Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode · 3 months ago

Thinking Biblically About Abuse, with Jim Newheiser

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Kevin is joined by Dr. James Newheiser, theDirector of the Christian Counseling Program and Associate Professor ofChristian Counseling and Pastoral Theology at RTS Charlotte. Attitudes towardabuse, both inside and outside the church, have changed dramatically withinrecent generations. How can pastors deal with this issue Biblically in theircongregations? 

Life and Books and Everything is sponsored by Crossway, publisher of What
God Has to Say About Our Bodies, by Sam Allberry. 

In What God Has to Say about Our Bodies, Sam Allberry explains that all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made and should regard our physicality as a gift. He offers biblical guidance for living, including understanding gender, sexuality, and identity; dealing with aging, illness, and death; and considering the physical future hope that we have in Christ. 

For 30% off this book and all other books and Bibles at Crossway, sign up for a free Crossway+ account at crossway.org/LBE.

Timestamps: 

What God Has to Say About Our Bodies [0:00 – 1:27] 

Dr. James R. Newheiser, Jr. [1:27 – 7:01] 

Talking About Abuse [7:01 – 12:31] 

Defining Abuse [12:31 – 16:00] 

Matthew 18 or Romans 13? [16:00 – 24:52] 

Maxims That Try to Help but Cause More Hurt [24:52 – 27:03] 

“Always believe the victim.” [27:03 – 32:14] 

“If you feel abused, then you were abused.” [32:14 – 36:36] 

“It’s never the victim’s fault.” [36:36 – 44:12] 

Marital Separation [44:12 – 48:13] 

Authority: Good and Bad [48:13 – 54:56] 

 

Books and Everything: 

What God Has to Say About Our Bodies, by Sam Allberry  

When Words Matter Most: Speaking Truth with Grace to Those You Love, by Cheryl Marshall and Caroline Newheiser  

I readings and salutations you are listening to life and books andeverything good to have you with us. I'm Kevin De Young and Colin and Justinare not here, but I have a special guest that I'll be talking to I'll,introduce him in just a moment so glad to have you listening with us again aswe roll on with this next season of life and books and everything, asalways, or at least as we have been for number of months. We are glad to besponsored by crossway grateful for their partnership and all of the goodbooks that they put out, and today just want to highlight the newest from SamAlbury. What God has to say about our bodies. We live in a time where peopleare thinking well, they're, probably actually not thinking, they're, justemoting and assuming, but they certainly have ideas about their bodies,and the Bible has a lot to say about our bodies, chiefly that when we'reChristians, we no longer our Lord of our bodies. Christ is, and that oughtto have an impact on everything, so Sam's new book, published by Cross Way.You can check it out all right. I am joined to day by myfriend and colleague, Jim Nehisi, who teaches counseling at reform.Theological Seminary in Charlotte was for many years before that a pastor inCalifornia, Jim Welcome to the program. Thank you. Kevin I've really enjoyedgetting to know you over. I guess you've been here five or six years inCharlotte. I've been here four years, but on the same faculty together and seeyou when, when your Baptist friends, let you out to come to a Presbyterianchurch on Sunday evening, some time you're there glad to have you as afriend and as a colleague tell us just a little bit more about yourself. As you mentioned my main job. This saysthe Director of the Christian counseling program, which is really abiblical counseling program before that we were in escalator. California, fortwenty six years is a pastor, and for that I was six years, a pastor of anunderground church in Saudi Arabia, and so recent events in Afghanistanactually have really moved me a lot because I've been among believers inthat part of the world for a part of my life and still you've in touch withsome of them. I didn't realize that about the church in Saudi Arabia. Was this on like an American base or wasactually in the country you were there, may maybe it was the we were theirnation. We were there for six years. It was underground English speaking ex patriots, thoughoccasionally we did have. We have people from other Islamic countriescoming and even occasionally local people would come in Western dress hm, but it was a few hundred people ofthirty different nationalities meeting and homes occasionally and embassies, and then I got kicked out of onethousand nine hundred and eighty seven, oh really yeah. I didn't know that partof the story and you're married. Yes, I've been married to caroline foralmost forty two years. Actually, since this is sponsored by Crossway, she hasa book coming out with a friend next month with crossway, okay andwords matter most so I'll probably go in really good treatment for the rest othe day, because I mentioned that yeah you should. He should go check that outas well and when you you made the move frombeing a pastor for decades. What was that like? What convinced you? What nowseveral years later? What do you really miss or not missabout the daily weekly grind of Pastoral Ministry? The bottom line for the decision wassal nighty with the SAMASATA teach us to number our days and establish theworks of our hands, and I concluded in the most difficult decision of my adultlife to leave the church. I love and quite frankly, San Diego M, to come toCharlotte, where it's humid and hot, but more so leaving friends and a greatsituation, but the idea of investing in the lives of men and women who would beserving the wider church. We determine that so we could be most useful andkind of a later stage of our lives and what would you say is and I'll getto our topic here in his a moment. But you said you lead the Center forBiblical counseling or Christian couple. Isthere a difference still between Biblical counseling, Christiann,counseling, regular counseling from a...

