The Shooting in Ohio Poses a Question for Piper and Company
I am totally open to correction here if I am coming to an erroneous and unfair conclusion about what the “no-divorce-for-any-reason-at-all” people would say regarding the murder of Katherina Allen in Ohio this week. Yes, both she and her murderer-husband are dead so hey – death ends the marriage. No question, right? Not so fast.
I DO have a question. First read the following news summary of this terrible crime, and then consider my comments and question that follow:
The 10-year-old daughter who survived a shooting Thursday night inside a crowded Cracker Barrel by her father that killed her sister and mother remains in critical condition in a Cleveland hospital.
Kevin Allen came into the restaurant in suburban Brooklyn with a shotgun and, witnesses said, “selectively” fired on his family. The shooting created panic and confusion in the restaurant, and a manager helped get people out through a rear door, a witness said.
“He didn’t say not one word,” a witness told Fox8.com. “He came in and pointed, and we could just see the fire come out of the barrel and we all just ran.”
In addition to the death of Katherina Allen, 42, and Kerri Allen, 10, the couple’s other 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, was wounded and in critical condition. According to police records, Thursday was Kerri Allen’s birthday.
Ok. That is what happened. Now, let’s tweak the outcome just a bit. Let’s say that Katherina, the wife and mother, was the survivor and let’s say that her husband was arrested and taken into custody, ultimately to be sent to prison. You know the question that is coming, right? To all those Christians — pastors, teachers, theologians, counselors — who are telling abuse victims that abuse is not grounds for divorce, I ask you pointedly: “Would Katherina Allen have God’s blessing and authorization to divorce the man who murdered her daughters and shot her?”
I think that every Christian has a right to a clear answer to this question from every one of the authors and teachers who are teaching millions and millions of Christians that abuse is not a biblical ground for divorce. And I believe it is time for all of us to start demanding those answers. If this challenge makes anyone angry, then I would honestly ask them: why? Why are you angry? Isn’t this a fair question? You can’t just dismiss it with “Oh, that’s ridiculous! How dare you make such a charge against respectable, well-known men in the church!” Well, I would respond – “How dare we not ask these questions?”
Finally, at what point does a pastor/teacher becomes a false shepherd/Pharisee and thus one who is to be rejected by the church? When they refuse divorce for emotional and verbal abuse? “Well… no…. maybe not,” I hear people say. Alright, then what about when they bind people in marriages in which a wife is being beaten? “Hmmm…. that is a little harder. But they mean well.” Then let’s step it up another notch – is a man who stands in a pulpit and teaches that even if a parent murders his children and tries to murder his wife, she is not authorized by God to divorce him – is such a pastor/teacher/theologian/counselor a false shepherd of the church, to be rejected by the church?
I know what my answer is to these questions. I ask the no-divorce-for-abuse people: what is yours?