A Cry For Justice

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

Laughing at Homicide

The following quotes are taken from my notes on Pastor Voddie Baucham’s “sermon” on Matthew 5:31-32, promoting his (actually he borrowed it) “permanence view” of no divorce for any reason ever and no remarriage after divorce while ex-spouse is still alive.  In a previous post I shared my notes and comments on the entire sermon.  But in this post I wanted to especially highlight two quotes of his that are absolutely horrific, and anyone familiar with abuse will be just sick at hearing them.  Here they are:

“HOMICIDE, MAYBE, DIVORCE, NEVER!” (Exact quote from Baucham, followed by laughter in the congregation).  Haha.  How funny.  Wonder if he would have said this if he had been at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Ohio last week.  Ok, I can hear the critics now – “You are quoting him out of context!  He said this in jest.  It’s only a joke!”  No, it isn’t a joke.  I know he said it in jest.  That’s the problem – you just don’t joke about things like this from the pulpit.  I’ve done it.  I shouldn’t have.  He did it.  He shouldn’t have.  This was the nail in the coffin of any abused woman sitting in his congregation listening to him.  Her husband has told her, “if you ever try to leave me, I will kill you.”  Chuckle, chuckle.

Then, in telling his congregation what they are going to be told if they come to him and his elders saying they need to divorce their spouse, he promises them that this is what they are going to hear from him:

“You are the problem. You are the problem.” “But pastor, you don’t know my spouse.” “That’s irrelevant. You are the problem. If you leave this marriage and go and get into another one, guess who you take with you? You!”

He said it.  He teaches this.  Pity the poor, poor abused woman in his church.

23 Comments

  1. jodi

    This is exactly the mindset that kept me hopelessly trying until I couldn’t try anymore. Women are very much discouraged fromspeaking of her husband ‘s sin.That would be gossip. She is only told to constantly take her own inventory and offer herself up on the altar of self flagellation. This can literally drive an abused woman insane. I know.
    Jodi

    • Jeff Crippen

      How funny would it be to make jokes about cancer or rape or…..? Ignorance is really no excuse in matters as vital as this. In the medical world, a doctor who functioned with such incompetence would lose his license. Unfortunately, most anyone can stand in a pulpit and expound.

  2. If he has a daughter, and that daughter shows up bloody and beaten on his doorstep, I wonder how much he will be laughing then. You have to wonder what goes on behind closed doors in his own home.

  3. Diane

    Thanks for this article…I am shocked, but not very surprised anymore. The more I listen to him (out of curiosity – I do not agree with the patriarchy he promotes) the more I am not surprised. Voddie Baucham’s daughter is relying on her father to find her a husband. She is a SAHD. I wonder what happens when the patriarch/family shepherd/prophet/priest/king/provider

    interviews a potential husband, finds him acceptable, agrees to the marriage, transfers ownership of daughter to the husband… only to find her being physically abused a few months down the road.

    I do not even want to wonder what goes on in his home. He mentioned he carries a leather strap with him at his church for his own kids that get out of line. I heard him say this at the Men of God conference recently. He spoke of how he loaned it to a mom whose little one was not sitting still in his church and told her to go and make his life miserable in the bathroom with it. I personally find that disgusting.

    I do not know what his motives are for some of the statements he makes. Maybe he thinks shock/joking-mocking is an effective way to communicate. It is not the style of preaching I prefer so it does not minister to me at all. I watched him mock those who do not homeschool…that is me–I do not homeschool…so I was mocked….but it’s all in good fun, I guess. ? Not to me. I do not think that is a very good to do at a Home Educator’s conference that was being videotaped…(imo) but the crowd laughed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Without consciously verbalizing it, a pastor/leader can slowly become a tyrant. When we stand up in front of our people and “lay down the law” to them, we have most likely crossed the line from servant-leader to cracking the whip. These kinds of settings so often turn out to be hotbeds for abuse of all kinds. Carrying a leather strap at church for his children? What message is that going to send to the abusive man in his church?

  4. joepote01

    What makes it so not-funny is that he actually truly means it. He may have covered it with a chuckle, but the statement actually fits his theology.

    This is actually where we wind up, when we follow some of the current prevalent teaching on divorce and remarriage to its logical conclusion. Listening to some of these teachings, one is forced to the (erroneous) conclusion that one can hope to be forgiven and get on with life after committing murder, whereas divorce can never be forgiven and the person is never free to get on with their life.

    Not only a terribly erroneous theology, but a very scary one…

    • Jeff Crippen

      Joe – exactly. It is what he believes. Murder is more forgiveable than divorce. He means that. I think there is still another element happening here. I wonder how many of the “permanence view” people have been divorced themselves. Apparently Baucham has not been. To maintain this no divorce business, his own self is exalted. I wonder how his theology would change if his wife took off with another guy? Far-fetched? We read about it all the time. Some noteable, charismatic, “perfect” Christian leader enveloped in scandal. Pride sets us up for a fall. “If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are.”

