A Cry For Justice

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

“When Love Hurts” – You NEED to Get This DVD – From Mending the Soul Ministries

NOTE:  Subsequent to posting this article, one of our readers watched this DVD series and send the following comment, which I think is right on.  I had missed it completely and so I really appreciate this insight.  The comment shows a definite deficiency in the series –

Well, I just got done watching the RBC videos on the Mending the Soul site.  They did a good job on the issue of abuse, per se, and on the issue of what male authority is about.  But I found them frustrating because they did not give any examples of the abused woman initiating the divorce.  In all the cases they sited, the abuser was the one who refused reconciliation.  I do not feel they did an adequate job of giving the woman permission and support in pursuing divorce.  I don’t think they will address the need we have here.  Honestly, I found their treatment of that matter mushy.  I’m not sure from those videos what they actually believe about that.  It’s like they discussed everything BUT that.”

When Love Hurts: Understanding And Healing Domestic Abuse, is available either on Amazon or at the Mending the Soul Ministries store (see the menu item at the top of this blog page).  This is an excellent series of four, 27-minutes each segments entitled:

  • When Abuse is Worse than Divorce
  • When the Bible is Used to Abuse
  • When Apologies are Dangerous
  • When the Church is Needed Most

The series is a production of Day of Discovery, an arm of Radio Bible Class Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.  And this was amazing to me.  I can remember as a kid listening to Dr. DeHann with his gravelly voice every Sunday morning on the radio.  This is a conservative, Bible-believing Christian ministry, and so I initially purchased the DVD with skepticism, which was only overcome because Steven Tracy’s website (Mending the Soul) sells and recommends it.

I just spent the last two hours watching the entire DVD, and it is excellent. Christians tell their stories of abuse, how the church in a few cases helped them, and how in many cases it did not.  The tactics of abuse are described, real repentance is examined vs. false “I’m sorry’s” and a challenge to the church is issued to step up, get educated, and start advocating justice for victims.

All of us won’t agree with every single detail presented – you will think, “I would have said this,” or “I would have worded that sentence a bit differently,” but I really saw very little I would change.  Just two things actually –

  • If they had read Barbara Roberts’ book, Not Under Bondage, they could have done a bit better job clarifying Malachi 2:16.
  • Also, I would have selected a different title for the first section. They have it as, When Abuse is Worse than Divorce.  But that implies that divorce is still bad – doesn’t it?  I don’t think that is what they intended to convey, but….  Maybe, When Divorce is a Good Thing.

But those points aside, this is a tremendous tool that you can watch and that you can take to your church and show it in Sunday School class. Great stuff.
Ok, so now go buy it!  (I didn’t use the word “should,” so my bossiness is ok?).  You will be very glad that you did.

8 Comments

  1. I did a church search today, again I am feeling called to find a home church for my kids. It amazes me that churches are not supportive of someone that goes through divorce, related to domestic violence. But what amazes me more is that so many churches ARE TOLERANT of homosexuality in all its forms. Not many people know this when choosing a home church. I went to Wikipedia and found out which ones are tolerant, and also had to do a separate search for calvary chapel churches and they are tolerant, too. I am not and do not want my children raised in such a church. But these very same churches continue to batter victims of abuse for getting out and getting divorced. Unreal.

  2. Now Free After 42 Years

    I thought the same thing Jeff, as soon as I saw the title “When Abuse is Worse than Divorce”…do they really think that divorce is always a bad choice?
    Yes, I would listen to the broadcast regularly…”Daaay of Discovery”..:)

  3. Barnabasintraining

    That title might have been a marketing device. Perhaps they titled that section when abuse is worse than divorce because of the audience they want to reach. It would seem that for many Christians and churches, the idea that abuse is worse than divorce is inconceivable. They might think a title like when divorce is good would sound heretical. It seems like generally they don’t like abuse but they really really hate divorce (for abuse). Perhaps RBC is trying to say to them, no, divorce is not the worst thing that can happen here. The abuse is worse. If you see what I mean. It’s no good trying to say anything if you start out in such a way that they can’t hear you.