Christian right, so words are usually defined byusage, and so the term Christian counseling is a great term. In thesense, we want people to counsel Christianly, but a lot of people usethat term for what would be more integration is counseling people whowant to get state licensed and would tend to want to counsel a lot ofChristian conviction, but largely using the insights of psychology, which Iwould categorize is common. Grace Insights, whereas the biblicalcounseling movement is focused on the sufficiency of scripture to help peoplewith their spiritual problems without denying the appropriateness of medicinewhen needed, and even the common grace in sights of psychology can have valuein a certain place that we would probably give a much wider view ofwhere the Bible is the most important resource to help people with spiritualproblems. So your credentials as it were as acounsellor or being a Christian having the spirit, knowing the Bible being apastor for all those all these years and being educated with various degrees. And now you teach amultitude of courses. What are some of the courses that you teach at R ts? I teach an introduction to counsellingin marriage and family counseling, of course, called typical problems andcounseling, which deals with abuse and addiction decision making. We assign your bookfor that and I actually have the privilege of teaching a preaching horse.I really miss consecutive expository, preaching you'd asked earlier. That wasthe hardest thing, probably that I still missed the most is just theweekly grind of studying a new passage. I'd never really studied before andhaving the privilege of preaching it. So I'm looking forward to preachingsomewhere this Sunday night, actually yeah. That's right! Thank you for doingthat. Well, we want to talk about an issue that has become it's always been important, but it'scertainly been much more prominent in the church and that's way of a gym on life and books and everything to talkabout abuse and, as far as I know, Jim were that this is just a conversation.Lots of people are having there's nothing in particular, that's at thetiming of this recording that is prompting this particular conversation.So when people think there's some sub tweeting or sub podcasting something,but it is a continuing conversation and it is really important and I'll justput some of my cards on the table from the beginning and try to say this inthe way that is the people really believe what I'm saying and that is tosay two things. First of all abuse and well I'm going to ask Jim in a momentif he has a definition for us, but abuse is sinful. It is oftenegregiously heinously sinful and I think we haveseen over the past. I don't know how many decades that for too long inchurches, and not just in churches, that that can be part of the problem,to think that this is just a church problem, but it is a church problem aswell. Abuse has been a little spoken of was not talked about as much as itshould have, or people were not given the proper tools to handle it legally, medically criminally and, mostimportantly, spiritually. So there is certainly we want to say in the strongest termspossible that abuse is wrong and sinful cover up of abuse is wrong and sinful,and it's good that there is less tolerance for these sorts of things.Then perhaps there once was even perhaps well meaning people just notknowing what to do so. All of that is one thing worth saying and then there'sa second thing, which is, as it happens, with many cultural issues to use the cliche that the pendulum can over correct or perhaps over correct isat the right term, because we want to correct one hundred percent, but can maybe correct sometimes in waysthat lead to more questions or in an effort to help hurting people can endup hurting other people. So there is an important conversation to have aroundabuse and Christians are having it. People in our culture are having it,but I fear that often times it's it's verydifficult wherever you, however, you think about it to really talk aboutthese things and think through them,...

