside, but her worth is far greater than rubies.

I cannot emphasize this enough. A church that despises its women by treating them as second class citizens, by refusing to permit them to practice their God-given gifts in the service of the church, by allowing husbands to abuse and dishonor their wives, is a church whose prayers are ineffective. Inasmuch as women join in with this woman-despising belief and behavior, their prayers will also be hindered. It is churches like these who are also guilty of an insidious form of idolatry, specifically husbandolotry, that the husbands require of their wives, and that the wives require of one another.

It is no wonder our nation is in such distress! James 5:16 says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” But our churches are full of unrighteous men and women, who continue to keep oppressed wives and children in bondage. When our churches refuse to practice the righteousness specified in the Bible, their prayers will continue to be unheard. These prayers are not being answered at all. They are not even being heard. Men and women of the churches, it is time to repent!

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, July 5, 2009

Itching Ears, part 11 (Coupled with fear)

Another passage the itching ears crowd likes to use to teach husband authority is I Peter 3:1-6, which begins with “Likewise, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands.” If a verse begins with “likewise” or “therefore” the reader has to start back further to see what is being included in the verse. In this case,"likewise" is referring to what is told to servants, that they are to be subject to their masters, even to the nasty ones. The problem with making a case for total wife subjection to her husband out of it, is that husbands also have a “likewise” in the directions to them, and their likewise would include what is said to both wives and to servants. Since the passage for the wives tells them to be in subjection to their own husbands, and the husbands are told to do likewise, they balance each other out. So if the likewise in I Peter 3:1 makes wives the absolute slaves of husbands and gives husbands permission to commit domestic abuse, then the likewise in I Peter 3:7 also makes husbands the absolute slaves of wives and gives wives permission to abuse their husbands. This is why we don’t hear the point embedded in "likewise" pushed from this passage.

But what we do hear is that when the husband is nasty, (this is what they extract from “obey not the word”) the wife should say nothing about it and win him over by her chaste and holy behavior.

But is this what the passage is saying? What clued me in is that the word fear or afraid is mentioned twice in the verses to wives. There is “coupled with fear” in verse two, and “are not afraid with any amazement” in verse 6. Now why would Peter tell wives to be afraid—in this case, #5401,the word means exceeding fear or terror—in one verse, and four verses later tell them that they are Sara’s daughters if they are not afraid. In this case #5399 meaning either reverence or exceeding terror.

So I looked at the surrounding words to find a clue to the discrepancy. The answers are in verse 2. “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” “Behold” in this case is much stronger than we would think it in our knowledge of Old English. #2029 (this is the only time this form is used in the NT.) It is from 1909 and 3700 and means to inspect or watch.
The words this word came from make the meaning much stronger. 1909,Superimposition of time, place, order, etc. (I add interest to the list) because 3700 means to gaze with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable.

The way this passage was taught, I always thought it was the wife who was to have the chaste behavior and it was to be coupled with fear. But the meaning of coupled suggests this is not so—especially since a few verses later wives are commended if they have no fear. “Coupled” is taken from the Hebrew, instead of the Greek, and means to join, specifically by means of spells, to fascinate or charm. It doesn’t make sense that the Christian wife would be fascinated with fear. But it does make sense that as the husband watches something remarkable with wide open eyes and inspects his wife’s new Christian behavior, that it fascinates him and because it is so different, it makes him very afraid.

In a book I once read, “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken, the husband’s experience bore this out. The husband loved his wife dearly, deeply, and when she began to submit to everything he asked, he became very concerned about her submitting to everything like that and grew afraid lest he ask her to do something that would harm her or destroy her love for him. He began to be very careful of what he asked of her.

Eugene H. Peterson agrees with me in his translation. “The same goes for you wives. Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God will be captivated by your life of holy beauty.” (emphasis mine.) And in the later verses that contain the word “fear,” his translation is “Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as ‘my dear husband.’ You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.”

Note that a husband who desires to control his wife, will not be captivated by her holy beauty, nor by her submission. Instead, his focus is to get all the power he can, and to get it at the expense of his wife and children. His behavior is much like a con-artist, and it escalates over time. It is extremely rare for abusers to choose to be loving, cherishing husbands, especially if they have wives who cater to their every whim, and a church that refuses to hold husbands accountable. Because abusers are usually narcissists, their love is aimed at themselves, and they have no concern about the destruction they do to their wives, except in areas where they are aware it may come back to bite them. As the husbands experience life with super-submissive wives, their nasty behavior is being rewarded repeatedly. They are reaping good even though they sowed evil, so they keep on sowing because the benefits are so great. As a result of the wife’s super-submission and the church’s endorsement of the doctrine of male authority in everything, the husband’s belief in his rights to privilege and supremacy become even more ingrained and nearly impossible to eradicate.

