Domestic Violence in the Church

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Marital abuse is a significant issue in Christian circles. Consider this quote from biblical counselors Julie Ganschow and Bill Schlacks and their new book, A Biblical Counselor’s Approach to Marital Abuse.

Reports and concerns about domestic violence have surged to the forefront in our communities and churches. Since the #metoo movement and the stories of hyper-headship have come to light, more victims than ever before are coming forward with stories of abuse in their own homes. Statistics reveal that “Every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.” My research indicates that the prevalence of domestic violence is the same in the church. At the time of this writing (Summer, 2018), 98% of the counseling taking place in our biblical counseling center is comprised of couples who cited “marital issues,” or “the need for marital counseling” on their paperwork. Astonishingly, 98% of that group of counselees are abusers or victims of abuse.

Julie Ganschow directs a biblical counseling center in KC, MO. The ministry is set-up to take people from all over the greater metro area and from a variety of evangelical churches. Her research is derived from that context.

I am a biblical counselor as well, but work primarily within the confines of my own church. To receive biblical counseling in my church a couple would have to agree to attend my church. My research into the area of domestic violence within the church is far too limited to claim a 98% abuse rate.

I am able to say that over the last few years I’ve had more than a few contacts from women within my church who are friends with women in other churches or no church at all seek counsel on how to help their friends in abusive situations. I’ve also had one recent case of a young woman who did come to our church for help with domestic violence but her husband refused to take it seriously-a common MO for an abuser. All this to say that even within my limited experience I can verify the problem certainly exists within the church.

I am grateful for Julie and Bill’s book that provides a roadmap for reunification in the Christ-centered path of the Gospel. Their four-phased approach includes recognition, repentance, and when possible reconciliation, and reunification of the couple.

Recognition is when both the abuser and his victim understand that what has taken place in their relationship is abuse.

Repentance is when the abuser admits and recognizes that he has sinned without blame-shifting, rationalization or justification. Most importantly, he has a change of heart about his sin. He no longer desires to demonstrate power, control, and anger in his life and begins to address the sin in his heart.

Reconciliation includes supervised interaction, supervised dating and couple’s counseling.

Reunification is how the couple is gradually reunited.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this process for a great deal of counseling takes place in each phase.

It should also be pointed out that abuse is on a continuum ranging from verbal fights and intimidation to domestic violence of the physical and sexual types. It should also be pointed out that men can also be the victims of domestic abuse although it is far more common that the man is the perpatrator.

I recommend A Biblical Counselor’s Approach to Martial Abuse. 

I also recommend, The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home by Chris Moles.

Link to Reigning Grace Counseling Center in KC, MO (Julie Ganschow, director)

Link to Chris Moles Peaceworks (ministry to men who are abusers)

Both books are well documented and feature a bibliography with other links. If you know someone especially in the church in an abuse situation take them to these resources and the other resources listed in the books.

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Revisiting the PCUSA Seven Years Later

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The Presbyterian Church USA has long been in a theological liberal slide. The church (PCUSA) should be distinguished from the Presbyterian Church in America the conservative wing of Presbyterianism that broke away from the PCUSA about 40 years ago.

It can be confusing when two denominations have similar names and so it was recently when the PCA was confused with the PCUSA-the denomination that has officially approved on same sex marriage. The PCA worked hard to set the record straight.

In 2011 the PCUSA ordained its first gay minister.

How To Tell the Difference Between the PCA and PCUSA

When the PCA ordained it’s first gay minister I wrote this paragraph on my other blog under the blog heading, Things That Irritate Me.

You people [PCUSA] have been annoying me for quite some time. I suspect Calvin is turning in his grave when he gets the bad wind of your bad theology if you can call it that. Why don’t you say point- blank “we don’t care what the Bible says or what it means or how it applies” and get it over with rather than just killing truth an inch at a time. Go ahead and ordain gays. Anyone who cares about what Scripture says, means and applies will leave your denomination. Those that don’t, oh well.

I received the below comment from a fellow named Javier.

In reply to:

Dont be a homophobic bigot

This is how I responded to Javier.

I approved of Javier’s comment because it was sort of respectful and I do not mind respectful disagreement. When I say sort of what I mean is name calling does not lend itself to respectful dialogue but at least his comment was not a multi-paragraph tirade of name calling.