...theologically biblically in one of thethings that is important. Remember that it is genre- and this is maybe one ofmy points in gym- you can agree or disagree, but because these issues are traumaticgenuinely. So I think it certainly is in comment uponany of us who talk about them to talk about them wisely and sensitively. Atthe same time, it's important to understand, there's different genre ofcommunication. Sometimes I've I've written something on a blog, and I tryto be very sensitive talking about these or other issues, and somebody maysay something like well. Is that how you would counsel somebody sittingacross your desk as a pastor and I'll say? Well, no, because this person isnot if somebody's sitting there. My first response is going to be I'm sosorry, that's that's terrible and weep with those who weep and tell me moreand ask all sorts of questions so that doesn't give us a license to be rude orto be unthinking or uncaring towards people who have had very hardexperiences. But it does mean just to remind us. We are having a conversationJim and I a podcast to talk about this and think through it. Theologically andBiblically, we are not through the Inter webstrying to counsel people in that formal sense. At this moment, Jim Anything youwant to say about that before I ask you the first question: What is abuse? I agree with you that the situationyou're addressing is very important, and so, as an example, my wife wrote ablog about how to help an angry husband and people said well what, if your husbandis beating you and doing this and this- and this is well no, that was not whatthat blog was written for that was written for an entirely differentsituation. So I agree with exactly with you in terms of situational, like evenme. We discussed today we're speaking in broad terms, and the best thingwould be for people to have solid churches with godly pastors elders, whowould help them to walk through these very difficult situations, and, quitefrankly, one of my concerns is there are so many churches pastors who arenot equipped to do this? Well, be it on one end of the pendulum or theother, and so I think it's so important that we help educate church leaders todeal wisely with these situations into del Humbly with these situations. So what is abuse? Is there an agreedupon definition? How do you understand it? The language that's been helpful tome is a pattern of oppression or mistreatment of another person in alike an intimate relationship formally you're talking about spouseless,Orangemen, partner abuse, and so not I mean. Obviously one majorincident can qualify as abuse, because usually people are looking for somekind of ongoing pattern in a relationship, but even with a definition like that,it's really complicated because there are degrees of those behaviors andbecause we're all sinners. I can go through the definitions of all the kinds ofabuse that can take place and I think in most marriages to some degree we'veused money or the children or sex or we've said words that were wrong. So abuse tends to be a matter of degreeand repetition. Obviously, there can be some eventsthat are so severe. It jumps right into that category, but usually it'ssomething. That's an ongoing pattern of oppression and I hadn't thought of itbefore, but it makes sense so you put in there it's usually a personal,intimate relationship, so somebody sees you in central parkand doesn't know you and just punches you and steals your wallet and runsaway. We would call that some other kind of sin and a traumatic experienceperhaps, but we don't normally label that abuse right yeah. It's often withpeople, we know or people who have won our confidence and have thispattern of oppression. I wonder Jim. It seems to me that the word itself, ityou said earlier words take on their usage and their meaning, and it's aperfectly fine. English word to use, and so on the one hand we certainly should use the word. It'shelpful to use the word. I think in most people mind mind. It signals akind of sin or a kind of infraction that is out of the ordinary. We never want toexcuse ordinary sins as being not sinful, but the Westminster Confessiondoes say that some sins are more grievous than others are more egregiousfor all sorts of o reasons. So I think...

...that the word is is useful and that itsignals to people. This is this is above and beyond the normal sort ofwear and tear that happens in a human relationship with sinners right. One ofthe most important lessons I've learned and something I need to confessrepeatedly is in forty years of ministry. I've learned so much aboutthis, and I was really wrong about many things in the past, but I thinkdistinguishing and counseling between ordinary Maril conflict and a patternof abuse is very, very important, and the wisdom now would be if there isreally a pattern of abuse. You treat that differently, often counseling thecouple separately, as opposed to ordinary meral conflict, where you workwith them together and in likewise. I think all of us anpass for ministry if we've been in it for any length of time, have had tolearn on this and grow in this issue. So it's humble of you to say that Ithink take child abuse of some kind. I think there was a time when pastors and I'm you know I amreticent to throw stones at them. I think they were doing what theirinstincts told them to do and what they thought was probably best. Somebodycomes in they hear of child sexual abuse and they begin thinking a long,familiar tracks of counseling and reconciliation, and so they might saywe'd like you to well Matthew Eighteen and you should confront this person andthen, if this person says I'm sorry, then you should forgive them and weshould restore relationship, and I wouldn't necessarily put those in thecategory of that. The pastor was sinning and counseling in that way, butI think we can look now and says at best, very unwise, unhelpful, probably made a hard situation evenworse ended up feeling like someone was maybe siding with the abuser ratherthan the victim. How do you think through things, and are we right attimes to say well, this is in a little different category that we need tohandle that doesn't just plop down into a matthew, eighteen matrix yeah, I meanthirty years ago. I fear child protective services, thinking they weregoing to take away the children from the people who bank or something andI've come to a different position. Now, first of all, when I've dealt with them,they've been usually reasonable. Helpful they've got huge problems todeal with and they're, not really interested in spanking you're, notinjuring people, but I think that it's really important to recognize that theabuse of a child, especially the sexual abuse of the Child, is a crime andyou're now in Romans. Thirteen and not merely matthew eighteen and it's thejob of the government to investigate when there's preponderance of evidence.There may have been a crime and to punish- and it's also beenpointed out, especially if there's been sexual abuse- that if you go first tothe perpetrator, that may give him time to cover his tracks and the government wants to get in andbe the first investigator. So it's not our job is the church to do aninvestigation of a credible allegation of sexual abuse. We need to let thegovernment do its job and the church can, alongside of that deal withdiscipline, but it's a both and not an ether or yeah. That's really good, and I think you know I've had to learn and just check my own heart, asthese things are bound to happen at some point. In almost every pastor'sministry, whether it happened under your watch or someone else's, there'sgoing to be something, and I do think there is a real need. Jerk reaction inour hearts to to think about our own dangers first and how I need to know rightfully than I want to protectthe church and what's going to happen, is, is going to be a PR disaster andwill maybe get to some of that, because there are legitimate ways in whichchurches are castigated and then there are unfairways in which churches have been castigated. But I think it is fair tosay that as pastors, we need to think first of all about all right. How has this person been hurt and how canwe extend care as a church and there may be allegation, some of which we,you know a particular church, may say some of that's true. Some of it's notor is shaded in a different way, and there may come a time to try to help,explain that and yet, if our first reaction is our own protection, that's probably notthe best pastoral instinct right. Just because we've made such horriblemistakes collectively as the Evangelical Church, where abusers havebeen allowed to continue to function, especially with children for a longperiod of time, and many people have...

