Friday, March 31, 2017

I Think I've Been Intellectually Snobbed

Otis and Sean Shoot at the Curmudgeon






                                     

             

Yesterday, The Aquila Report republished my Blog  "Critical Race Theory, RTS, and SBTS". In this Blog I provided a description of Critical Race Theory, quoted at length from the published writings of Dr. Jarvis Williams and Mr. Jemar Tisby, and concluded:
It is not inference or implication that “Critical Race Theory” strongly influences the thinking of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby. One can draw a straight line from “Critical Race Theory” to the way these man look at race, culture, politics, society, and the particular form of society that is the church. It is impossible to miss the reality that when they speak about racial reconciliation within the church they are borrowing the language of “Critical Race Theory.
I then asked three questions:
1. Are the ways of looking at race associated with Critical Race Theory compatible with the views of our Lord and his Apostles? Or is “Critical Race Theory” a grid through which the texts of the New Testament are read by scholars such as Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby? 
2. Is what the Presbyterian Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention mean by racial reconciliation what Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby mean by racial reconciliation?
3. Re Drs. Duncan and Mohler: Do they (a) agree with, (b) are they concerned about, (c) or are they dealing with the views of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby in their institutions?

I did not provide answers to my three questions. I wanted readers to think about the questions and possibly to respond to them. I will now answer my three questions briefly. Question 1: (a) no (b) yes. Question 2: Partially but significantly. The views of scholars and activists such as Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby have influenced what the SBC and PCA mean by Racial Reconciliation. Is the average ruling elder attending the PCA General Assembly or the average lay messenger to the SBC, who with good heart wants to pursue racial reconciliation, aware of this influence? I doubt it. But are those who craft motions, resolutions, and overtures aware of the influence of CRT on the understanding of racial reconciliation? Yes. Question 3: I do not know.

When I wrote the Blog, I thought it was pretty straightforward: (1) Here is what Critical Race Theory is. (2) Here are the views of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby. (3) Comparing the description of CRT to what these two men have written makes it clear that they are strongly influenced by CRT. (4) So here are three questions. I thought that there would be those who would think I had done a service by writing the Blog (there were) and those who would think what I wrote would not be good for the cause of racial reconciliation (there were). 

But I was a little surprised by responses on Twitter by two academics Dr. Otis Pickett and Dr. Sean Lucas. Their responses share the view that I don't know what I am talking about. 


                                


Dr. Otis Pickett is an Assistant Professor in the areas of History and Political Science at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Dr. Pickett began by expressing a concern about The Aquila Report's having published my Blog:  
it is irresponsible to post this from a personal blog as in any way authoritative. It is combative, uncharitable & inaccurate

Readers will have to judge if the Blog is combative and uncharitable. My own take, for what it's worth, is that it is neither. I would class it as partly polemic (polemics a form of theological rhetoric) and charitable if charity includes truth-telling. 

I did inquire of Dr. Pickett what was inaccurate. His responses that addressed this criticism included:
your understanding of studies of race theory in last century in this article is rooted in a UCLA website

it is one school. A school where none of the people you mentioned studied or spent any time. It is inaccurate & meant to provoke

it is true. I have studied race for 18 years @ 3 universities. Each university has different philosophy based on interests of profs
 there r hundreds of scholars in multiple disciplines that wrote about race for 100 yrs. You limit all studies to one interpretation
Here is how why I quoted from the UCLA website to describe CRT: (1) I thought it wise not describe CRT in my own words, mainly to protect myself from the kind of criticism Dr. Pickett has made. (2) I did not want to quote a source like Wikipedia. (3) I wanted a source (a) from an academic institution, (b) that teaches CRT, (c) is sympathetic to CRT, and (d) that seeks to describe CRT apart from the peculiarities of its own programs.

I believe that a person reading the quotation from the UCLA source will find it reads like an academic dictionary article. I also believe that, if someone interested to do so, reads as many sources as he/she likes on CRT, he/she will find that the term "Critical Race Theory" is a term that has meaning for the simple reason that no matter what one reads one will find that they share the same vocabulary and concepts. It is my belief that what is published at the UCLA website is a fair description of what CRT is. I further believe that the vocabulary and concepts used by Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby are borrowed from CRT.