Javier assumes that because I disagree with the Presbyterian Church USA’s stance on ordaining gays I must be homophobic and a bigot to boot. To be homophobic means to be fearful of gays. I deny this. I am not fearful of gays. I disagree with the gay agenda but that does not mean I am afraid of gays. I do fear the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 says it best:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Pro. 1:7 ESV

To fear the Lord means reverence and humility before The Maker and what He says about things. I cannot approve of what The Maker disapproves. The PCUSA has chosen to redefine what The Maker approves of and disapproves of. They are free to do this of course but it amounts to either an abandonment of Scripture or as I noted a massive redefinition and twisting of Scripture. Hence my irritation.

The second name I’ve been called is “bigot.” A bigot according to dictionary.com is “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics, or race.”

Dictionary.com adds that the word “bigot” is derogatory presumably because tolerance is the politically correct term for validating everything and anything and intolerance is the only great sin left to conquer. The term “bigot” combined with “homophobic” implies that not only am I fearful of gays but I also hate them since I am intolerant of their political agenda and/or lifestyle.

I deny that I hate gays and I maintain that it is possible to not hate someone who you disagree with. In fact, I am saddened that so much of our society now approves of what The Maker disapproves. In the long run this hurts gays not helps them. As to the word “tolerance.” I may tolerate a great many things. I tolerate high gas prices, whiny WI Public Ed, the gay lifestyle and the PCUSA’s freedom to do what ever the hec they want. What I won’t do is validate a great many things.

Validate means to substantiate; confirm, or give official sanction to. For example, I can tolerate the fact that many couples choose to live together without marriage but I cannot substantiate or confirm their choice from Scripture; therefore, I cannot give sanction to the practice. There is a big difference between tolerance and validation and I would argue that it is validation that is really at the heart of the gay political movement.

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All that to say is that my comments were more directed at the PCUSA than gays in general. Here we have a church group that used to know better than to approve of something that The Maker disapproves. Now they are validating what The Maker disapproves and ignoring what the Gospel teaches.

Church leaders are held to a higher standard if one is to believe Scripture (James 3:1) and unfortunately they appear to not believe the Scripture or understand the Gospel. 

So Javier, our disagreement is one of worldview and name-calling does nothing to foster understanding of world-views. I’ve given you a brief snap shot of where my worldview comes from and I would be curious as to what the basis of yours is?

Javier never responded nor did I expect him to. Name calling, shaming, stereo-typing, feigning outrage and screaming these days by the left make Javier’s single comment mild by comparison.

The PCA separated from the PCUSA about 40 years ago because they could no longer walk together. There are some things that require separation and redefining what the Bible teaches to conform to the prevailing culture is on of them. Fortunately, the PCUSA appears to be losing membership while the PCA is gaining.

Is it homophobia causing the exodus or is it people simply wanting to uphold the Scripture?

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits… (Mt 7:15–16, ESV)

Link to the PCUSA affirmation of LGBQT

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

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Winston Churchill, Great Britain’s wartime leader said this: “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

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The “Big Three” at Yalta, 1945. The War in Europe was nearly over. A sickly Roosevelt  would die in April of 45 had given Stalin pretty much what he wanted-a big slice of eastern Europe. Churchill was not so generous but by 1945 Britain was the junior partner in the Anglo-American Alliance. It kind of reminds me of an old saying, “if you dine with the devil you better have a long spoon.”

The context of Churchill’s statement was in regards to the Anglo (and later American) alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union. Great Britain was desperate in the war against Hitler in 1941 and needed an ally. Germany foolishly invaded Russia and an instant ally was born.

Britain and Churchill were not fans of Stalin or his communism.  Stalin killed and starved hundreds of thousands of his own people and was especially hated in the Ukraine. He had recently picked a fight with tiny Finland and most western countries including Britain favored the plucky Finns. Stalin and Hitler had recently been pals and had divided up Poland, a British ally.

So, no one actually likes Stalin but…

Churchill, always colorful and usually memorable as he could turn a phrase like few others commented on Britain’s unlikely alliance with Stalin. Churchill’s comment about making a favorable reference to the devil (Stalin) was connected with the truism “that an enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Such is war, such is politics, such are personal relationships if we are honest and such is the world stage that a government will make alliances with some rather unsavory characters including a “devil” like Joseph Stalin.

