The problem of excommunication – a response to Desiring God

A couple of weeks ago someone forwarded to me a post from Desiring God that hit me like a punch in the stomach.

In an article called “Kicked Out of Church: How God Brought Me Home” (link), author Scarlett Clay begins her story right after her church had excommunicated her, showing the indignation of her friends at such an injustice, and her own appreciation of their indignation.

But that’s only the first paragraph, and the reason for the excommunication hasn’t yet been divulged. Continue reading

Mr. Charming and Miss Target (a guest post at A Cry for Justice)

This is one I submitted to ACFJ months ago. To my surprise it popped up this morning! 

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Mr. Charming and Miss Target are sitting together on the grass looking out at the starlit sky. Miss Target is a new Christian and Mr. Charming is an old hand at religion, so they’re not making out; instead they’re getting to know each other in a deep and intimate way through conversation.

They’re holding hands, and Miss Target sits with her head on Mr. Charming’s shoulder. Conversation lags a bit. Mr. Charming introduces a new topic, almost in a whisper.

“So, what are you afraid of?”

“Huh?” Miss Target raises her head. “Why do you want to know?”

“Well,” he replies, gently putting his arm around her, “we’re getting to know each other, you know, in a deep and intimate way through conversation. If you tell me what you’re afraid of, I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of.”

Read the rest at A Cry for Justice, here.

What if you married a Nazi (a guest post on Emotional Abuse Survivor)

Today I guest posted for Emotional Abuse Survivor (formerly Visionary Womanhood). Here is the first part of that post:


Back in the days when I taught math, I often helped my students with a complicated problem by presenting them with a more obvious problem that was similar. Solving the more obvious problem would usually give them the tools they needed to figure out the more complicated one.

This is the reason I recently re-watched the 1946 movie The Stranger, starring Loretta Young and Orson Welles. The problem and solution in this movie were just so . . . obvious.

Welles plays a Nazi in hiding in the U.S., one who has managed to disguise his identity so thoroughly that he now teaches in a boys’ academy and somehow arranges to exchange marriage vows with a sweet young thing.


Read the rest at Emotional Abuse Survivor, here.

 

 

“You just need to be content” — a response to Desiring God

Recently Desiring God published an article telling us that discontent is Satan’s trap against every woman (link). In the style of Screwtape Letters,  author Rebekah Wilson Merkle offers “advice” from one demon to another. Here is a sampling:

Keep them looking at their husband’s failings (“he just doesn’t seem to even care about my needs”) and not their own heart.

If it happens that you can’t keep them from the book [the Bible] completely . . . keep all their thoughts focused on how their husband isn’t living up to the instructions the book contains.

You want to encourage friendships that will feed and pet the discontent, rather than uproot it. Even prayer groups and mentorships are fabulous places for this to happen. . . .

I wrote a response explaining how telling readers to be “content” in every relationship—even when “he doesn’t seem to even care about my needs”—can serve to keep a woman and her children in a highly abusive situation. Implying that mentors and prayer group friends shouldn’t listen to a woman tell about a troubled marriage because she’s being “discontent” will do the same. (I also communicated with someone at Desiring God about it.) But then a survivor of abuse from a patriarchal family wrote a response of her own and sent it to me. Since I believe her response is superior to mine and she graciously gave permission to quote it, I’m publishing it now. Here it is.

When I lived at home with my parents, I used to write articles about contentment and joy. I saw that they were closely connected in the Scripture, and I desired to live out those characteristics of a Christian’s life. My father would often tell me that he was grateful for my contented, joyful spirit. He would proofread much of my writing and he agreed that I could say such things because they were true of my life.

The years passed, and I began questioning the negative patterns, sinful behaviors, wrong attitudes, and hurtful actions of my parents toward others.

Suddenly I was accused of being discontent. My questions were never answered; the responsibility to “have the right attitude” was put on my shoulders. I was told that if I continued to raise questions about serious issues in my family, I was being discontent and unsubmissive. The accusation of discontent was constant. So I began to study the sin of discontent in God’s Word with an open heart to determine if the charge against me was true.

My study led me to understand that true contentment means to be at rest, characterized by peace and deep-rooted joy with the purposes of God. It is a satisfaction that God knows the needs of His children.

To be content is to be controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit in each circumstance, trial, or hardship.

But contentment does not mean resignation to or agreement with evil practices. Contentment does not mean complacency or willful ignorance.