Here is the the most significant problem with Dr. Pickett's responses: If Dr. Pickett is correct, then the term "Critical Race Theory" is meaningless. It is impossible to trace, describe or define. Every school, every department, every professor has its/his/her understanding of the term. No ordinary person can understand CRT because there are too many and different operating concepts, too many nuances, and too much more than such person can know and digest to understand it. Not even scholars such as Dr. Pickett can tell us what CRT is because it means different things to different people. 

In other words, I do not know what I am talking about because, as an ordinary person, I am not qualified to say what CRT is and to recognize CRT in the writings of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby.

Dr. Sean Lucas is the Senior Minister at the Independent Presbyterian Church of Memphis. Dr. Lucas' criticism is that I am guilty of a logical fallacy:
If there was ever an example of the genetic fallacy, this would be it. #sigh

I responded to Dr. Lucas by telling him I had majored in philosophy in college and had taken courses in both standard and symbolic logic, so there was a good chance I could understand if he pointed out to me how I had committed genetic fallacy. He declined. 

Assuming that, unlike Dr. Pickett's view that CRT is incapable of definition, there is a definition of the genetic fallacy, here is the one Wikipedia gives, which I believe is a good one:
The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue) is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone's or something's history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.
The fallacy therefore fails to assess the claim on its merit. The first criterion of a good argument is that the premises must have bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim in question. Genetic accounts of an issue may be true, and they may help illuminate the reasons why the issue has assumed its present form, but they are not conclusive in determining its merits.
Here is the Wikipedia example of this fallacy:
Some Christians may have experienced this fallacy: "You're not going to put up a Christmas tree in your home are you? Don't you know that custom comes from paganism?" 

Here is what I think Dr. Lucas is saying to me: "You begin with a description of CRT. Among the relatively few evangelical Christians who have ever heard of CRT, for many of them it has negative connotations. You then quote Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby and say you think that they have been influenced by CRT and that it is evident in their writing." (Now this assumption is required for Dr. Lucas' argument: "But their writing does not reveal the influence of CRT.") With this assumption, the conclusion is: "You have smeared Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby, that is, committed the genetic fallacy, by associating their views and writing with CRT."

Here is the problem with Dr. Lucas' attribution of the genetic fallacy to my Blog. The relation of the views of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby to CRT is not similar to relation wedding rings to ankle chains and Christmas trees to pagan practices. Critical Race Theory and the writings of Dr. Williams and Mr. Tisby are contemporaneous. Read their articles I have quoted and many more and note the concepts and vocabulary they use. Is there a genetic difference between what scholars of CRT and what these two men say? I still believe this is true: 
One can draw a straight line from “Critical Race Theory” to the way these man look at race, culture, politics, society, and the particular form of society that is the church. 

What conservative evangelical churches have coming at them is a train pulled by two powerful locomotives. One locomotive is race. The other locomotive is gender (or what used to be called sex). If you want some insight about that second locomotive read and listen to this.

I have noticed that for some reason an old Blog I wrote, This Doesn't End Well for the PCA, has been getting a lot of looks. The more I observe the PCA, the more convinced I am that it doesn't. I think that 1973 cannot be repeated. There are not sufficient ministers of stature, who see what is happening, to lead and join with the ruling elders of the PCA to stop those speeding locomotives.  









19 comments:

  1. Thank you Bill for taking the arrows, this needs to be exposed. The silence of those viewed as leaders in the PCA is deafening. We have taken the posture that we will never again be perceived as "backward" on race or gender issues (as defined by the world) and those demands for change will be used to defeat orthodoxy by those who have that purpose.

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  2. Bill,

    This is the sort of stuff that made me so concerned about the PCA Strategic Plan adopted in Nashville in 2010. Making seats at the table for folks solely based on skin color was and is a bad idea. That's why I voted against the Strategic Plan on just about every motion that was offered. Thanks for speaking up.

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  3. Hi, Bill:

    I'm glad to know you majored in philosophy. My point was simple: the genetic fallacy, as you quote the definition, is one in which one suggests a causal link based on genetic similarity. You said, in summary,
    "a) here's CRT; b) here's similarities that Williams and Tisby have to CRT; c) ergo, CRT has significantly influenced them, and not just them but others in the PCA who are working for racial reconciliation." This is a text book example of genetic fallacy.

    Peace, sml

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    1. Good to hear from you, Sean. I show in the Blog above why I have written is not a case, textbook or otherwise of the genetic fallacy. Of course, you are free to keep saying it is. Free speech and all.

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  4. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for following up and copying me in on this.