In many places the Bible tells us to be wise and discerning. I Peter 3:2 is a passage that requires one to apply discernment. In the time of Peter’s writing slaves did not have the option to leave their masters, therefore, Peter was recommending a thought pattern that would help them live godly lives and also help them handle the abuse they were suffering. New research suggests Jewish wives may have had the option of pushing for divorce, IF they could prove their husband had been guilty of neglect, adultery, or desertion. One of the messages I heard on the subject said a Jewish wife would go to the priests with her complaint, the priests would call in her husband and beat him until he voluntarily gave her a writing of divorcement. However, the first epistle of Peter was written to the new Christian strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, etc. These were not under Jewish law. Even if the law allowed women to divorce their abusive husbands, if a woman did not have the means to care for herself, that would not have been an option.

Therefore, the I Peter directions that advise a wife to stick it out in an abusive situation should be read as advice appropriate for Peter's day when there were few "outs," and discernment should be used for the current day. As a friend pointed out to me, I Peter 3 is not a guarantee that the holy behavior of the wife will win her husband over. It is merely pointing out that it is a possibility. It is also a possibility that the husband will harden his heart and that he will NOT be won over. Each woman must appeal to God and to godly counsel, preferably to those who are very knowledgeable in how abusers behave and think, and from all the information at her disposal make the most discerning choice for herself and her children.

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, July 4, 2009

Itching Ears, part 10 (Children and Wives be Subject)

From childhood, some verses in the Bible really bothered me. Today I realize it is because of how they were interpreted by those in power, and that it is more of the Itching Ears teaching that leads to domestic abuse. I Tim 3:4 & 5 bother me. "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" Rereading these verses, I realize it is because of what the combination of "rule" and "gravity" mean to me--or shall I say it is the impression I got growing up of the weight that those words combined carry, giving all power to dads, and usually that power is extremely painful to children and to wives. Note that the itching ears crowd usually considers the wife as a part of the house the husband is to rule.

Daily injustice and neglect are a normal part of their lives. The combination in my mind is "absolute domination" that is obtained with a glare and without regard for the needs, wants, abilities of the children or of the wife. It is an absolute domination that is focused on what the dad/husband desires, at the expense and neglect of the wife and children. I know this has to be false, because that kind of rulership would "provoke children to wrath," and is bitter instead of loving toward the wife, both of which are prohibitted in Col 3 and other places.

I stop to look up "grave" in the dictionary. "Solumn, serious, important, momentous, critical or threatening." To me when a dad/husband is a grave ruler, he is the absolute authority who is looking at the child and wife with a solumn, critical and threatening attitude. It doesn't matter to him that the child’s or wife’s actions were a result of dad's neglect, devaluing, demeaning, over-reactionary demands etc. The child and wife must behave better than his/her own husband or father, or pay the consequences from that same critical, cruel, selfish, unjust, and inadequate man

So I decided to look up "gravity. #4587 Why am I not surprised? Again and again, these scriptures end up meaning the opposite of what I was taught. "From 4586; venerableness, ie. probity:--gravity, honesty" The dictionary meaning of "probity" is from the Latin, meaning worthy, honest, good. "Demonstrated virtue or integrity; strict honesty; rectitude; uprightness."
Rectitude: besides that already mentioned, includes "rightness of principle or practice; correct judgment." All of these limit the rulership of the husband/father. Here again, the itching ears crowd saw the word "rule" and "ruleth" and ran with it, as a horse grabs the bit in its teeth and runs without regard to the direction of its driver/rider. These verses do not give unbridled authority to men. Instead, the men must have strict honesty and integrity so that they can make right, yet compassionate decisions. They themselves must be upright and have control of themselves. There is no way self-centered, power-hungry men can meet these criteria.

In the same way, Ephesians 6:1, “Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” is interpreted as “Children obey your parents no matter what, for this is right.” As such, it is false doctrine, pushed by the itching ears crowd. A similar verse, Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord,” would suggest that a child IS to obey in everything. Yet the phrase “for this is well pleasing unto the Lord,” suggests there are limits, since to obey parents but disobey God’s teaching in other areas would not please God. Oh, they do teach that if the parent requires the child to steal or to kill, a child should not do that. (After all, no Christian parent would require THOSE things. Therefore, children and wives are to obey in everything. Don’t they realize if a parent/husband required those things, it would not be safe for the child or wife to refuse?) But what if the parent/husband requires the child or wife to lie, or to lie by believing he or she is worthless, to believe she is not worthy of kindness and encouragement, to believe she or he will never measure up, that their family is more righteous/godly than other Christians based on superficial or legalistic criteria? What if the parent/husband requires the child or wife to believe she is only worthy of abuse and neglect? What if the parent/husband requires children or wife to believe they do not count? What if the parent/husband requires the child or wife to believe men have the right to dominate women and children in whatever way best serves the men’s desires?

These things have been taught for years. Because of submission requirements, moms often join in with the teaching, trying to do everything they know to circumvent or at least delay the alpha male’s next temper tantrum, lecture, or ridiculous punishment. But pastors never mention these things, or how a wife or child is supposed to handle them. Instead, wives and children are taught to obey and honor their husbands/dads in everything, so it will be well with them and they’ll have a long life. But what part of growing up with the trauma of abuse will make things well for them? Perhaps that they are not killed by their parent, so that they can live to find healing. But the stress could easily shorten their lives.

