My mom knew that my dad was a pervert with a violent temper who never apologized for anything. She thought that if she submitted to him and was a good Christian wife, he would eventually become a good Christian man, repent of his sin, and love her. Her background included catholic, charismatic, and reformed doctrines, and there was a copy of Douglas Wilson’s book, Reforming Marriage, on her bookshelf.
Growing up, I knew over half a dozen abusive people. Most were the parents of friends I knew from church or our Christian homeschool support group. One abuser was our church pianist. Two were pedophiles who wound up in prison. Others were violent and ruled silent families with iron fists.
Yet these problems are not native to any one denomination or lifestyle. Even in good churches with solid teaching and wise pastors, abusers creep in with forked tongues, bending the truth in ways that camouflage their sin. They call beating their children “discipline,” and raping their wife “marital relations.” They change the meanings of words so that their actions sound – to the unsuspecting person – completely normal. Even worse, their victims adopt their language, and when they try to report their abuse, their pleas are rendered meaningless.
As we have seen in recent months, public and private schools are far from immune to infiltration by criminals, and numerous secular politicians and businessmen have fallen into scandal. Yet the Christian Church and Christian schools seem to attract a particularly deceptive genus of pervert. Some are mere hypocrites who take pride in their ability to con. Others are false teachers and heretics who lure naïve followers to advance their influence and power.
There are enough heresies and misinterpretations of Scripture to populate a thousand libraries with rebuttals. However, for this article, I will focus on two very specific lies that enabled my own abuse when I was a child, and that I have personally witnessed enable and even justify sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence in the Christian sector.
Lie 1: An abusive or unsaved husband can be saved if his wife is submissive, silent, and obedient (ripped and twisted from 1 Peter 3).
Lie 2: Women are saved by pregnancy, raising children, and by being uncomplaining housewives (ripped and twisted from 1 Tim 2).