...been hurt, and so I think that's wherewe have to not just I. Actually it does work in terms of self protection,because if you don't report really bad things may come upon your head. Butjust from the same point of righteousness and to me it's protectingnot just the present victim the potential future victims, because thosewho have used children sexually especially tend to good many many timesbefore they're caught, and so we must report for the sake ofnot just the children who are presently being armed, but also for the sake ofchildren who may be harmed. Then I have cases where people come to me and saywell, this happened years ago and now I'm an adult, but if this person stillhas children around him, usually to him and then the government needs toinvestigate the allegations of what happened in the past for the sake ofthose in the present. Even if the person you've with whom you've spokenmay be out of reach of the perpetrator, I think I can share the general detailsof this story since it was twenty years ago, but it was early in Pastrami Istryand that's when this stuff was even a lot has changed even in my twenty years,and there was a man at the church, probably in his late, is by then, andhe came forward with his parents that he had been abused by a relative. In I mean a flood of tears and emotionsand absolutely believable and true whatthis man was saying, and so the authorities got involved, and this isin a small town, where everybody knows everybody and knows who's related toeverybody and eventually went went to court and he is giving in. You know graphic detail asyou need to sometimes with the medical terms and what happened and where this,this male relative, abused him and touched him, and I went with the otherpastor to meet with him before he was going to the courthouse and his familyand pray for him and say what he was doing. Was the right thing to bringthis out into the open and I I hope it would be different now,but I'm not sure it. It was very divisive in the community and in thechurch, because a whole lot of people felt like. Why are you bringing this up? Thishappened. You know a few years ago and you're now thisthis man. He said that he was sorry and now you're airing your dirty laundryfor everyone to see an art, and you hear shouldn't we as Christians,forgive and forget- and I remember that next Sunday at Church there were- Imean it meant a lot to the family- that some people would stand by them. But itwas heartbreaking to see that many Christians looked askance at them andwere more upset with them for having brought this to light and involving theauthorities who were prosecuting a case, then they were with the abuser who haddone these things yeah. I think one of the great mistakes that many of made,including the church and even more so families, is there more concerned aboutdestroying the life of the abuser than protecting the present and futurevictims, and I've had to warn people. I said ifyou bring this out into the open you're not going to become more popular inyour family, they want often family just want to make it quiet, make it goaway, don't bring shame and scandal same thing in the churches, wheresometimes even the family of a victim will say, we don't want our child to gothrough this investigation or whatever we just can keep our child safe fromthe bad person. The difficulty biblically would be. I still have anobligation first to obey the law. That also, even more importantly, is toprotect other victims and some one who is so heinously hard of heart that hewould sexually harm a child. For his own pleasure is a danger. He is a pariah. He we need to protect others from him, andit's likely he will continue to do this until he is caught and incarcerated andthey find churches to be soft targets and family members to be soft targets,and so I've I mean I'm one. I'm really glad you did that because I think manyvictims also would say when they finally did speak out the family andeven church kind of supported. The perpetrator like yeah, you should havebeen quiet, because this versen's life is, is your fall of his life is goingto be ruined rather than the fact that he committed this horrible crime.That's going to be a big issue for the person or people who are victims forthe rest of their lives. So, given the fact that the these dynamics of the human heart andthe way in which the Church has had a lot to learrn and is honestly manychurches have made mistakes, and...

