Episode 45: Is Divorce the ONLY Thing that God Hates?

DESCRIPTION: Jack discusses Malachi 2:16, where some translations say that God hates divorce. He asks whether divorce is the only thing God hates, and whether there might not be some very serious issues that concern God at least as much as divorce does—and whether those other issues are being given the same weight in the churches as divorce is.

Let’s talk about divorce.

First of all, I need to point out that our culture tends to be pretty sloppy in our understandings of Bible doctrines. While the Bible has over 1,100 pages of information, we tend to draw on tiny segments of it when developing our beliefs, ignoring the full body of information and deferring to a one-liner passage here and there. And to be even more specific, it’s not the one-liner so much as our interpretation of that one-liner that’s the problem. That is to say, there are many Bible passages that could reasonably taken in more than one way. But when do we ever roll up our sleeves to consider all the reasonable interpretations of a verse before deciding that we know what the author or speaker meant to convey?

If we were considering all the reasonable interpretations of a passage of scripture, we would definitely want to know what, if anything, all the other passages of scripture have to say on the topic. We would play the long game, as they say, when it comes to building our understanding, rather than the short game. But unfortunately, we are probably better typified as a culture by short-game strategies. Give us a meme, or some hearsay, or some tradition, and we’re more likely to take that as the truth, rather than to go digging through the scriptures ourselves in search of a well-researched and well-reasoned view.

Because of this, we are terribly divided into our religious camps, with each one having its own favorite memes and traditions, and not researching the other possibilities to double-check ourselves. And this tends to be a way of life for us. And it often gets us into trouble.

About Divorce

Here’s a biblical one-liner about divorce that will quickly come to mind to anyone who happens to know the passage:

“For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel…

Malachi 2:16a New American Standard Bible

If we’re doing one-stop Bible shopping for an understanding of divorce, and this fragment of a Bible verse is the one place we stop, then we may be likely to draw conclusions about divorce such as the following:

  • Divorce is out of the question.
  • God hates it, period.
  • Divorce could never be the right thing to do.

But are these the right conclusions to draw?

And how could we even know whether they are or not?

If we’re like most people, if we find one of these conclusions fairly attractive, even if difficult to bear, we may have no motive to go searching out the question any further. Rather, we may settle on the conclusion staunchly, and view anyone who says differently as merely faithless, as an idiot, or even as a heretic.

But are there reasons to question such interpretations of this passage? Yes, there are reasons. But what’s at stake is whether we’re willing to test ourselves, and to slow down and take a better look. Let me give you two good examples of reasons (there are more) to question such an interpretation of this passage. You might think they’re great questions, or you might think they’re stupid—but you’d probably admit, if you’re being honest, that they are, at least, reasonable—that a reasonable person would naturally wonder about these things, and need resolution.

  1. Why is there such a huge variation in how the different Bible translations translate this passage? In other words, is it simply obvious that “‘…I hate divorce,’ says the Lord…” is the way Malachi wrote this in the Hebrew? Here are about 60 different English translations of this passage. And if you’re willing to slow down and play the long game, you can consider how this must be a difficult passage to translate from the Hebrew. And if it’s difficult to translate, then it underlines all the more the importance of seeking further information from the rest of the scriptures before we adopt a life-long conviction on the question.
  2. If “God hates divorce” and that’s all there is to it, then why did God divorce Israel? Consider the following passage:

I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.

Jeremiah 3:8a english standard version

If God hates divorce (and I’m not saying he doesn’t), then what would it take to get God to divorce Israel? Must it not have been that he hated something else more than he hated divorce? Could it be that her “adulteries” (used figuratively here of her unfaithfulness and her adherence to other gods) were more loathsome to God than is divorce?

Have you ever done anything you hated to do, because you hated something else more? I’ll bet you have! And it would seem that in this passage, we are observing a scenario in which God had to choose how to proceed with an imperfect situation. His relationship with Israel was getting nowhere. They weren’t responsive to him. They weren’t listening. The two weren’t growing closer, but farther apart. Israel was incorrigible, and refused to soften their hearts toward God. So he broke it off.

So What?

Is this me saying that God does not hate divorce? No! This is me saying that if “God hates divorce”, that’s not enough information for us to know how to proceed with toxic marriages. For surely, God hates some other things with a passion, too. And get this: lots of those things that God hates are things found in a typical toxic marriage! And further, I’ll bet that if you’re like most who have a staunch no-divorce conviction, you are probably more permissive with some of the following things that God hates. Consider these:

31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. 32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

DEUTERONOMY 12:31-32 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. 20 Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you. 21 Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the Lord your God, 22 and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the Lord your God hates.