    I have two questions for you, which you may or may not feel the need to answer:

    1. This whole kerfuffle seems to revolve around "racial reconciliation. "Do you feel that there is a need for "racial reconciliation" in the American evangelical church, particularly between whites and blacks?
    2. Have you ever discussed "racial reconciliation" of the kind proposed by Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Michelle Higgins with a black proponent of it?

    Thanks!

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  5. I have two questions for you, which you may or may not feel the need to answer:

    1. This whole kerfuffle seems to revolve around "racial reconciliation. "Do you feel that there is a need for "racial reconciliation" in the American evangelical church, particularly between whites and blacks?

    Yes, I believe there should be reconciliation within the church - reconciliation with God and with one another. Whether it is helpful to focus on "racial reconciliation...particularly between whites and black" I am doubtful. Here is a summary of what I believer regarding reconciliation:

    But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    I understand this text according to Paul's and the Holy Spirit's intent in giving it to us which we then can apply according to its intent within our churches.

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  6. 2. Have you ever discussed "racial reconciliation" of the kind proposed by Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Michelle Higgins with a black proponent of it?

    I have attempted to discuss it online with Jemar and Thabiti. What I have found is that they cut off discussion (both block me from commenting) because I do not accept their grid - which brings us back to CRA.

    I think there are a lot of parallels to what happens in academic settings today. Let's say that within a department of English you have got several approaches to the understanding of literature. Let's say that there is a seminar in which it is agreed in advance that the material to be studied is the novels of Walker Percy. One studies and discusses the novels in accord with the standard canons of interpretation. Another is a Marxist. He interprets the novels in terms of current Marxist hermeneutics and may object that since Percy was known to have bourgeoisie prejudices. Then you have got a feminist who reads with feminist hermeneutics and who may protest that the seminar is confined to the study of the works of a man. Then you have a black person who reads the texts with the CRT hermeneutic, and who protests that Percy was raised by his uncle who was a racist and that Percy himself was white. Then you have a representative of the queer faculty who will read Percy with a queer hermeneutic and who will suggest that since Percy's uncle was probably queer this no doubt shaped Percy in ways Percy did not know.

    Now what have you got? These people can hardly talk to one another. They speak different languages though the words are all in English. The probably can't agree on a place from which to order lunch.They have no shared way of studying Percy. They are balkanized. Welcome to post-modernism in the academy.

    CRT has so shaped the way of making sense of the Scriptures and analyzing the church that it is becoming almost impossible to talk. CRT has in fact contributed a great deal to the disunity of the church. The church is rapidly coming to be like the English faculty I described. It is very destructive. It is very sad. But, I am very pessimistic that the church can be pulled back from the brink of chaos and disunity. We can no longer talk about the church or understand the Scriptures together.




    v

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  7. https://justacurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2017/04/i-play-43-race-cards.html

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Hello Bill, I've seen your comments often on SSB and Twitter. And because your screen name is 'just a curmudgeon' I've usually skipped over them rather than read them.

    Allow me to tell you why. As a survivor of domestic abuse I have an automatic aversion to reading things written by a 'curmudgeon' because that means a bad-tempered or surly person. I had more than enough of bad-tempered and surly comments from my abusive husband.

    Maybe you've never thought about how your social media handle affects people like me. So I wanted to bring it to your attention.

    Also, I'm not qualified to comment on the race issue but I'd like to know your perception of the 'gender locomotive' that is going to affect the PCA. Do you think there is a problem of misogyny in the PCA? If so, what things make you think that? And what suggestions do you have for dealing with it?

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    1. PS. As I do not think the comments section provided by this Blog service allow for links to be given, I think, if you want to read the Blogs I mention in my response to your note, you will have to copy and paste into your browser. Sorry for that. Bill

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  10. Dear Barbara,

    Thanks for your note.

