Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CBMW uses Power and Control Tools of Abusers

In September, 2009, a guy named Nick showed up on Hannah's blog and defended John Piper, saying “He is incredibly faithful to the Word of God. He does not stray from it.” and “His reputation and love for God and his church does not need defending.” (comment #3)

How much does Piper love his church if he refuses to defend wives who are abused? Aren't the wives a part of his church, too? Or are they secondary citizens with fewer privileges than males have?

How can he be “incredibly faithful to the Word of God,” yet give husbands the license to sin against their wives? Being a pastor, surely he has heard the details about domestic abuse more than once or twice. His answer on youtube shows that he does know there are different degrees of abuse, and also shows that he is making light of the abuse.

The answer John Piper gives is the same type of behavior abusers use. It is one of their tactics of power and control. It is called Minimizing, denying, and blaming.

First, Piper minimized (made light of, spoke of them as being insignificant) emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse by calling them “verbal unkindness.” Then he denies the seriousness of the situation by telling wives to endure it "for a season." With his focus on wife submission, and his emphasis on allowing a wife to refuse to submit ONLY if her husband is CLEARLY asking her to sin, he is blaming wives by holding them responsible for their husbands' sin against them, except in cases that are so extreme even Piper, or another pastor with male authority bias, would agree they are sin.

The rest of the CBMW do the same. Bruce Ware, for example, blamed wives for getting beaten. As far as I can tell, none of the CBMW members has much sympathy for abused wives.

If this group is using one of the trademarks of power and control, could they also be using others?

They definitely use Male Privilege. They teach that it is the husband's role to make the decisions. After all, he is the authority, they say. They encourage husbands to dictate how things shall be, and call it leadership. While Piper's writing denies this, his actions in dealing with domestic abuse show his real beliefs and what he would permit himself to do.

What about husbands isolating their wives, telling them who they can see or talk to and when, telling them when they are allowed to go anywhere? Does the CBMW do that? This is unknown. However, it is clear from their teaching that they do believe a husband has the authority to command his wife what she shall and shall not do. Therefore, it is likely the males of the CBMW use this power and control tool as well.

Do they use verbal and emotional abuse? Piper clearly permits the husbands in his congregation to use “verbal unkindness” against their wives. That means husbands can call their wives names, put them down, humiliate them, make them feel guilty, play mind games against them, and make them think they are crazy. If Piper permits other husbands to do these things and is not horrified by them, if Ware blames wives for being being beaten and isn't horrified by it, isn't it likely both are doing the same to their wives?

If verbal unkindness is ok, and if husbands have the privilege to have their way, and are the authority in their homes, then economic abuse must be ok, too. That means Piper and the husbands in his congregation can keep their wives from getting or keeping jobs, can limit their access to family money, can put their wives on an allowance and/or make them ask for money, or can use the lion's share of family finances for themselves, while degrading and scolding their wives for buying a $3.00 blouse from Goodwill.

If all these are ok to Piper, Ware and to the rest of the CBMW, isn't it likely that it is also ok with them if husbands, themselves included, intimidate, coerce and even threaten their wives? After all, as long as it isn't smacking, it is permissible.

Isn't it likely that they also practice sex abuse by controlling what happens in the bedroom, making sex all about whatever they want, and insisting on sex as part of “making up” after an argument to reestablish power and control? Has anyone heard them speak out against marital rape? Or do they deny that rape ever happens between husband and wife? If so, they give themselves permission to rape their wives.

If all these are ok, then using the children would be ok, too. They dictate what discipline shall be used, what rules and roles shall be required of the children. It is likely they say things like, “No, boys do not have to do the dishes; that's women's work.” and “You are a lousy mother.”

All of these are based on spiritual abuse, which claims that God says husbands are the authority, when actually Jesus taught his deciples to not be dictators like the Gentiles, and Paul told husband to love and sacrifice for their wives. The entire CBMW preaches and teaches this twisting of scriputre.