This is the kind of  dilemma the United States faces with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iran, as most everyone knows are the bad guys. Iran hates Israel, our only democratic friend in the entire Middle East. The Iranian mullahs support terrorism (in Palestine and elsewhere) and is rather brutal to its own people when they get out of line. Just try being trans-gendered in Iran and see what happens. Iran is also anxious to get nukes-a nightmare scenario that the US tries hard to prevent.

On the other hand try being trans-gendered in Saudi Arabia and see what happens. You get my drift.

Both countries are Moslem and both are radical by degree. Iran is Shite and Saudi Arabia is Sunni. They do not get along. Iran is mostly Persian and Saudi Arabia is Arab-antagonisms go back centuries both ethnically and religiously. Given half a chance they would gladly destroy one another a Moslem on Moslem jihad.

Problem: Saudi Arabia like Israel is an American Ally but they are an ally of a different sort.  Israel shares with us a democratic process and other values. Saudi Arabia does not.

Iran is supported by Putin’s Russia and the Chi-Coms. This makes Saudi Arabia and Iran big players in international politics and while some argue that Saudi Arabia is “not as bad” as Iran is can be a bit of hair splitting.

Case in Point: Many in the West were horrified when “moderate” Saudi-Arabia obviously assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi’s “sin” was being a critic of the rulers of Saudi-Arabia even though he was Saudi as well.

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If the shoe fits.

What few people know or knew is that Saudi Arabia like Iran is brutal. Mindy Belz of World Magazine details incident after incident, murder after murder (many of them Christians) in her excellent article titled Dealing in Realism.

Here is a revealing quote from the Belz article:

“The textbook language varies year-to-year, but adheres to core tenets [in state sponsored school curriculum]. It calls for violent punishment of non-Muslims and for putting homosexuals to death. All of Israel is ‘occupied Islamic territory’ the textbooks teach. And, ‘The Apes are the people of the Sabbath. the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.'”

And lets not forget how many of the young men (11 out of 19) were Saudi nationals when the Twin Towers came down taking thousands of lives.

With an ally like that who needs enemies?

Governments are usually pragmatic like Churchill’s WW2 Britiain and will do what works (at the time). Principle is sacrificed on the altar of expediency and what works. Since Saudi Arabia hates Iran almost as much it secretly hates the West we should not be surprised that the US response was relatively mild to the Khashoggi killing although the US did pressure it’s ally to finally own up. (Some minor official in Saudi Arabia will have to bite the bullet perhaps literally.)

So, what about the other Saudi crimes detailed in Belz’s article? Should they not trouble us? And what about the textbook issue? What are little Saudi children learning about Jews and Christians? Can not the same type of thing be found in Iranian textbooks? I’ll bet it can.

I don’t think the US is naive regarding Saudi Arabia. I think the official position is we are stuck with them and at least they have not gone nuclear (but could, and probably would like to). I’m so cynical these days that I can see one of our representatives saying something like, “can’t you be a bit more discreet when you murder a political opponent?”

What should the serious Christian think about such things? Should we go along with the notion that the enemy of our enemy is our friend or should the US sanction the Saudi’s in a similar fashion to Iran? That would be Mindy Belz’s view.

The question is should the US “punish” its ally Saudi Arabia for exhibiting the same kind of behavior that its enemy Iran is guilty of?

As always Christians should try to think through thorny questions biblically. Applying biblical principles to international politics is not an easy matter especially because neither party in the US is particularly motivated to do so. It appears to me that one party actually hates the Bible and the other is mildly disinterested but needs Christian votes. I know, aren’t I the cynical one?

I think there are a number of biblical passages that can say something about how a Christian can respond to a sticky situation like Iran and Saudi Arabia.  It’s found in Romans 13:1-7 where Paul talks about the role of civil government.

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:1–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

There is a lot going on in the passage and I don’t want to write a novel so I’ll just focus on verse 4.

for he [government] is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

What might we observe here?

First we see that government (the he) is God’s servant for good and if you do wrong be afraid, because that’s why the government gets a sword.

So government is God’s servant for good. Therefore, killing a political opponent is wrong and the Saudi Arabian government is not acting like God’s servant for good. The institution of government is good but people in the government or in positions of power are often evil and unjust and God is not for an unjust government.