DEUTERONOMY 16:19-22 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.

PSALM 11:5 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

PROVERBS 6:16-19 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.

PROVERBS 8:13 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

iSAIAH 61:8 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

ZECHARAIAH 8:16-17 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

Now, there are certainly more things than these that God hates, but I picked these examples because they are explicit statements of scripture, using the word “hate”. And it would be fascinating to see a list of every passage identifying things that God loathes, but this should do for now.

And to my point above, if you are adamantly against divorce, then are you equally adamant against injustice and lies and plotting evil, and all these other things that God hates? If not, then it’s time for a heart check!

Consider this:

The Sanctity of Marriage

Many churches take a strong no-divorce policy, citing “the sanctity of marriage”. And we might find it instructive to take a few minutes to dig into just what this phrase means.

The word sanctity comes from the Latin, sanctus, which is often translated to holy in English. In Greek, the word hagios is commonly used here. In biblical Hebrew, the common word is qāḏaš (kaw-dash). The idea with all of these words is that the holy thing is set apart, by nature of its special-ness. It is kept separate, treated specially, considered with honor, and protected as valuable. It is considered sacred—as opposed to profane or common or secular.

And we can certainly see some of the holy nature of marriage in a few Bible one-liners like these:

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

mark 10:6-9 english standard version

The idea here is that this was God’s idea—this institution of marriage—and that it deserves special treatment and protection to keep it of God, and ought not be ruined by humans. But look how many bajillions of people—even among believers—have hardly a thought in the world that, when getting married, they are entering into an institution for which God himself has expectations! Look how many of them see it only as a fulfillment of their own dreams and needs and wishes, and have little notion about whether or how well they themselves are ready for it, qualified for it, or trained for it.

And here’s another passage:

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Hebrews 13:4 english standard version

Apparently, this special relationship was so special that God himself would judge those who ruined it. And in this particular passage, the ruinous behavior mentioned involves immorality and adultery.

But are these the only ways to ruin a marriage? Hardly!

There are many things we could discuss about marriage, but it’s not the intent of this particular post to cover all that in depth. But let me point out just one part of this balanced breakfast that can ruin a marriage when it’s missing:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

ephesians 5:25 english standard version

The love here is not about feelings or romance, it’s about the godly example of Jesus being self-sacrificial toward the Christians. He sacrificed himself for them, and always treated them with complete honesty. He was both kind with them, and stern. He never asked them to believe anything that wasn’t true. He never manipulated them. And he never treated them as if they weren’t people in their own right.

Now, why do I bring this up? It’s because of a gross inequity I have seen in lots of churches, who have unloving husbands in their fellowship, and won’t do anything about it, while at the same time, they staunchly preach against the wives being unsubmissive. Consider this passage, which comes immediately before the passage we just read:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Ephesians 5:22-24 english standard version

Many churches will preach this passage very sternly, chiding the wives to stay in line. But do they also chide the husbands as heavily to be loving to their wives? That command, which we already read, comes immediately after this command here. But is it taken with as much gravity?

I’m sad to say that in a great many fellowships, it is not. And this is some seriously bad business. The wives are expected to suck it up and to deal with it when the husbands tell them what to do, or when the husbands treat them this way or that way, but the husbands are not expected to suck it up and deal with it when Jesus tells them to love their wives the way that he loves people. It’s a double standard. It’s a cheat. It is serious hypocrisy. And this is a very common failure across a great many churches.

If we believe in “the sanctity of marriage”, do we only believe in the part where the wives submit to husbands, but not in the part where the husbands submit to Jesus? If so, then I say what we’re really believing in is “the sanctity of the wives’ submission”.

How is it that submission is so utterly important for the wives, yet not for the husbands?

By the way, the word often found in scripture and translated as “submit” or “be subject to” is hypotasso in the Greek. It’s a compound word, with hypo meaning under, and tasso meaning something like “to put in order” or “to put in place”.

So, hypotasso as a compound word carries these ideas in the scriptures—and I’m getting this brief list from blueletterbible.com:

  • to arrange under, to subordinate
  • to subject, put in subjection
  • to subject one’s self, obey
  • to submit to one’s control
  • to yield to one’s admonition or advice
  • to obey, be subject

And notice his this is an active verb; it’s a thing one is supposed to do for oneself. That is, you put yourself under some authority, or you put yourself in a place and spirit of submission. They weren’t being told to be beaten into it, but to surrender themselves to it.

And so many churches (not all, mind you, but so many) are very keen on women becoming excellent at this sort of voluntary submission. Yet the men among them are not expected to become expert at it. They are not expected to put themselves under Jesus’ authority in all things, and to treat their wives and children as Jesus treated people. They are held to a lower standard than the women in this—and yet, they’re supposed to be in charge of the women?

