A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Debating Bible With an Abuser is a Waste of Time

Matthew 21:23-27 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (24) Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. (25) The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ (26) But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” (27) So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

No one ever won a debate with Jesus.  Imagine, arguing a point from God’s Word with God!  Now there is a formula for being made to look like a real idiot.  Which is, of course, what happened to the scribes and Pharisees and anyone else who thought they could trip Him up.

Much like the Pharisees, the abusive person who pretends to be a Christian loves to quote Scripture to his victim.  Then he asks them questions about it. “Huh, huh, come on, come on …isn’t that right?”  It is my opinion that it is a waste of time to get drawn in by such a tactic, and you certainly will never convince him anyway.

Notice what Jesus did in the case above.  He had a question all ready for them.  I like that.  “I will answer your question about the Bible telling a wife to submit to her husband, if you first answer this question for me.”  Then put the question to him – “God says that anyone who claims to love Him, but hates their brother (or wife) is a liar.  Tell me why, from the way you treat me, I should conclude that you are a Christian.”

One time I met a pastor in his office to confront him with being abusive to his congregation.  He told me that unless I could open up my Bible and show him that God’s Word says what he had done is sin, then he didn’t have to listen to me.  I told him I wasn’t going to do that (I had my Bible there).  He snickered, not too subtly indicating that I was no match for him in a Bible debate.  But I told him I wasn’t going to quote him chapter and verse because it would do no good.  If he wasn’t ready to hear a fellow pastor who had known him for sometime, then no amount of Bible verses would mean anything to him either.

Abusers use Scripture to attack their victim.  They use Bible talk to mask their own evil. Jesus had a way of stripping that disguise right off and getting down to the real issue – the evil motive and heart of His enemy.  I suggest we do the same.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    The funny thing is that my ex-abuser didn’t know the Bible very well. He didn’t care much for studying the Scriptures. I wanted so badly to tell a pastor because I wondered how you could be a leader without ever reading the Bible! But I couldn’t ever get myself to expose him that way.

    One day, he decided that what the Bible said was important, so he challenge me by asking me where the Scriptures said that you could say “no” to sex. Well, of course, I couldn’t find a scripture per se, but tried to show him that it was consistent with scriptures to be emotionally sensitive to one another and if the way God made women was such that she would be physically turned off after being habitually verbally abused (I didn’t know at that time that Patricia Evans’, author of verbal abuse, asserts that), then it seemed rational. I didn’t articulate it quite so well, and he wasn’t satisfied and called up a pastor (a female who he thought would set me straight. He didn’t want a male talking to me about sex.) This pastor said she couldn’t find a verse but she endorsed my position! Haha – now he had evidence that we were all taking unscriptural positions.

    Fancy the gall of abusers to even use the Scriptures as weapons of abuse.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Satan did the very same thing as he tempted Christ. The devil is quite a theologian. But he never quotes Scripture accurately. Whenever he speaks, he lies.

  2. Well said

  3. I know one case where a woman was raped by her so called Christian boyfriend. He then claimed she had to marry him, because since it had happened in the town and she had not cried out for help, she had been consenting to the sex, and so they were obliged to marry each other. He used an obscure passage in the Old Testament to enforce his evil will on her.
    I love your recommendation about how to answer an abuser by posing your own question back to him. I’ve often thought we can to learn more from Jesus regarding this technique of his: how he responded to his opponents’ trap questions by REFUSING to give them an answer, but posed his own questions to them in return. It’s a great way to resist their wiles.
    We don’t have to follow the conversational pathway they propose. We can set the agenda ourselves.

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