Wayne Grudem & CBMW don’t seem interested in reducing domestic abuse
Wayne Grudem and CBMW seem to be uninterested in correcting the gaps and flaws in complementarianism which make it easy for abusive husbands to get away with abuse.
Here are my experiences and observations about Wayne Grudem which make me say this.
1. Approximately three years ago, one of our guest posters informed us that he (the guest poster) was in email contact with Wayne Grudem and that Grudem had told him that he was reading our blog. I have no reason to doubt this man’s report. Therefore, I believe that Grudem is at least somewhat aware of our efforts at ACFJ to awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst.
2. Back in July 2010 I published a Critique of CBMW’s Statement on Abuse at my notunderbondage.com site. This was before ACFJ had begun. I published a revised version of the critique in 2012, here at A Cry For Justice: Critique of CBMW’s Statement on abuse. The critique expresses my concerns about CBMW’s Statement on Abuse which they adopted in 1994.
On 29 July 2010 emailed several leaders at CBMW to let them know I’d published the critique. I made sure to tell them that I wasn’t criticising CBMW’s views on gender roles, but I was concerned that their Statement on Abuse was potentially hurtful and dangerous to victims of domestic abuse. The CBMW leaders I emailed were: Randy Stinson, Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, John Piper, Ligon Duncan, H Wayne House, Albert Mohler, Susan Hunt, Peter Jones, Thomas Schreiner, Greg Allison, Mary Kassian, Dorothy Patterson, Paige Patterson, Thomas Edgar, James Hurley, John Ray Ortlund, mail@hopeinGod.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Stinson, who at that time was the Executive Director of CBMW, replied to me. (I give details of our correspondence at the end of this post). I think the most important thing he said to me was —
You have made some good points in your critique and I plan to implement some of them. … I do plan to make some changes based on your suggestions.
CBMW no longer have their Statement on Abuse on their website (see proof here) but they still know about it because when Denny Burk recently was made their President, one of the things he said was:
I would like to revisit CBMW’s Statement against Abuse, to reiterate that the abuse of women is a serious crime, and has no place in a complementarian framework. (link)
I hope Denny Burk meant ‘revise’ as well as ‘revisit.’ But I don’t think his revision will make a difference unless he dumps his notion that the Pre-incarnate Christ had the form of God but was not equal with God. This is truly mind gagging stuff:
in Paul’s Christology “form of God” is something that Jesus possessed by virtue of his deity, while “equality with God” is not. (Denny Burk, “Christ’s Functional Subordination in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Trinitarian Implications” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Fall 2011, link)
As far as I can tell, CBMW have never modified their Statement on Abuse in any way. The only thing they appear to have done is remove it from their website.
Wayne Grudem was a recipient of my initial email in 2010. He was also a recipient of my later email to Stinson which I cc’d other CBMW leaders into. Maybe Grudem didn’t read my emails because he was too busy (I know how that can happen to me!) But if Randy Stinson set about doing what he said he was going to do — make some changes to the Statement based on my suggestions — then one would think that he would have discussed the plan with CBMW leaders including Grudem back in 2010.
Putting all this evidence together, I suggest that it is highly likely that Wayne Grudem is at least somewhat aware of our concerns about CBMW’s approach to domestic abuse. Yet he does not appear to have done anything about it. Like the others at CBMW, he appears to have been sitting on his hands.
And of course, CBMW and many of its allies do not allow comments on their blogs, so they automatically prevent themselves from being exposed to feedback from outsiders.
Details of my attempts to get CBMW to review their Statement on Abuse
In July 2010 I published the first version of my Critique of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Statement on Abuse at my site notunderbondage.com. On 29 July I emailed several leaders at CBMW to let them know I’d published my critique.
In August 13, Randy Stinson, who was then President of CBMW, replied:
Would you have time to talk next week for about 20 minutes? Monday or Tuesday would be best. I appreciate what you are trying to do but it would be easier to talk instead of trying to email back and forth. I will get [my secretary] to try and coordinate something with you. I look forward to it.
Randy Stinson, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
I was so excited! But the proposed talk never eventuated. I emailed him politely and briefly a few times more. As he continued to not reply, I cc’d to other CBMW folk as well in the hope that one of them might hold Stinson to account, or at least interact with me in lieu of Stinson interacting with me if he was too busy. No reply from anyone.
On October 14 (was I patient enough?) I emailed Randy Stinson to let him know that if he didn’t follow through on his avowed intention to dialogue, I would be putting an addendum on my post advising my readers that Stinson had said he wanted to talk with me but had failed to follow through. Therefore, it seemed that CBMW was unwilling to review its Statement on Abuse, was unwilling to enter into dialogue, unwilling to listen to victim-survivors of domestic abuse, and saw no need to improve its approach to domestic abuse. And I would be encouraging concerned readers to email CBMW.
Well. Stinson replied on Oct 19 (boldface added by me) —
Let me first start out by saying that I have every intention of taking your concerns about our statement seriously. You have made some good points in your critique and I plan to implement some of them…. I would like to address a few matters with you.
First, your threat below is way over the top. I appreciate your tenacity, but why would you think that this is the way to operate? I want you to know that my response today is in spite of it, not because of it. I have an email from you that goes back a couple of years. In it, you actually compliment our statement and thought highly enough of it that you suggested that it should be on the front page of our website. You are entitled to change your mind, but I do not understand how one makes such an angry shift. Now you practically have us as accomplices in the act of abuse. As I mentioned, I plan to make some changes, but it is a good statement and a strong statement. I find it hard to believe that there are people out there finding loopholes in our statement and then justifying abuse. I also am puzzled at why you would expend so much energy over tweaking our statement, when I am certain there are other places in the evangelical community that have no statements at all.
Second, your assumption below is that if we do not respond to you then we must not care about the abused. You may need to get comfortable with the fact that you are not the only person that we are hearing from. There are many people with whom we are in conversation that are either victims of abuse themselves, or work to help victims of abuse. We did not create this statement in a vacuum. Many people were involved including pastors. It seems a little off to assume that because someone does not specifically listen to you in particular, then they must not care at all.
Third, I do not know of anyone who seriously thinks we are pro-abuse or pro-abusers. Again, your intimation below that if we don’t change the statement we somehow fall into this category is completely unfounded.
Barbara, as I mentioned earlier, I do plan to make some changes based on your suggestions. I will not make every change you suggested. I also will not be held to some artificial timeline imposed by you. As you have noticed, CCing multiple people on emails like you have been doing is not effective. Most people do not like that so I would appreciate you just contacting me with any concerns you might have. This will help you gain a higher level of credibility in the future.
I am willing to continue some dialogue through email if you wish to.
I emailed Stinson once more, and he did not reply. (I can provide evidence upon request.)
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Why did I put Wayne Grudem’s name in the title of this post, when he is only one person within CBMW and the buck stops with CBMW as a whole? I did it because Grudem is probably the most prolific and influential teacher of ERAS / ESS / EFS. Grudem has been pushing ERAS for years and years while being content to let CBMW’s Statement on Abuse languish and gather dust on the shelves somewhere in the bowels of the basement at CBMW. And I did it because Grudem is one of the founders of CBMW, so the buck stops more with him than many others. I’ve left out Piper, the other founder of CBMW, because he is in retirement now (though he still tweets…)