So the churches work to ensure the husbands with as many of the blessings of marriage as they can, but they do practically nothing to ensure that the wives get the blessings of having godly and loving husbands.

It’s a classic example of the old saying:

Those who can, do.
Those who can’t, teach.

Popular observation, adapted from george bernard shaw

Except in this case, it would go something like this:

Those women who can be submissive should be wives.
Those men who can’t should be husbands.

And where does the Bible teach that all Christians are supposed to live a life of submissiveness? Well, I’m glad you asked. It talks about it in several places, and even in this very same chapter that we’ve been reading. Consider this—and especially the first and last parts, which I have put in boldface.

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

ephesians 5:15-21 english standard version

The idea here is that a Christian is supposed to be ever-concerned with walking in godly wisdom and doing what is God’s will, which includes submitting to one another. And why submit? Well, it tells us that it is “out of reverence for Christ”. That is, it’s out of fear of him. It’s out of a great respect for his authority as the Lord of us all. Men, women, and children alike.

But so very many churches have glossed over this part, and have given the men special latitude. Their idea of the sanctity of marriage involves the voluntary submission of the women to their husbands in every matter, while it does not involve the man voluntarily submitting himself to Christ in everything.

And that, my friends, is some twisted Christianity. And don’t be surprised if you should find this in your own church, because it’s very likely there to some degree, whether much or little. It’s a common pitfall for churches to give the leaders special latitude with their sins, and this isn’t really much different, to give the husbands special latitude in being unsubmissive to Christ.

You’ll certainly find in any group some women who have not embraced this submission fully themselves. Indeed, it’s not easy to submit. But it’s not impossible, either. Listen to how Jesus put it:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

First of all, let me give you the bad news that will surprise many in their unrealistic view of following Jesus: There is a yoke. It must be worn. One has to learn how to live this way. And there is a burden to be borne.

And the good news: Those who learn how to wear that yoke do find rest for their souls. And that burden is light.

So many humans, though, are not interested in submitting themselves to anything. And their souls are uneasy. They are not at rest in their souls. They live agitated and unpeaceful lives. And the way they live provides an aggravation to others. They throw off the burden of Christ and will not bear it. They are rebels.

And I submit that a great many churches to this very day are havens for rebellious men who will not submit to Christ, even as they demand that their wives and children submit flawlessly to them. The churches end up unwittingly enabling the men to go on in their ungodly ways—and at the expense of the wives and children who suffer under the “leadership” of such men.

This should not be! This is behavior completely unbecoming any child of God, whether male or female. They are immature and dysfunctional men, who can dish it out, but who can’t take it. How can they be the rightful masters to their own families, but they haven’t yet learned to be slaves to God and Jesus?

And I could go on for hours detailing this type of sin from the examples and expositions in the scriptures. But it should be obvious enough already, for we all know people like this. And even so, a great many of us have learned to blind ourselves to it for various reasons. If you are the abused wife, for example, you may not be thinking so much about the husband’s rebellious heart before God. Or similarly, if it’s your own heart that’s rebellious, whether you’re a man or a woman, you may prefer to be in denial about that, because after all, you do not want to put on that yoke.

And if you don’t put it on, and if you don’t learn how to wear it—how to submit to it as a way of life, then you’re never going to learn what Jesus meant when he said that the yoke is “easy”. And I should tell you what that means; it means that it fits well. An excellent yoke is customized to the size and shape of the animal that is wearing it. And such a yoke was considered to be “easy”.

And if you don’t put it on and learn how to wear it, you’re never going to learn that that “burden” is actually bearable—that it’s actually manageable, and that it’s not nearly as bad as it may seem to you at the beginning. And while I’m on this topic, let me pop in an old poem I wrote—probably in 1998 or so, about this kind of humility.

Humility
Fits me funny—
Like a suit
I would not have
Picked out for myself.

But I trust my tailor.

To put it shortly, I think an awful lot of men in an awful lot of churches do not trust their tailor. That is, they do not trust Jesus enough to wear that yoke long enough to learn that it does fit and that the burden is manageable.

We could talk about this forever. But again, it ought to be plenty obvious by now for those willing to acknowledge the truth of it. And if that’s you, you could stop right now and read the whole Bible with your highlighter, and you’d highlight a hundred places or more in the story where what was at issue is whether the people were going to submit themselves to God or not.