I'm I'm sure if I I'm sure I've mademistakes and I'm sure if I were a pastor in t e t e s and S, I would havelikely done the same things that all my colleagues were doing well, meaning.But we can look back and see where many of those best practices were notreally best. So, given that reality and given how many victims have found people whenthey turned to didn't, believe them or didn't support them or thought theywere the problem, we understand the great weight and even the sense of needing to be your own, advocate andneeding advocates to see this through at the same time and just pivoting alittle bit because of the mistakes and sins and because ofthe energy and passion and experience behind all this. I think- and I thinkwe share this together- that there can be dangers on the other side or atleast not thinking, perhaps as clearly as we ought to on some of these matters, and we end uphurting other people in an effort to help people who are hurting. We end uphurting other people and you've written some really good blog posts oversomewhere recently, but some go back to two thousand and seventeen on the abusependulum, and I really like what you did there Jim is you walk through anumber of sentences slogans? You might say things that we hear and you talkedabout the valid concern, the harm that can be caused and then sort of resolved. What's maybea better way to put this and I'd like to just walk through a few of those,because I think they're, really practical, really helpful and they'llmeet pastors. We have pastors listening, but we have lots of non pastors. Ithink they'll help all of us as Christians. So one of them is, you hear,always believe the victim. What's the valid concern there right, I'd like to just take a slightstep back in terms of when the pendulum, in my opinion, was in the otherdirection for where I think it may be going now, is that I go back thirtyyears and we were so concerned about protecting marriage from those whowould divorce or separating you light Li and looking back. I've actually hadto go back to women from twenty thirty years ago, and so I realized now that Ishould have done a better job of protecting you from a horriblesituation and should have allowed you the freedomto be safe and encourage you to be safe better than I did at the time. So Iwant to acknowledge, as you already have, that I think in general evenevades have been so concerned to protect marriage which, but God hasjoined, let no man separate, but we also have a duty to protect those whoare oppressed. But, as you said, there can be a reaction. I think part of thereaction, too, is we've adopted secular methodologies and definitions of thesethings and lost sight of a scriptural perspective and, like you've mentioned,always believe the victim. A better way to put a view, always take anallegation of abuse seriously. If there's any question, the allegedvictim should be made safe and if that means putting them giving to a safe place tolive by all means, but both men and women oppressors even in theoppressed, can be sinners and I've run into cases and multiple occasions wherepeople have realized the power of labeling somebody with a scarlet a ofabuse and by making such an allegation. That's a way to cause harm to someonewith whom you're angry, and I don't now the way of time that I can tell youreal cases where people have used false accusations to try to harm someone oreven a false accusation, where they're in an unhappy marriage, which is a hardmarriage, and they know that abuse can be a get out of marriage, free card andevangelicalism right now, when I think it may be more appropriate for them tokeep striving to keep their marriage bells yeah because it is, it is so heinousand words have potency, and it is there's a few of him racist abuser. There can be other ones. If that scarlet a comes around yourneck, it's usual, it's sometimes assume the worst first and then, if somebodyis cleared of something, that's an after thought, and you don'treally hear about that. But to your point and we see the and we often see the statistics thatit's very rare that somebody lies about abuse. I I wonder: How do you processthat? Because that's that I could hear...

...somebody saying well, Jim and Kevin you almost virtually always can believethe victim, because nobody makes these things up. Well, the Bible says you can't treat.Someone is guilty without proof, and a single allegation can't be usedagainst someone. A single person's allegation can be used to get someoneto destroy them and in terms of statistics, people on who people were advocates in theirexperience. By the way I admire people who are willing to be advocates forvictims of abuse- and I also would see their experience-would be that so many victims do remain silent too long, then they're notbelieve they don't get help, and so I understand the experience is thatthere's a probably a bigger problem with victims not being believed or noteven being willing to speak out and they need a voice. So I get it. That'sa really big problem, but also women can be sinners as well as men,and I have had cases there are cases where false allegations are made, andso again we always take it seriously, but from the standpoint of thegovernment they have to investigate. If it's a crime, but even in terms of thechurch having to counsel people, whether their grounds for divorce or which is usually what's being aimed ator whether you put a person in your discipline for being oppressive withhis wife, you have to investigate beyond the allegation and some havemisused, the accusation right and he it may be worthdistinguishing someone who tells a a detailed, horrific story of whatsomebody did to manipulate them. It you could still. No scripture tellsthat someone could still not be telling the truth there, but I think that we always take seriously and that'sprobably less likely that somebody is not telling the truth and someone whomaybe has interpreted their own experiences with certain labels or categories whenit may not fit, which which brings us to another one of these. If you feel abused, then you wereabused. What what are we getting at? That's helpful there and what might bea danger with that saying right? Well, a lot of that just kind of puts ourculture right now, where it goes into many other areas like racism, like yousaid where people accuse others of micro aggressions or you made me feel this way, thereforeyou're guilty, and so I think you have to evaluate what people actually saidand did the Bible even says we should try to assume the best of each otherrather than the worst of each other. And so again there are people who haveswung the other way in my opinion and so they're. Looking for a reason tomake an accusation- and I realize some people listen to this- will say, butthat's rare and I agree, it may be rare, but it does exist, and so the Biblealso offers protection of against false accusation. And there is an obligation, like I said,not to look at what someone said or did, or theexpression on their face and immediately labeled in the worstpossible way. Yeah it. It seems that common sense and sanctified commonsense would have us as much as possible. Not Look the other way for genuine oppression, but I do thinkthere is concept creeped with a lot of these things. Abuse Trauma. Oppression are allimportant words oppressions a biblical word. I don'tthink a be abuses. You would tell me, asabuse in the Bible in our English Bibles. I think it's in a couple trendswell yeah where, but it may not be the way we use it right. Right and trauma,wouldn't be so they're important words, but there's a danger: There's a dangerwith with concept creep, not only the danger that some people might get thelabel of an abuser or an oppressor when it's not accurate, but there's also adanger in time to victims of those things it's like. If everything ismission, nothing is mission. If everything is traumatic in trauma, then how are we tohelp those? So if, if your words are violence- and they words can certainlyhurt people deeply, but if a micro aggression is oppression just asphysically beating someone is oppression in all of those are traumaand all of those are this if they all get the same label without anydifferentiation in the long run, that doesn't reallyhelp the victims, because then everybody is a victim in some way, andthat's I just not accurate. I think I...

