Thursday Thought — 2equal1: a ‘ministry’ to avoid
Recently one of our Facebook readers told us of the horrific experience she had with 2equal1 Marriage Ministries. Her personal contact with the Australian directors revealed that they are not only ignorant as to the mentality and tactics of abusers but they twist and distort biblical scriptures and doctrines.
We wanted our readership to know that we have put this ‘ministry’ on our Blind Guides page. Below is some of what we have learned about them.
Australian Directors: Ian and Jane Watts
U.S. Directors: Mike and Marilyn Phillips
At the 2equal1 website their core values statement includes these two bullet points:
3. Marriage is a covenant relationship.
- Marriage between a man and a woman reflects the covenant relationship between Jesus and the Church
- Each covenant partner agrees to be faithful no matter what the other one does
- Faithfulness is unconditional
- The covenant is until death
10. Followers of Christ are an army.
- We have an objective and a mission
- We need to honor spiritual authority to be in spiritual authority
- We need to recognize and honor the different roles of those serving in the army
- We must be dedicated to fighting until we see victory manifested
- We are not individual soldiers who get to pick and choose with whom, when and where we will serve
On their website I found an 80 minute video by U.S. directors, Mike and Marilyn Phillips. My intention was to listen to it in its entirety, but I could only get through the first 15 minutes. In those few minutes they explained their (unbiblical) view on biblical covenants, which seems to be the foundation upon which they build their marriage philosophy. Here are a few quotes.
“Covenant commitment means something. And I have vowed to God and I will pay it even to my own hurt. I will pay my vow. And God is calling us to that kind of faithfulness…”
“A person can’t remarry because you made a vow and God is holding you to it…”
“In order to model who I (God) am you need to model covenant commitment — what you have vowed.”
This teaching effectively gives abusive spouses free rein to oppress their victims, and denies the victim the right to set boundaries against the abuser. Don’t be duped by this. This is not what the Bible teaches about covenants. For example: God himself divorced Israel (the northern kingdom) because they had been so unfaithful to Him (Jeremiah 3).
And we learned that the 2equal1 ‘ministry’ is set up so that couples who have been trained with the 2equal1 materials can then go out and help other couples. So it’s not just the 2equal1 website that we need to be concerned with, but also any of the trained couples who have established their own marriage ‘ministries’ based on the 2equal1 philosophy. I found one such website (standforyourmarriage.org) and I have no doubt there are many more.
Beware of not only the 2equal1 ‘ministry’ but any marriage ministry that was trained by or promotes the 2equal materials.
Barb’s book Not Under Bondage has a chapter on marriage vows, and it also discusses the difference between a unilateral covenant and a bilateral covenant. And Joe Pote discusses covenant at his blog Redeemed.