A Marriage Scenario

We looked before at how God divorced Israel because of their unsubmissive behaviors, which he hated more than he loved being “married” to them. (And yes, this was figurative language, for God was borrowing the language of marriage as a metaphor for the close relationship he had wanted to have with the people of Israel.) So let’s look at a brief scenario, filled with things God hates, and let’s reconsider the question of divorce.

SCENARIO: Billy is married to Lisa, and they have three kids. Billy is emotionally distant from them all. He lies regularly. He is emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive. He plays mind games to manipulate their behaviors. He considers them all to be his personal property, and he carries on his family business as if they all exist to suit his emotions in the moment, whatever those emotions may be. He frequently violates their trust, breaks their plans, and makes decrees that go against what he has established before. His behavior is regularly unjust and deceitful and hypocritical. Lisa and the kids live a tortured life as a result of Billy’s habitual behavior, and to make it worse, Billy goes to church with them, generally claiming to be a Christian, even though so very much of his behavior flatly denies God and Jesus and their precepts for living.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCENARIO

  1. Does God hate Billy’s behavior? Yes, if we assume that the scriptures above (written long ago) are all still true about God.
  2. Does God love Lisa and the three kids? Let’s assume “yes” here for the sake of this exercise.
  3. Does God like to see them abused like this? No.
  4. Could they be free from Billy’s constant tyranny if Lisa divorced him? Yes.
  5. Does God hate divorce? Well, that’s our question, right?
  6. If Lisa thinks God hates divorce, and that it’s simply not an option, then will they ever be free of his tyranny? No, unless he divorces her or dies.

It is interesting to think that God, who demands repentance from behaviors and habits such as Billy’s would want Lisa and the kids to have to endure those behaviors for decades! That view puts us in a curious spot, doesn’t it? After all, we could say that “life is hard” and “we all have our burdens to bear”. And from that, we could conclude that as much as it stinks, Lisa and the kids just need to bear with it until it’s over, no matter how long Billy lives, and no matter how bad it gets.

And that seems to be an extremely widespread way of looking at it. After all, if we take that view, we can so easily affirm ourselves by quoting the one-liner “‘…I hate divorce,’ says the Lord…”. And that’s that. And let the suffering continue. And let us never give it another thought.

But what if Lisa takes it further than the one-liner and the memes and the traditions of her church? What if she thinks the whole thing through thoroughly? What if she decouples from the mess of emotions, and tries to study out everything the scriptures say on the topic? Might she develop a different opinion about the divorce option?

If Lisa thinks that God may hate all that tyranny more than he hates divorce, then could she learn to see divorce as a reasonable, if unfortunate, solution to much of what ails her own life and that of the kids? That is, if she sees herself in a tight situation as God was when he divorced Israel, is she more apt to see divorce as a reasonable and defensible option?

Yes.

Does that mean divorce will be easy, and they’ll all get over it quickly and be able to move on with rainbows and butterflies and birds singing every day? Oh, no! It’s a terrible upheaval! And they’ll need lots and lots of talking to sort through all their feelings, and to set aright any other misinterpretations of reality under which they may be operating. But is this better than continuing to suffer under the tyranny?

I think so. This option, at least, is “going somewhere”. It is growing and learning and overcoming and moving on, rather than being stuck in a torturous situation—a situation that, if the truth be told, is not good for Billy either, because it is simply enabling his bad habits.

But Is This Even Permissible?

Well, that’s the real question, isn’t it? If God prohibits divorce, then the question is closed, and Lisa and the kids just need to suck it up and do their best for as long as the tyranny lasts.

And Lisa, being downtrodden already, may well find herself ready to surrender to this future, whether she’s already hardened and bitter (as so many become), or whether she’s doing a remarkable job of maintaining a faithful and hopeful outlook, and is still treating Billy with kindness and compassion. (Statistically speaking, she’s probably more likely to be bitter, but there are some exceptionally strong souls who will remain loving, even after years of such abuse.)

So There’s the Question!

So there’s the question. Is it permissible? Is divorce ever the right thing to do in God’s eyes?

Well, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and to study it out for yourself, rather than just adopting the short-game memes and hearsay and traditions that are so available throughout the churches, then I’d like to suggest two episodes of The Naked Bible Podcast, in which the host, Dr. Michael Heiser (an Old Testament / Hebrew expert) discusses the matter at length with his guest, Dr. David Instone-Brewer.

Now remember, you’re listening to these because you’re playing the long game, so don’t cheat and skip forward to the second episode (New Testament) without listening to the first one first! (NOTE: The section title pages in your Bible that say “New Testament” and “Old Testament” are not part of the scriptures; they are the insertion of human publishers who wanted the collection split into sections.)