...need to put one of the things I had tolearn is early in ministry. The idea was, unless there's blood broken bonesand bruises. It's not abuse right. I think. In Common Grace there are people who have recognizedeven outside of Biblical circles, that you can horribly oppress, someonewithout being physically violent right, and so the idea of verbal and I've hada case of a woman of using a man by screaming at him. While he's trying tosleep and- and so I can, there are more to oppression than physical violence,but with all of those categories there are degrees. None of us would like avideo of the worst five minutes of forty years of marriage played for theworld to see, or our worst thing we ever said or did about the kids or awine for whoever an so, I think degree is very important and I think sometimesyou see a sin that may be a three in my perception. That's treated like a nineand, like you said, then it makes a real mind seem less significant. Theother aspect, that's really difficult is God is omniscient and what seems tome be to be a three in his being report as a nine, maybe a six right, and sothat that's tough, but I fully agree with you that there's a big problemright now with a raised voice or a harsh word-that's fairly rare, being treated as if you know the same level of somethingmuch more habitual and oppressive than that. How about another? One of these? This is really dacy. So you're going towant to say say some things on both sides, but yousometimes hear it's, never the victim's fault or we have absolute hermeticallysealed categories victim, victimize her and thevictimizer has you know, deserves some most. No really attempt ofunderstanding and the one who's a victim by definition, could not havesinned or contributed in any way. How should we understand this in ways thatsensitive and yet scriptural right? So I think we're the abuse pendulum mayhave swung too far, and I think some of it resembles critical theory is wherethe person with power is guilty in the person who doesn't have power is alwayscompletely innocent. In the Bible has a more nuanced view of human nature. Itdoesn't mean people are equally guilty, does it mean both or abusers oroppressors? And there are some situations that are so heightens. Youreally have someone who's fundamentally righteous and someone it's fun tomentally wicked, but the reality is. There are a lot of situations and oneof my first ouse cases over thirty years ago. The wife would admit thatshe would deliberately provoke her husband until he would hit her in herway of winning. The argument was him getting so angry. He would strike heragain. There's no excuse for him striking her, it's horrendous, it'sdisciplinable, and yet she had guilt even with reference to sexual abuse,especially your thinking of an adult, and in Geron my it says, someone who isapproached for sex, an engaged woman, she's supposed to cry out now. The person who goes after hersexually is far more guilty, but she has some responsibility to resist inthat situation. Now. I understand also that victims tend to be quiet. Theytend not to want to speak out, which is one reason why parents and churchleaders need to educate potential victims of sexual abuse to cry outbecause then may not be their instinct and again, the level of guilt isinfinitely greater for the person who perpetrated the act, but we areresponsible not to provoke others. We are responsible how we act in situations where thesethings may happen, and it's not just that the powerful or completely guiltyall the time and those who are less have less power. The oppressed can haveno guilt whatsoever. The story of Joseph and Potifer's wife, so there's an I'll get to it in aminute, is different. That to woman with a man and just the powerdynamic of physical strength can can be an added layer, but you have pot of first wife she's,clearly in a position of power over Joseph and is enticing Joseph, it isthreatening Joseph it cost Joseph. His livelihood almost cost him his life, sohe has to pay a huge cost. She's manipulating we would say bullying. Wewould, we might say gas lighting. We would say all these things andJjoseph says. How could I commit this...