    I am sorry that the name of my Blog has a negative impact on you. I have written two Blogs on the reason for the choice of the word "Curmudgeon." Perhaps you would like to read them:

    http://thechristiancurmudgeonmo.blogspot.com/search?q=A+Christian+Curmudgeon%3F

    https://justacurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-curmudgeon-reinvents-himself.html

    To move on, one thing I have noted in your writing is that you have a filter which I think affects negatively the way you perceive people in particular and the world in general. I have actually written about this grid of yours. You can find it at the link below:

    http://thechristiancurmudgeonmo.blogspot.com/2014/08/when-grids-are-blinders.html

    Do I think there is a problem with misogyny in the PCA? Well, I am sure there must be some misogynists among the PCA's members. But is misogyny a characteristic of the PCA? Does misogyny affect its doctrines, policies, and practice? I think not. Therefore, I have no suggestions for dealing with what believe is non-existent problem. As I wrote I think the real problem is that the "gender apartheid locomotive" could pull the PCA train in the direction of denying some basic and clear Biblical teaching about role relationships of men and women in home and church as taught by the Apostles in such places as Eph.5, 1 Peter 2, and 1 Tim. 2.

    You have my sympathy for your experience of domestic abuse. No person should have to suffer that, especially not within Christian marriage. At the same time, I think that you have allowed your experience to become an interpretative grid that affects the way you see everything, and I think that is not healthy for you or the church or the people you want to help.

    May God's grace prove ever sufficient in your life.

    Bill

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  11. Bill, I put to you that you have a filter of your own. And that your filter hasn't taken into account that domestic abuse is a widespread problem in the church — a problem which the church has been dealing with very unBiblically. Many churches in the PCA (and in other conservative denominations) are dealing out injustice to victims of domestic abuse. Often the abuse victim is falsely blamed for the marriage problem/marriage breakdown. Often the victim is stigmatized unfairly. And sometimes the victim is actually excommunicated for divorcing the abuser. And since most victims of domestic abuse are female, this is a problem which in my observation is related to misogynist presuppositions in the church.

    These misogynist presuppositions are underpinned and upheld by false doctrines. ESS (Eternal Subordination of the Son) is one false doctrine which has a misogynist effect on the church. Another false doctrine is the notion that woman's desire is to usurp man's authority. I've written extensively about both these matters and you can read all my articles at A Cry For Justice, if you are interested.

    Another contributor to the problem is the way that teachers and leaders in the church have emphasised certain biblical precepts and under-emphasised other biblical precepts. The result has been that the church is largely ignorant about the mentality and tactics of evildoers and how they hide out in the church.

    I'm a Reformed Baptist. The five points of TULIP are my understanding of soteriology. I honour all the teaching of Jesus and Paul and Moses regarding marriage and divorce; and my book "Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion" gives a detailed analysis of all their teachings, with many references to other authors and commentators. I conclude that domestic abuse is grounds for divorce, the same as adultery and 'simple desertion by an unbeliever' are grounds for divorce. I maintain that abuse is a form of desertion by an unbeliever. My position on divorce is not all that unusual: I share it with some of the Puritans, and with quite a few Reformed and conservative Christians today.

    The website A Cry For Justice is co-led by Ps Jeff Crippen and myself. Jeff is also a Reformed Baptist.

    You will find NOTHING on our site which argues for female ordination, women pastors or women elders. Neither Jeff nor I want the church to allow female ordination. We are not on that locomotive: in fact, I explicitly uphold the idea that only men should be pastors and elders.

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    1. Here is my filter, Barbara. God created man and woman and joined them in marriage. Sin entered the world and twisted both the individuals and the institution. But the fall did not change the permanence of the relationship. Marriage can be broken in some cases, but those cases are very limited, adultery and desertion. I agree that physical abuse is a ground for divorce, but only because the physical abuser forced he abused victim to flee for physical safety. Divorce is not required in circumstances of adultery or desertion, but it is permitted. Being married to a lousy person is not a ground for divorce. That is why, since my campus ministry days, I have always counseled couples to be careful when they make the choice to marry another person,because "this is permanent. You can't get out of it because you regret the decision." So I counseled them, "Be sure you can love this woman and that she will allow you to lead in marriage.' And. "Be sure you have confidence in this man and that you trust him to be the leader of the relationship." I have never told anyone who came to me after marriage, regretting the decision, "Well, since it did not turn out like you hoped, it is ok for you to pursue divorce." So I have told them, "In the providence of God you have made this decision. I am sorry you are unhappy and that marriage had not turned out the way you hoped it would be. I am sorry you married or jerk (or a shrew). But God in his providence has called you to this marriage, and your obedience to God is to make the best of it you can, to do your part regardless of whether the other does his/hers. Lack of reciprocation is not a ground of divorce." This is the teaching of the Bible, and it is the historic teaching of the church. In fact, what I just laid out is rather liberal looking at standards of the whole church over 2000 years of Christian history. I hate to think of the disobedience you have encouraged by your teaching on grounds for divorce.

