I clearly touched on some sensitive issues with my last post. In particular commenter #6 shared some thoughts that I found troubling. I debated whether I should respond, and have decided that I will. I am not doing this so much in response to her, but because I know there are other women out there in the same situation. If what I have to say helps even one of them, I will feel it was worthwhile. (To sound terribly cliche) So, if I sound a bit more strident in this post than a simple response to this commenter seems to warrant, know that it is because I am trying to sound a wake-up call to other women who are still struggling with this. I don't mean to be harsh.
I will be posting the entire comment here, with my thoughts interspersed. To begin:
No, this is not something that glorifies God. Where was the church in all this? Where is oversight and accountability from the body of Christ? And yes, I am aware that some pastors perpetrate these teachings on their congregations. It is interesting to note that in the verses from Matthew 18 (quoted above) the conclusion is that a man who will not hear the church should be considered a heathen, an unbeliever. And when Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, discusses marriage between a believer and an unbeliever, he says
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
Paul also appears to make allowance, in that same passage, for a wife to leave her husband. He says not to, but then explains that, if she does, she should remain unmarried. He does not seem to make allowance for a husband to leave his wife:
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
I am not a Bible scholar. I am not qualified to say when a woman is justified in leaving. I have never had occasion to search the Scriptures, myself, for the answer to that. But I do know that biblical patriarchy does not condone or endorse what this woman went through. Biblical headship is about a shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. A woman is called to submit to her husband, yes. But (as one of my favourite authors said) this is a sacrifice she offers, in faith, to God. No man has the right to stand between his wife and her God and demand that of her. If he understands his own role, he wouldn't even imagine doing such a thing.
Further thoughts, anyone? You can read the initial post here.