    The main sticking point with these people, I think, is they want a chapter and verse that specifically spells out divorce for abuse in so many words, like, “thou shalt divorce thy spouse if he or she abuseth thee.” Or something like that. They see the verse in Matthew that specifically addresses adultery as grounds for divorce and how Jesus dealt with it and think He was speaking of all divorce, period, not just the verse from Deuteronomy that was the actual topic of debate, nor do they necessarily understand what the debate actually was. Either they don’t know about the verse in Exodus, or they think that verse was covered and dismissed in Christ’s reply. In any case, they do not see divorce for abuse plainly spelled out in so many words, so to suggest there are other grounds for divorce than adultery is heresy. It only gets worse when you realize there are people out there who don’t think even adultery is grounds for divorce and Jesus did away with divorce altogether. So they would have lost their audience at “hello” if they’d used a more aggressive title.

    • Barnabasintraining

      On the other hand, it could be that is actually how they see it.

      RBC does have a booklet on divorce that includes abuse as a valid reason, but the author clearly is very concerned about the message divorcing sends to the world. He is concerned that divorce makes it look like the gospel doesn’t “work” and takes a very sober view of our witness for Christ. I remember reading this and thinking while his sentiment is good as far as being careful in our witness, he doesn’t seem to understand the world very well. Not that we should use the world’s response as a measure for accurate Christian witness, but what they see when we require a woman (as it’s usually a woman) to remain in an abusive marriage, because divorce is worse than abuse, is disgusting injustice and gross unrighteousness. Think Christ and lukewarm: it is thoroughly repulsive. I don’t think our witness for Christ would suffer in the least by approving divorce for abuse. If we started approving any cause divorce, that would be different. But recovering the lamb from the ditch on the Sabbath, they’re good with that.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Interesting. I haven’t seen that RBC booklet. Good analysis. Absolutely – the actual bad witness for Christ that is occurring is because we don’t permit divorce for abuse. What kind of crazy, woman-hating, power-hungry, patriarchal, medieval…. religion would do such a thing? That’s what the world asks, and they are right.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Barnabas – Thanks, yes that makes sense. Too aggressive on the title and goodbye to the people who need to hear it the most. My wife and an elder’s wife watched the whole series last night while I went to an elders’ meeting. They loved it. I want to show it, as I said, to our entire church. It is well worth the $16 or so that it costs. A real bargain.

  4. M&M

    Hi Everyone, I’m happy to hear the that a conservative ministry put out a good video series, but I think RBC is sending mixed messages about how hard the victim should try for reconciliation. Compared to the “never divorce” churches they are liberating, but compared to ACFJ not so liberating.

    Specifically, “When violence hits home” is a pamphlet/mini book that pushes Matthew 18 first and if it doesn’t work it allows divorce without remarriage. Oddly, their similar pamphlet “When a spouse is unfaithful” doesn’t require Matthew 18ing before letting the victim choose divorce. No fair!!

    They also published a pamphlet about childhood sexual abuse “When innocence is lost” that was good in what it said, but was aimed at adult survivors. I don’t recall anything about victims who are still children (or situations where divorce would protect children).

    I found the pamphlets at my church and I’m feeling complicated because they contain unnecessary burdens, but if they get in churches that are too conservative for anything better they could still help some people leave their abuser. Being alone is better than being abused!!!!

    • Thanks M&M, I agree with you. And Jeff C probably does too.

      This post was written in March 2012, which was only a few months after ACFJ had started. I am guessing that Jeff would have been so excited to find the RBC videos because they were at least saying some good things — in contrast to the rubbish that is usually disseminated.

      So, readers of this post, please bear that in mind. We have come a way on since this post was first published.

      I would take this post as an example of how when we are desperate for water to quench our thirst, we get very excited even about a few sips of muddy water.

      See this post:
      Parched for truth — dehydrated — victims appreciate ANY water, but it’s better to give them pure rather than muddy water.

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