Indeed, one of the hallmarks of abusive husbands is to look charming and spiritual in public, and to be abusive at home. The comments I've read about Piper suggest he is seen as charming in public. Nick claims, “He is incredibly faithful to the Word of God. He does not stray from it.” and “His reputation and love for God and his church does not need defending.” I haven't heard whether the other members of the CBMW are also charming in public.

But the fact that Piper and Ware have publically shown their unconcern for the plight of abused wives, that they have blamed wives rather than held husbands accountable, that they have excused or minimized the husband's abusive actions, that they are not horrified by the abuse, makes it clear that they permit husbands to abuse. If they permit husbands to abuse, is there anything to keep them from using power and control against their own wives?

Indeed, with faith clergy being the profession with the highest incidents of domestic violence, it is likely that pastors who teach husband authority and who permit husbands to abuse their wives, would also boss, control and abuse their own wives.

Especially when it is already clear they are using several of the power and control tools against women.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Alternative Way to Stop Domestic Abuse

Just suppose Piper, Grudem, Patterson, Ware and the rest of the Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) are right and their way is actually the BEST way to stop domestic abuse? What if teaching husbands to take authority over their wives, and teaching wives to yield to that authority no matter what would actually stop abuse sooner than the world’s system of telling men they have no right to rule their wives/partners? The CBMW may be on to something.

Let’s follow it through. Husband commands and wife submits. Husband increases his commands and wife submits even more. Husband humiliates his wife and she bows her head in subjection to him. But in private, she cries out to God in sorrow and pain. As her husband’s demands keep increasing and the increases come closer and closer together, the wife reaches a point of desperation.

She goes to her pastor, who tells her if she would submit more, she would not be suffering such pain and anguish. He explains that it is her spirit of rebellion that is causing her distress.

She goes home and submits even more and suffers in silence for another year or two, during which time he begins to do physical abuses like pushing her, blocking her, and putting her in a headlock, but she does not realize these are physical abuse. She thinks domestic violence is limited to hitting and killing.

Gradually, she begins to realize that her husband is mistreating her and demanding more no matter what she does. She starts looking for books that describe her marriage, and before long finds that the books on domestic violence illustrate quite closely what is happening in her home. She begins reading all the information she can get her hands on and finds that her perception is correct. She is not at fault. Her submission does NOT motivate him to love her, but instead results in him demanding even more.

She secretly begins to prepare to leave her husband AND her church, and to take her children with her. But even while she does that, she still looks for a way to mend her marriage. She asks her husband to go with her to counseling. He refuses. Then she reads that going to counseling if your spouse is abusive is a very dangerous thing to do, and she is glad he refused.

She finds a friend who understands what she is experiencing, and/or finds support through the domestic violence hotline.

Her husband is getting more demanding; she knows she must leave soon, but she doesn’t have all her things in order yet. She has difficulty saving enough money and keeping it hidden. She and their children are continually reeling with the newest emotional and spiritual assault from her authority-crazed husband.

One day the attack is so bad, she knows she must leave that night. She sneaks out with the children while he is asleep, and goes to the women’s shelter. She finds a caring church that offers emotional support—and seems very liberal to her and her children.

But that does not stop the abuse. As soon as she finds a place of her own, her husband continues to abuse her in court and with every phone call and every exchange of the children. He keeps telling her that SHE is responsible for the breakup of their marriage, and that God will hold her accountable. When that doesn’t motivate her to return to him, he tries other tactics.

When the court tells him how much child support he must pay, he kills her and their children.

That stops the abuse.

And the CBMW got their successful marriage. The couple stayed married as long as they both lived. The husband as the authority got what he worked so hard for—a wife who backed away from him and finally left. And the wife did the ultimate submission—she left her home in submission to her husband’s driving her away, and then died in submission to him as well.

What a wonderful Christian testimony! What great symbolism of Christ and the church!

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