    • “What makes it so not-funny is that he actually truly means it. He may have covered it with a chuckle, but the statement actually fits his theology.”
      Exactly. It is a classic example of what Patricia Adams calls “verbal abuse disguised as a joke” ( see her classic book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”).

      It’s an especially nasty form of verbal abuse, because if anyone cries “Ouch!” they can be quickly skewered by the sarcastic reply “Can’t you take a joke?”

  5. Does Baucham Embrace Marriage as a Sacrament, or is it Just Another Rhetorical Trick?, is a post by Cindy Kunsman as her blog UnderMuchGrace. Well worth a read.

    And here is another post by Cindy Kunsman about Voddie Baucham: What Was All That Stuff About Voddie?. At the bottom of that post you will find links to all the items on Cindy’s blog that mention Baucham.

  6. Lindsey Morales

    I listened to Baucham’s sermon online not long ago, it was painful, but more painful than the sermon were the accolades in the comments below, one of which was from my very own ex husband! He commented that he was very relieved to know that he was right about my sin of divorcing him, that it was as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders to know what God wanted, and he thanked Baucham for speaking the truth so succinctly. Ugh.

    • ugh indeed!

      Thank you, Lindsey, I shall be citing your comment in a post that I’m writing about how complementarian teaching can magnify a male abuser’s sense of entitlement. Your comment illustrates that very thing.

      We’ve observed that many abusers gravitate to Patriarchal and Permanence View churches, like bees converging on a honey pot.

      • joepote01

        “We’ve observed that many abusers gravitate to Patriarchal and Permanence View churches, like bees converging on a honey pot.”

        I wonder…

        Is it that abusers are drawn to these churches, or is it that the distortions taught in these churches breeds abuse? Or maybe both?

      • Good question, Joe. My observations are is that it is both. I have a post coming up about how Patriarchy can intensify a male abuser’s entitlement mindset, and even turn a man towards being abusive when he otherwise might not have been.

        And here’s a story of how abusers are drawn to such churches.
        I was in a church which was somewhat tolerant towards (mostly because blind about) abusers. Then the leadership changed. The new senior pastor was a dimwit who surrounded himself with yes-men. As a result of that change, men who I knew had abused their wives (because the wives had confided in me their painful stories) moved from whatever church they’d been going to, over to the dimwit pastor’s church. I think that these men knew that church had become a very safe arena for them to play their nefarious games in. Ugh.

      • joepote01

        Barbara – That makes sense. We all tend to choose churches whose beliefs align closely with our own…so we should expect abusers to do the same.

  7. Anonymous

    I’m sorry for posting on an old post but I just have to comment.

    Voddie Baucham is a real fly under the radar type of guy (for those not aware of abuse issues).

    He gets away with a lot because he acts like a ‘boys boy’ and tells lots of jokes. He disarms people in essence.

    But his teachings are very burdensome and abusive and self righteous.

    I remember a couple years into my separation listening to a permance view sermon of his. I will never forget the one thing that stuck out to me. He mentioned something about if a woman’s husband was put in prison for years then yup, too bad, she could not divorce…ever. (I really hope I have not misremembered this and that is was in face him that said this).

    All I could think at the time was how cruel this was. Especially so because HE would never be that woman alone raising say five needy children alone while her husband was in prison for 20 years. No. Voddie would be curled up at home cuddling his wife and enjoying his marriage and family. I also wonder how much he actually helps all these women he expects to stay in outrageous marriages on a practical level. Does he make life any easier for them??? Send them and their children money so the mom can stay home and homeschool for example? I’m guessing he just expects all the women influenced by this false teaching to just survive as best they can without any help from him. In my opinion he has a responsibility to all these women and children he has potentially trapped in cruel, unbiblical situations.

    Also in another sermon I heard him say that he went to greet a small boy at his church and the boy was shy and his behind his mothers skirt and would not come out to say hello to Voddie (I don’t blame him, how scary!!) Voddie then said he stood there until the mother made him and wasn’t going to leave until it happened basically, he also said something to the effect that the boy deserved a spanking for that. As a former shy child the idea that someone would say a shy child deserves physical abuse for simply being afraid is horrifying to me. It literally makes me so angry he would say that and I fear for the children in his church with parents being fed this abusive garbage.

    Now if I am wrong in any of my memories please delete this. I make full admission these are recounts of snippets of his sermons that were so horrible and disturbing to me that they stuck in my mind for years, and I may have not accurately represented with the fog of time, but I would be surprised if I had as something that disturbs you so much is hard to forget.

    I just think Voddie needs to be watched very closely. Because he is so jovial people don’t really see as clearly how destructive the things he says really are.

