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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Doctrines that Abuse

This post was inspired by a long and sometimes heated discussion over on Wade Burleson’s Blog titled "Do Southern Baptists Set Women Up for Abuse?"

I do not wish to discuss in this post the sad reality of the abuse of women in our society, regrettably even in the SBC… I think that topic has been more than covered on Wades Blog…

What I wish to discuss in this post is the cause and effect relationship of our doctrines and our actions, and how a single thread of bad doctrine can compromise the fabric of our collective theology.

“Individual doctrines are but single threads woven into the fabric of our collective theology…” Taken by themselves each thread can seem an insignificant thing… Yet each thread impacts the pattern of the weave so that the whole is changed by every single thread that is woven into the fabric.

There are many threads that make up the fabric of SBC theology (and traditions) that taken by themselves appear quite insignificant, yet when woven together they can completely compromise the fabric of our collective theology and thereby become a deadly snare to our faith and the downfall of many in our churches.

Case in point – Can there be any doubt that there is a strong relationship between the reluctance of some Southern Baptist Pastors to recommend divorce for any reason (including abuse) because a divorced man, regardless of the reason, is treated like a “Leper” in the SBC. Is this the reason why some Southern Baptist Pastors are reluctant to believe the woman in cases of abuse; for fear that if he is ever divorced, regardless of the reason, he will be disqualified from ministry in most churches and agencies in the SBC?

Interesting that the abuse of men by the SBC (disqualifying a man from service when God has not disqualified him is indeed abuse) might just be a significant contributing factor in the abuse of women in the SBC. You see how the enemy of the soul does not discriminate between men and women… he seeks to destroy the faith of all God’s children.

We must ask ourselves; “How many rotten threads have been woven into the fabric of our collective theology (and traditions) over the years that needs now to be carefully removed?” Can they be removed without the total unraveling of the cloth? I am hopeful that in time, with patience, and with God’s grace they can, but I am under no illusion as to the danger and difficulty of the task.


Grace Always,

15 comments:

Tanim said...

gr8 job.

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Greg Alford said...

Tanim,

Just took a look at your sight... Breath taking pictures!

Grace Always,

Anonymous said...

AS USUAL YOU HIT THE NAIL SQUARELY ON THE HEAD. ANOTHER ABUSIVE DOCTRINE IS THE OVEREMPHASIZING OF PASTORAL AUTHORITY, MAKING THE SENIOR PASTOR OR ELDER A DICTATOR.

DR. PAUL W. FOLTZ

Greg Alford said...

Paul,

You are “Absolutely” correct in saying that “ANOTHER ABUSIVE DOCTRINE IS THE OVEREMPHASIZING OF PASTORAL AUTHORITY, MAKING THE SENIOR PASTOR OR ELDER A DICTATOR.”

That is why I, as the Senior Pastor/Elder of First Baptist Church, am under the authority of my Elders (Plural), and why all our Elders are accountable to our Congregation.

Grace Always,

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the divorce issue. Divorce in the Word of God means the right to remarry.
Two reasons are;
1.If spouse commits adultery
2. Desertion [I Cor. 7 ]

ABUSE IS ANOTHER REASON, IT'S A GREATER SIN TO STAY MARRIED.

Joe Blackmon said...

"Can there be any doubt that there is a strong relationship between the reluctance of some Southern Baptist Pastors to recommend divorce for any reason (including abuse) because a divorced man, regardless of the reason, is treated like a “Leper” in the SBC. "

Um, that's a joke, right? I mean, you cannot be serious. They're worried about how the man is going to be treated if he gets divorced? Dude, that is the single silliest thing I think I've read in ages. Thanks for the laugh.

Greg Alford said...

Joe,

Glad to have brought a laugh to your heart :-)

Really for someone who once “pastored a church part-time” don’t you think your experience is just a little limited for such a dismissive judgment? The SBC is a very large family and others many just have experienced a far different reality in the SBC than you have.

Also, just a little advice… If you want to be taken serious in a theological debate you might want to use something other than a “Cartoon” picture. It’s hard for me to take you seriously when looking at your cartoon picture.

Grace Always,

Greg Alford said...

Anonymous,

I agree with the reasons you list for a “Biblical Divorce”… and if it is a Biblically acceptable reason then the right to remarry, and serve in the ministry, are both preserved.

Grace Always,

Joe Blackmon said...

Greg

I will take your advice regarding my picture and give it all the consideration that it deserves. Thank you.

If my experience with the SBC was only as a bi-vo (not a real) pastor, I might agree with you. I have been in churches of many different sizes in several states.

Batchaps said...

Joe,
It is obvious you've never pastored in TX. Didn't you know that the "unforgivable sin" is a divorced man. God can never use him to do anyrthing for the Kingdom.

Russ+

Joe Blackmon said...

You are right, sir. I've driven through Texas once on a youth mission trip. Further, I'm not saying that no one has had that experience. It just cracked me up to think that a pastor is thinking about how a divorce is going to affect the man if a woman came and made allegations of abuse and wanted advice about divorce. What a hoot.

Batchaps said...

Joe,
In certain SBC circles, if that man is the head of the Deacon board or a popular Youth minister, you better believe that thought crosses the pastor's mind.

Russ+

Anonymous said...

Greg - your blogs are interesting, they make a person think. Question, what if the abuse comes from the women? There is more about abuse then physical and there isn't a man alive who does not know what I am talking about. All we have to do is go to Genesis 3 to see the result of the curse for an understanding of this. That begs another question where are today's (christian?) women getting their teaching about their submitting to God, His Word, the Holy Spirit, her husband, the pastor at Church, we need to answer this question.

Larry

Greg Alford said...

Larry,

I just posted this comment over on John Sneed’s Blog:

My fierce allegiance to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture has meant that I have never been one to shy away from those issues which others in the SBC are reluctant to discus. Well, that and the fact that I never expect, nor do I desire, to be anything in the SBC but a local church pastor.

Then I came here to check my Blog for comments and found yours… and well, what can I say other than you bring up a topic that is very likely to get me in trouble?

When a Christian wife neglects the needs of her Christian husbands it is indeed a form of “abuse”; and one that is just as ugly as when a Christian man physically abuses his Christian wife. Both are attempts to subdue, control, and dominate the relationship. And both are sin.

You ask the question “where are today's (christian?) women getting their teaching”?

To be balanced the question should be “where are today’s (Christians) getting their teaching?” It is clear that today’s young men and women are far more influenced by secular culture (Opra and Dr Phil) than they are by the Bible (Paul, and Dr Luke). So much so that there is little difference between how Christian men and women relate to one another then non Christian men and women.

Until the church becomes a “separate community” from the secular society in which it lives, instead of being homogeneous with the secular society in which it lives, we will not see a recovery of Biblical Womanhood or Manhood. While I do not agree with all of their practices and beliefs you can see what it means to be a “separate community” by looking at the Mennonites or Quakers. I believe in both of these you can see a healthy understanding of Biblical Womanhood and Manhood and it is because their young women and men are more influenced by the Bible and Godly examples than the secular culture that surrounds them.

Grace Always,

Larry said...

Thank you, thank you and Amen - more later