There are a lot of places one can take all this but the basic principle seems obvious-government is God’s servant for good, not bad. Belz’s conclusion that the US should sanction Saudi Arabia certainly lines up with the Saudi pattern of injustice.

To sanction Saudi Arabia in some kind of serious way would require taking a principled stand and I’d be surprised if either political party has the fortitude to stand on principle. It might cost us something and at the end of the day the ends justify the means.

Khashoggi’s death ordered by Saudi Crown Prince

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Gosnell, the Movie

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I have something on my mind that I’d like to share my take on.

It’s the Gosnell movie.Gosnell_movie(1)_810_500_75_s_c1

I was curious how much money the movie earned so I asked Google the question and it sent me to an article on the Washington Times. Here’s the two opening paragraphs from the Times article.

It was a movie destined for failure — relying on crowfunding for its shoestring budget, garnering little to no attention among liberal media outlets and opening in only 673 theaters around the country.

Still, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” succeeded in its opening weekend at the box office, becoming the No. 12 film release last week. Its $1.16 million in ticket sales placed the film just behind “A Simple Favor” ($1.3 million) and just ahead of “Crazy Rich Asians” ($1 million), according to the Box Office Mojo website. The Washington Times

The first paragraph says it all. The producers could not find funding in Hollywood and had to crow fund the project. The liberal media gave the movie little attention and it only opened in 673 theaters. Star Wars: The Force Awakens by comparison opened in over 4000 theaters. Star Wars grossed over $250,000,000 million its first weekend while Gosnell movie made just over $1,200,000. Talk about David and Goliath; yet David was considered a success given the odds against it.

The question is why or better, why didn’t?

Why didn’t the movie receive hardly any attention and why was it so hard to fund despite having some pretty good actors lined up to play the parts?

The October 27th issue of World Magazine did an excellent job of detailing the “why’s” in its article titled, Shop Of Horrors by Megan Basham. I encourage the reader to follow the link to this excellent article and publication.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that the movie is about the trial of a serial killer.

Why is Gosnell a serial killer? The fact is Gosnell snipped the spines of living infants who were delivered live during an abortion. A mother also died along with scores of live babies. The primary issue was murder as opposed to the gross malpractice which was much in evidence. .

Actor/Director Nick Searcy (from the TV series Justified) went out of his way as the director and as the actor defending Gosnell to argue that race and religion played a role in Gosnell’s arrest. In other words, the producers went out their way to make the movie about the trial rather than be overtly pro-life and having to work through laws that sometimes allow abortion and sometimes prevent it-like when a baby somehow survives the process.

Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the movie came when it was admitted that Gosnell was sloppy in his procedures but no more inhumane of what took place in other clinics. Obviously, there are many other shops of horror. Perhaps the biggest horror story of all is the fact we are a nation that does not consider life in the womb to be life despite the rather obvious fact that it is.

That of course is what the liberals and their sympathetic media allies feared and continue to fear-truth.  Abortion takes a life; it’s simply of question of when during the pregnancy.

The story was told fairly according to the Washington Times and World Magazine something the liberal media will never do because abortion is their sacred sacrament and never may the actual truth be told.

Just consider how fast the Planned Parenthood scandal disappeared when it became known they were selling baby body parts.

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Here’s my take…Conservatives who are pro-life will never get a fair shake by the left-wing media or their cheerleaders in Hollywood. We’ve come to the point where we are surprised when we can find a fair shake in publications like the Washington Times and World Magazine and in my opinion on Fox News.

So what can we do? For starters, we can support outlets that are fair and ignore the ones that are not. You know who they are.

Second, we can pay attention when someone like the producers of Gosnell make a movie that is fair and speaks truth.

Sadly, I missed the movie. It didn’t even show in my area and where it did show it was at a time that we could not make the trip.

My plan is to rectify that as soon as possible. The movie will be out on DVD so that’s one way to support truth. It will also be available through outlets like Netflix or Amazon Prime where it can be purchased for streaming or just to rent. Ether way you support those trying hard to get the message out despite the odds stacked against them.

This article appeared shortly after my initial post and is helpful since it comes from one of the producers of the movie. The Media Censorship of Our Gosnell Movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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