Waneta Dawn

Waneta Dawn, author of Behind the Hedge, A novel

Domestic violence is alive and well in Christian homes today, and pastors have felt helpless to know how to stop it. Traditional biblical teaching offers no “outs” for the abused women and no effective way to hold the abuser accountable–in short, no way to make him stop abusing or alternatively to free his wife and children from the prison of misery he has devised for them .. Abused women have felt re-abused as their pastors and churches offer no help, but tell them to go home and submit–especially when very little of the abuse is done because of lack of submission, and when the wife’s submission and servility result in her husband escalating the abuse because of his increased sense of entitlement.

With three years of research, Barbara Roberts has put together a compelling, discussion-starting, biblically-sound study of the meanings of scriptures that deal with marital matters, including Jesus’ statements about divorce and marriage, and Old Testament laws and practices around marriage, divorce and remarriage. There is indeed biblical support for holding the abuser, the adulterer, and the deserter accountable through church discipline, including disciplinary divorce. She points out that when Jesus spoke against divorce, he was talking of treacherous or frivolous divorce, not against divorce that had legitimate cause because the spouse had broken the marriage contract, (which was similar to our current “love and cherish”) and refused to repent and permanently turn from that sinful behavior. If churches everywhere implemented these principles, domestic abuse, adultery and desertion in Christian families would likely experience an abrupt decline. Freeing wives and children from the abuser’s tyranny would allow them to spend their energies in developing their talents and helping others instead of in just surviving.

I highly recommend “Not Under Bondage,” and believe when the church implements these principles, Christianity’s good name will be restored, and our signature characteristic of being known as Jesus’ disciples because of our love for each other will become more apparent, especially to women and children who have been traumatized by the men in their lives.