Naked Bible 316: Divorce and Remarriage in the Old Testament
Naked Bible 318: Divorce and Remarriage in the New Testament

I have found these discussions, and David Instone-Brewer’s position, fairly compelling. And while I’m not trapped in a toxic marriage myself, I think that if I were, I could see divorce as a viable and honorable solution to it. And it’s even easier to see it as such when I consider the welfare of friends who are trapped in such marriages, for naturally, I have the privilege of taking a more objective view from a distance. But I must tell you: this is not the view I would have taken a few years ago, for I was heavily influenced by many years in a church tradition that would have prohibited it altogether, no questions asked.

So, this is a gut-wrenching topic for many! And what matters is not that somebody else tells you what to do—handing you yet another meme or one-liner to follow—but that you yourself can open your mind to the whole body of considerations about marriage and divorce that the scriptures have to offer. It’s your heart, after all. Your life. Your future. If you’re in it for the long game, then it’s probably best that you roll up your sleeves and do your own thinking through this expansive and difficult topic, rather than taking somebody else’s word for it. I think God wants us each to wrestle with such things ourselves!

So I highly recommend listening to the episodes linked above. The scholars will walk you through what they see in the scriptures. And you can consider their case for yourself, rather than just considering a one-liner conclusion. And even if you end up disagreeing, you’ll be much more enlightened than the one who simply goes on “what I’ve always heard”.

I think we have to ask ourselves this:

If the men are supposed to be the leaders, then are they not also supposed to be the leaders in the practice of submitting to God? If they are not doing that—if their wives and kids can’t learn about submission by watching the man’s excellent example in it—then something is terribly wrong in that family.

And when something goes wrong with this, then what are the churches supposed to do about it? Will they have some sort of intervention with a wife who is seen to be rebellious and unsubmissive? OK, fine. But do they do the same when a husband is unsubmissive to Jesus? When he is habitually ungodly and unloving? When he is deceitful and manipulative and abusive?

The way one faithful church-going woman put it about the non-violent abuse she suffered from her husband was this: “I wish he would hit me in the face, because then, maybe people would give a damn.”

And I hope you’ll let that line sink in for a time. I have. She was saying that the church doesn’t seem to care about all the abusive and dishonest behavior, but she thought they might care a little, at least, if the abuse were physical, such that they could see the bruises on her face.

And I submit to you that so many churches today are having a hard time caring about these things. And they don’t realize that they’re failing to live up to the mandates that Jesus gave (through his apostles and prophets) to his ekklesia in the First Century. Consider this one:

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

hebrews 12:12-17 english standard version

These early Christians were told, as a group, to “see to it” that certain things didn’t happen, and it started with people failing to obtain God’s grace. But many churches today have a hands-off policy toward their member’s bad behaviors. And to make matters worse, many of them believe that God is only kind, and not also stern, and that his grace is lavished on every human, as if some were not in serious sin and were under God’s wrath for it. But here we see, quite clearly it seems, that it was certainly possible for Christians to fail to obtain God’s grace. And it was possible with such people that they would be involved in “bitter roots” growing up and defiling many within the fellowship. And the message here seems to be—if I am interpreting it well—that people like this are foolishly giving away their spiritual “birthright”, and that if they don’t repent of this, when they meet God, no amount of begging is going to secure God’s grace for them.

Why, then, should the rebellious, yoke-rejecting husband, be slathered at church with all kinds of grace-talk that assures him that he’s going to be OK? And why should the women and children be sent back into this man’s torturous house each week, after a stern reminder to submission?

Was this really God’s plan for believers?

Did he really want there to be a 2-class system, in which the women and children are expected to learn godly submission, but the men aren’t? Indeed, if God loves the women and children, why would he want them subjected to such a thing?

I don’t think he does. I think that he provided a way out from that, but that so many churches are unwilling to do it the way God wants it done. I think that a godly fellowship is going to put intense pressure on an unsubmissive man to submit to Christ in all things, including in his marriage and in his parenting. I think they’re going to get in the middle of it—to get involved on behalf of God’s plan, and in defense of the abused wife and children. And I think that too many of them are so messed up in their thinking on these things, or messed up in their own submission to God’s teachings, that they’re simply more willing to let the unsubmissive men have their way, and to let the wives and children suffer under that tyranny.

And maybe these are words that are hard for you to hear. But maybe they are right. I think they are. But what really matters is what you think—and why you think it. That is, how well-reasoned and supported-by-fact your beliefs on this matter are. So I really hope you’ll go listen to the two Naked Bible episodes linked above, and give some deep, honest, rational, and responsible thought to how these things should be handled.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways….”

Haggai 1:7

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