...great sin, so he says even with all of thosethings being true, it would have been a great sin again, that's not the onlytype of category and it's different if you'redealing with a minor is different. If someone is physically overpowering you,you have no will in the situation, but there is animportant lesson there that, just as with all of that and her sin would havebeen greater. He nevertheless says this would be a great sin for me to give into this. I read a story not too long ago of a man and Christian Ministry, who I gather, reading between the lines hadcommitted to an adulterous relationship and facing some consequences for that.But now, looking back was explaining how it was really an abusive situationand I don't remember all the particular details. It was an anonymous thing thatwas was written but that he, the woman and a trip or some private setting- gothim in and and made an advance at him and said you need to have sex with meand otherwise, I'm going to allege these things. I'm going to claim thesethings you're going to lose your job. I'm going to do this. All of thesethings that I guess she was in a position to hold over his head, and sohe did in had sex with her and looking back was describing himselfentirely. It seemed to me as a victim- well certainly there. If all that istrue, there were some egregious sins that the woman was committing and was avictim and was manipulating him and threatening him and putting him into anawful situation. And yet if we can't say that he also sinned, maybe less so- andmaybe it's different, I know there's again differences, but when it's menand women are in the shoes on the other foot but you're so right, I E N Jim. Ithink that scripturally biblically we have to come at these things and saythe Bible has has other categories: the Bible, as is more nuance, the Bibleunderstands- and this has always been one of the Mantes. I've appreciatedabout C cf material is that we are always sinners and sufferers all of usat the same time and not an equal measure, not an equal degree, but itseems like when we get into some of these categories. We just lose sight ofnuance or other sort of categories, and it's just all one thing or all theother. I think a lot of what's happened is there's been even in the EvangelicalChurch. There's been an adoption of the narrative of the world inpsychology that doesn't recognize biblical categories in terms of theoppressor and the oppressed, and I also was very disturbed to read and listento a testimony of someone who claimed it because someone an authority over her learnedinto a consensual sexual lations hip. She is not a violator, she is merely avictim and if you read the secular literature, that's what they will say,but the Bible teaches otherwise that you can be both a victim of oppressionand a violator, and then you did not respond to the oppression in the waythat the Lord would have you to do according description. You know in agrown person in their is having someone an authority approached them sexually.Then they happened to many many people in the course of a lifetime and Josephwas willing to go to prison and by the way, he's also an illustration of afalse accusation of secca abuse from pot of her's life, but he was willingto suffer the consequences to do that which pleases God in spite of all thepressure he was under, and that doesn't mean a gain you're dealing withchildren. It's an entirely different situation, but I think for adults therecan be shared responsibility. Even if one party is formal, Yon Man, we may need to add another episodeto have Jim back. Our time is running short, but let me let me ask a couple closing questions and I'll tryto keep my mouth shut and give you the the floor and see if you can answerthese briefly, but one you do a lot of teaching on marriage. You've done a lotof marriage counting over the years. What do you want to say to help peoplein this whole? Messy category is abuse and automatic. I can get divorced. Whatare what are the unbiblical extremes ineither direction, in particular thinking of the marriage relationshipright? So what God his join, let no men separate,and so when there's a situation where abuse as alleged or even may have takenplace just like if there's been adultery. My first effort in counselingis going to be to try to bring ther...

...guilty to repentance, obviously in auseto keep the victims safe and yet, with the long term goal oftrying to get the couple back together, and I appreciate many counselors whohave written from that perspective, biblically yea, with all the emphasis Ipoint if they need to be separated. Well, we make sure the wife and thechildren are safe by all means, but let's make every effort to restore themarriage, and I have a good friend who female who was in an Apres, impressive,abusive relationship and they worked it through and they're together, and it'sone now which much better reflects Christ to the church. This can happenbecause of the power of the Gospel. Yes, those who are oppressors and users canchange is the fruit of the spirit is brought forth in them. I also dobelieve, recording the first print and seven that this could be a form ofabandonment buying, an unbeliever that would require in a solid church. Aprocess of discipline where you have someone who would with is not repentingof horribly oppressive behavior, and so I think it could fall under that as acategory. But that is not the first place I want to go. I would also saythat when, in doubt, in terms of because I'm not on this shit- and Idon't really know how bad it is definitively- that if the person whobelieves they're oppressed believes their in danger by all means, they havethe right to live separately, while we figure out what's really goingon, and so it's not you force them to live under the same roof. Where personbeing mistreated. You is terrified by all means, if we'renot sure you can we're not going to push you too hard, I think it'srelation. I First Fifty and seven Paul even says you know don't separate, butif you do don't remarry either you back together, but there's a situation. Paulis allowing for a separation without, in my opinion, going back to firstPitthean of live and saying now we're going to discipline you. So I think wecould, if someone thinks they're being oppressed and they need to be a part, it's largely their choice, but we wantto try to bring oppressors to repentance and bringing forgiveness in,but we can't force the issue, but we don't want to. I think again,some cases I've seen actually quite fragg. I've had a big problem withwomen. I think that should have separated, because so horrible and theyhang in there and they hang in there and the hang in there. And then you have others who I think itare looking for a way to get out of a marriage to aguy's kind of a loser, even though it's not really abusive or repressive. SoI've seen both things and we need pastoral wisdom. This is also where youbrought it up briefly. You need a woman involved as an Avitat for the woman whois in the situation rather than her being in a roomful of men and ideally awoman who is biblically wise. It has some experience in this area to helpher speak when she may have a hard time, speaking up for herself and someone whocan address the mail leadership of the Church and help them perhaps to seewhat we're missing yeah. That's really helpful. Last categorybriefly, I mean it seems with so so much of this I've used the word. Wetalked about pendulum swing or over reaction, and again we it's there's noover correction, if you're, just correcting and almost everything, if wecan say maybe from the advocacy wing of things most, everything is in it in acertain place in context, is a right instinct and is helpful andis design to protect and to help folks. It simply seems to me that thatBiblically, we can't drop every scenario into okay. Here we got whatthe literature says about abuse and so you've done something, and I feel badabout it. It drops into that category now. I can't talk to you. I need tobring many others with me because I'm in an unsafe situ, it's just the way inwhich really necessary. Well, meaningprecautions and reminders and wisdoms and Biblical principles get brought tobear that then become either one size fits all or doesn't deal with the the degrees in which people areoffended in hurt and sin, and all that, at least in my final point, that somuch of this has to do with authority and I'm going to do on the one hand. Onthe other hand, on the other hand- and this is one of the things that I've hadto learn because generally my experience is in life- I haven't had horrendous experiences with people inauthority and I'm a pastor and I'm in positions of authority, and I realizedthat my my instinct is to think ye people make honest mistakes. I, butusually, if I hear that the person...