    • twbtc
    • joepote01

      “…he is so jovial people don’t really see as clearly how destructive the things he says really are.”

      I think this is true more often than we readily recognize.

      Pastors and teachers with dogmatic legalistic perspectives often use humor to disguise and soften their statements, especially when they know what they are saying is potentially disturbing. It leaves them a coward’s way out…”I was laughing and making a joke. Don’t you have a sense of humor?” Yet, they make it clear, despite the humor, that what they said truly is what they believe…despite being so uncomfortable saying it that they feel the need to disguise it with humor.

      Thanks for bringing this perspective, Anon!

    • Anonymous, I can confirm that Voddie did that with the shy boy and his mother. That incident was documented and discussed in many places.

      And there is never any need to apologise for commenting on an old post!

  8. healingInHim

    I was reading recent comments on another post and admiring how Twbtc efficiently supplied many links to previous articles. Then I noticed the RECENT COMMENTS sidebar having her comment on this post. I hadn’t commented on it in 2012 (I may not have even been aware of ACFJ back then)?
    Anonymous, thank you for bringing attention to this post.
    I used to think well of Mr. Baucham even though some of his messages made me uncomfortable. During those years I was still in the “keep trying harder” phase and “just trusting that my spouse would be won over with a meek and quiet spirit” which to many means a ‘silent spouse’. The man I married would say I was anything but ‘quiet’ … yes, the silence was broken after I confronted years of a lying and deceitful spouse …
    Men, like Voddie Baucham would have chastised me for questioning my husband. They would insist that my confrontation with sin was argumentative and a wife should never argue with her husband otherwise I have the ‘spirit of Jezebel’! I’m sure others have been labeled that as well!

    • Yes, the label Jezebel has been slung at many female victims of domestic abuse — by their abusive husbands, and by pastors and elders and wanna-be elders.

  9. Anonymous

    My husband knows I know he is a psychopath and he is very proud of himself. We recently went to a movie and there was a scene where a man was brutally and violently beating another man to death. (I have to close my eyes and plug my ears during these scenes and I at home I fast forward through them–why do they have to include them at all? Because people like my husband ENJOY them.) My husband started laughing very loudly and cheering and I curtly told him that nobody was impressed that he was a psychopath. He shut right up. What was the reaction of those around me? None. When I go to movie theaters (rarely) I have started to look around at people’s reaction to violence, sex, lewd comments etc, and have come to find there are very few people who even react. Very few with a startle reflex. (Psychopaths don’t have a startle reflex.) Some would lie and say that it’s because we have been desensitized, but I disagree. I think we are in the last days as explained in 2 Tim 3 and it plainly says that it will be PERILOUS for us because of people without a conscience. If I’m honest with myself it appears that it is the MAJORITY of people who are like this, NOT the minority.

    I’m currently attending an educational program that says it wants the most empathetic people because it is caring for others needs. The truth is that the program is an abusive one run by unempathetic bullies who act like they are weeding out those who don’t care. In reality they are really only endorsing abuse. Psychopaths love to play the hierarchy game “knowing” they will one day be at the top of the food chain and then all will pay! They actually abuse those who do have empathy so harshly that they are the ones who end up dropping out. It is ONLY through God’s grace that I’ve been able to continue and he has battled for me over and over. If I am able to complete the program it will ONLY be because HE was with me.

    Homicide as funny? To those without a conscience, the more violent, with lots of blood flying and people screaming and flailing about, actually stimulates the predator center of their brain which makes them feel “happy.” They never feel joy for others and actually hate others deeply. I need to go take a shower now–the filth of evil to those of us with a conscience–always leaves us feeling like we just got slimed. Yuck!

    • standsfortruth

      I agree with you anonymous.
      I avoid watching the violence too.
      However, I have noticed that some people turn up the loudness on their TV sets in anticipation for these horrific violent sceens.
      One such person I know (who is also a professed christian) loves the make believe violent shows, but cant seem to tolerate the “True TV stories of perpetrators getting caught” after decades of getting away with their repeted crimes.
      Why didnt they get caught before, one might ask?
      Because these perpretrators are exellent liars and convincing actors, just like our abusers.
      In these true reenactment shows, the only reason that these perpretrators finally get caught, and brought to justice is due to the “unintentional” forensic evidence left at the crime sceen that ties them to the crime.
      These shows prove that “covert evil” is alive and abundant in society today.

  10. Finding Answers

    Joepote01 commented Pastors and teachers with dogmatic legalistic perspectives often use humor to disguise and soften their statements, especially when they know what they are saying is potentially disturbing. It leaves them a coward’s way out…”I was laughing and making a joke. Don’t you have a sense of humor?” Yet, they make it clear, despite the humor, that what they said truly is what they believe…despite being so uncomfortable saying it that they feel the need to disguise it with humor.

    ^^^That.

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