When is the church going to start addressing how women and children are to handle abuse? At what point are they to NOT obey their dictator? How can wives and children be given the help and resources to counteract messages from hateful, legalistic rulers? Yet, how can these things be taught without also teaching children to disobey legitimate and Christ-like parenting, like "Donald, please set the table?"

I welcome discussion on this—but not of the itching ears variety.

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, July 3, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 9 (Not Greedy of Filthy Lucre)

God has showed me another scripture that puts our churches to shame, especially when we consider the statistic that says faith leaders, clergy is the top profession for perpetrating domestic violence on their spouses. When we put that together with the teaching of II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” We have to find that it is not only the pastors who are responsible; it is those who choose and who hire the pastors who are responsible for the resulting domestic abuse, scripture abuse, husbandolatry,and submission abuse as well.

I Timothy 3:3-4 at first glance seems to have little to do with domestic abuse. “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” I started researching this verse out of curiosity, not expecting it to return to domestic abuse. I wondered what “covetous” meant, and the Strong’s Concordance, #866, said it meant “not greedy of filthy lucre. That meant the verse would read “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not greedy of filthy lucre.”

I have never before seen Paul’s writing to be redundant like that, so this caught my interest. Something was not right. The Amplified says "Not given to wine, not combative, but gentle and considerate, not quarrelsome but forbearing and peaceable, and not a lover of money--insatiable for wealth and ready to obtain it by questionable means." But this reading just combines the two “not greedy of filthy lucre” phrases.

Nothing made sense until I researched the context as well. "No striker, but patient, not a brawler." Brawler is #269 a combination of "not" and #3163 , which is from 3164, "to war, ie (fig) to quarrel, dispute:--fight, strive. #3163 uses the word "controversy. Thus, not a brawler means "peaceable." Husbands who abuse their wives (and children)—even non-physically do not fit this criteria. This includes those who quarrel, strive, and even those who tell their wives they must submit because the husband is to be the authority, or the leader. This type of fighting is “brawling” and “striving for power over another” on the husband’s part. It is NOT patience and it is not peaceable.

Notice that today’s Christian culture calls this type of brawling the wife’s fault. Consider the statements of seminary teacher Bruce Ware when he said that it is the non-submission of the wife that causes the husband to resort to domestic violence. Thus, wives are blamed for the power-hungry brawling of their husbands.

Striker #4131, "A smiter, ie pugnacious (quarrelsome):--striker."
Wow! Chase where this word comes from and it is definitely picturing an abuser’s behaviors. Striker comes from #4141 "appar. another form of 4111 (through the idea of flattening out); to pound, ie (fig) to inflict with (calamity):--smite."

#4111 "a prim. verb; to mould, ie shape or fabricate:--form."

Notice that it does not say the moulding and shaping is physical. I suggest it could also be verbal, emotional, psychological, and misuse of scripture. "Fabricate" even suggests making something out of nothing, outright misrepresenting, like fabricating a lie. This could suggest making a spouse into a personality completely different from who she really is, like making an insecure, depressed, down-trodden woman out of a happy, self-confident, spunky woman.

#4141 also is a comp. of 5180 "a pim. verb (in a strength form); to "thump" ie cudgel or pummel (prop. with a stick or bastinado), but in any case by repeated blows; thus differing from 3817 and 3960, which denote a (usually single) blow with the hand or any instrument, or 4141 with the fist (or a hammer), or 4474 with the palm; as well as from 5177, an accidental collision; by impl. to punish; fig. to offend (the conscience):--beat, smite, strike, wound.

This latter is speaking of physical abuse, and can allude to verbal abuse as well, since that also wounds and can be experienced as repeated blows. However, it is specifically speaking of repeated hitting with the hand or other instrument, as one who is trying to mould or shape something or someone.

What I gather from the context is that a person who is hungry for (covets) power--like a perpetrator of domestic abuse or domestic violence--is not qualified to serve as bishop or deacon. Paul is telling them to rule out those who will lord it over the flock, by ruling out those who lord it over, or who covet lording it over, their families.

So we can conclude that the verse should read something like this in our current language:
Not an alcoholic, no physical abuser, not greedy of ill-gotten money; but patient, not a quarreler, not covetous of power over others.
Both verbal, emotional, and physical violence are prohibited in these verses, yet churches, which are largely controlled by men, encourage husband leadership or authority, do not make sure the husbands are not ruling their houses by means of abuse, and choose pastors whose wives choose to be second-class citizens so they cannot be accused of “wearing the pants.”

Again, why are men teaching one portion of the passage while they ignore the other? It is because they have itching ears and they want that absolute power over their own wives. In order to have it, they must make husband authority a rule for all men, especially for pastors who must be able to stand against the teaching of biblical feminists.

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