...they're probably doing their bestthey're, probably trying to make a a hard decision, and maybe they look backand realize that wasn't wise and we could have done that better. So I knowthere is a tendency I want to give the benefit of the doubt, and I thinkthere's something biblical about that, but I have to be honest that some ofthat is what I have experienced in my position. What I haven't experience, Iremember listening to a Jewish author who used the phrase. Somesome people like me may lack a catastrophic imagination, whereas, ifyou're a Jew, you understand how bad things can really and how oppressivepeople can really be, and so I want to learn from that one to hear that I wantto understand my own gut level and and yet on the other hand, if wecommunicate subtly or not so subtly, that authority is bad. That'sdemonstrably UNCHRISTIAN. We have a father, a heavenly fatherWHO's, an authority over US and good. Well, exercise authority is a greatgift, and so I think, there's there's a danger, as we've tried to understand,as a church will really sometimes people in authority absolutely do thewrong thing in a really oppressive ways, and yet, if that means, my instinct, isalways to distrust authority to catastrophies everything that happensand to figure that, if you're an authority, whatever allegations you get,you probably deserve that's not biblical either. So I'll give you thelast word Jim yeah. I think a really big problem right now- I think it doesgo along with critical theory- is that the mistakes the churches of May andChristians have made dealing with the problem of abuse is being used toundermine complimentaries right in to undermine mail leadership in the churchand male leadership in the home, because some churches have failed toprotect women and some men have been terrible leaders and the answer is notto destroy what God has established it's to do it right and I've had caseswhere I've helped pastors dealing with their first case of abuse and to helpopen their eyes that they're they're having the wool pull over their eyes.This guy is playing them. He's. Manipulative I've seen this before. Youneed to really protect the wife. You need to find a woman to help with Imean we need to do a better job of using the authority God has given us.We need to teach men to do a better job of being Christ like leaders in theirhome, but we should not use the failures ofauthority to undermine what the Bible teaches about these things, and thereare people, even in our circles, are trying to totally destroycomplimentaries because of some bad examples, and that would not be bestfor anybody. The Bible is true. Even when peoplemisuse it, you see that the devil knows how to misuse true things and truesentences. The Devil knows how to misuse scripture misapply it. So wehave to keep going back to the scriptures and yes and lead the way insaying no, you are misusing this scriptural principle, but if we end upin a position it ould probably be in our circles, implicitly more thanexplicitly where authority can never be trusted and all sorts of authority from elders to husbands to fathers on downis suspect. Then we're not only outside of the realm of what the Bible teaches,but in the end we're not really going to help the people that we mean to help,because the the the antidote to bad authority is not noauthority, its authority, biblically, exercised and lovingly and humbly and,Minister Jim. Thank you so much for taking time. I know that you're on atrip. If you can't see this on the podcast, he has a wonderful t, shirt representative of a a largetheme park in Florida and so glad that you're with us, it's good to be yourfriend and colleague at our Tsan, for an seeing you at Christ covenant whenyou're there. Thank you Jim. Thank you. It's been pleasure and I M so thankfulto God for you talking about hard things and they got to help us to do soin a humble balance, place a man so until next time or if I got enjoy him forever and goread a good book, a.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (43)