The conclusion I reached was that I was not discontent with God’s  provision in my life. I always had everything I needed, and I was not pining away wanting things I did not have. I did not complain about wanting more than what I was given. I was actually quite content and grateful to the Lord for His provision in my life.

My response to my parents was, “I have searched and studied the Scriptures, and I have asked God to show me my heart. I have asked Him to reveal truth.” I shared my heart with my parents: what I had discovered in God’s Word, my own satisfaction with what God had given to me, how I did not yearn after more things or complain about circumstances. I was transparent about my heart’s attitude.

However, after careful study of God’s Word, I did recognize that there was something I should be “discontent” about. Sin. No Christian should ever be satisfied, accepting, or tolerant of the habitual sinning of others, especially if those sins are harming people.

I shared with my parents that I was “discontent” with the sin in my family. Carefully and specifically, I  stated the areas of direct disobedience to the Word of God that was occurring in the family. It wasn’t about a frustration with petty offenses or annoyances (such as dirty socks on the floor). The sins that I confronted were pornography, slander, vitriolic anger, malicious speech, control and manipulation, hypocrisy, and idolatry.

Over the years, I’ve heard much teaching on the sin of discontent, and it often focuses mainly on letting go of petty grievances. But that falls into the category of forbearance, not contentment.

In recent years, I’ve also noticed that those who are being severely abused and who question that abuse are charged with learning to be more content. “Suck it up and trust God with your trial. You need to learn contentment.”

This is an unloving response to those who are in harm’s way, trapped, afraid, and desperate for life and freedom. 

Continue reading

Standing against evildoers—a poster

When our Lord Jesus went to the cross with His mouth closed like a lamb to the slaughter, it was for our salvation.

But have you considered that the reason that happened–in human terms—is because there had been plenty of times before that when He didn’t keep His mouth closed, when He called out evil among God’s people exactly for what it was?

This was why He was forced to go to the cross. He made enemies because He called out evil for what it was.

Our Lord Jesus was never complicit with evil propagated by the religious leaders, covering evil “so He wouldn’t give God a bad reputation.” He solidly stood against it.

God’s people will suffer at the hands of evildoers. But let it never be while we’re pretending that evil is good. 

 

 

 

 

 

A new website exposing a cult

A friend of mine, Sônia Acioli, is passionate to expose the cult she was involved in, so now we have this website, The Truth About the Evergreen Center (link). Please read it to see one possible permutation a cult can take, substituting grievous rules and regulations in place of the righteousness, sanctification, and redemption we have in Jesus Christ.

Continue reading

My letter to the man who said your marriage is designed to kill you

Hi Darrell~

Someone just alerted me to your “Your marriage is designed to kill you” (link) blog post, so I suppose at some point I’ll be replying to it on my own blog. I wanted to ask, before I do that, if you’d be willing to write a disclaimer for that post, regarding abusive situations.

To clarify, since some people actually have been killed in their marriages, and since several Christian women I know were very nearly killed or were threatened with death multiple times (by husbands who also claimed to be Christians), Continue reading

Dear Christian, find your life in Jesus Christ

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 4

Part 1 (link) introduces how detrimental this concept can be in the context of an abusive marriage, and gives my husband Tim a platform to speak. Part 2 (link) addresses Scriptures such as “I die daily,” “deny yourself,” and “take up your cross.” Part 3 (link) addresses the Scriptures that talk about “mortification” and spiritual “dying.”

 The Christian life is about finding “rest from works” in the spiritual realm

Jesus promised that those that came to Him would find rest for their weary souls. He accomplished the work in the spiritual realm, so that we wouldn’t have to. Our part is to trust Him in His finished work. But . . . 

In contrast, the “daily dying to self” teaching is a work (in opposition to faith) that Christians are told they’re supposed to accomplish in the spiritual realm, in order to further our life in Christ.

But it’s impossible. Have you observed that it’s impossible in your own experience? Have you felt Continue reading

Dear Christian, your marriage is not supposed to kill you

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 1
Your marriage is not supposed to kill you.

by Rebecca Davis

A couple of months ago blogger Darrell Harrison posted this blog article (link), which told us our marriages are supposed to kill us.  Continue reading

Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 that can keep the oppressed in a place of bondage

Not long ago I received a request from a reader to help her understand the first verse of Romans 2 as it might apply to praying for God’s judgment against one’s wicked abuser.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 

She told me that because of this Scripture in particular, someone she knew had refrained from naming her abuser’s actions as wicked, and had thus continued for a long time to be in a dangerous relationship.

So here is a modified version of my reply. Continue reading