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    2. Bill, with those views and that mis-chacterization of domestic abuse, you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

      And since you've shown yourself not open to being educated on this topic, I'm not going to try to educate you any more.

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    3. Barbara, you could not more clearly demonstrate your gnosticism. You and your fellows have knowledge. Those of us who do not agree with you are the unenlightened. We are blind and cannot see what you see. We need to be enlightened by being educated by you into the special knowledge you have. Since we remain in the darkness we are part of the problem that perpetuates abuse within the church. Thus we are responsible for not helping victims to escape their abusers. It does not matter that we are willing to study the Bible and exegete the relevant texts. It does not matter that our views are those of historic Christianity. You have found that there are many things which can be labelled abuse and that all of these are grounds for divorce. You have discovered these things, and now you are on a mission to educate the ignorant. Moreover, you and your fellows designate faithful men as blind guides though the churches to which they are responsible have never found them guilty of teaching error. So you have the authority which Christ has given to the church. I am not a psychologist, but i do see in your "ministry" evidences of unhealthy obsession and extreme hubris. This results in a cultish mentality and a cultish labeling of others. In many ways your mirror the Baylys. They are the cult of patriarchy. You and your fellows are the cult of abuse.

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    4. Barbara, you could not more clearly demonstrate your gnosticism. You and your fellows have knowledge. Those of us who do not agree with you are the unenlightened. We are blind and cannot see what you see. We need to be enlightened by being educated by you into the special knowledge you have. Since we remain in the darkness we are part of the problem that perpetuates abuse within the church. Thus we are responsible for not helping victims to escape their abusers. It does not matter that we are willing to study the Bible and exegete the relevant texts. It does not matter that our views are those of historic Christianity. You have found that there are many things which can be labelled abuse and that all of these are grounds for divorce. You have discovered these things, and now you are on a mission to educate the ignorant. Moreover, you and your fellows designate faithful men as blind guides though the churches to which they are responsible have never found them guilty of teaching error. So you have the authority which Christ has given to the church. I am not a psychologist, but i do see in your "ministry" evidences of unhealthy obsession and extreme hubris. This results in a cultish mentality and a cultish labeling of others. In many ways your mirror the Baylys. They are the cult of patriarchy. You and your fellows are the cult of abuse.

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  12. Bill, on your "When Grids Are Blinders" post you asserted that our definition of Domestic Abuse is gnostic. I deny that our definition of domestic abuse is gnostic. I also deny that it a construct of sociology and therapy rather than a construct of theology.

    Our definition of domestic abuse is entirely consistent with the Bible. The Bible has a lot to say about 'revilers' (VERBAL ABUSERS). It also talks about WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING -- and many husbands who are presenting themselves as christians in the church are in fact wolves in sheep's clothing -- their wives and children know the wolf side of the man because he abuses them behind closed doors, but the rest of the congregation have no idea because the abusive man is so skilled at wearing his Dr Jekyll mask in public. The Bible warns husbands not to be harsh with their wives. It instructs a husband to self-sacrificially love and care for his wife and to "show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." It tells husbands not to exasperate their children. All those things are cautions to the husband to restrain him from being abusive to his family. Abusive husbands disobey all those instructions.

    The Bible also has a lot to say about the AFFLICTED and how people sometimes suffer even though they have done nothing wrong (Jesus being a case in point, and His disciples being persecuted after He rose from the dead).

    The Bible also talks about FINANCIAL abuse — robbing people by craft and deception — ruling over them harshly for financial gain. Abusive husbands often do this. The Bible talks about SEXUAL abuse (all the laws against sexual immorality) and it commands that the marriage bed be a place where each party has equal authority over the other party's body (1 Cor 7:4). Abusive husbands almost always disobey 1 Cor 7:4 —they demean, mistreat, coerce and assault their wives sexually. The Bible also talks about SOCIAL ABUSE — how abusers spread slander (false accusations) about their targets, so that the target (the victim) is stigmatized and socially isolated. The Bible talks about SPIRITUAL ABUSE— how abusers distort and twist the Word of God in order to domineer over and crush their victims. I could go on giving you more points from the Bible that are consistent with our definition of domestic abuse, but this comment is pretty long already.

    Our definition of domestic abuse is also consistent with the experiences of innumerable victims of domestic abuse. We hear their accounts at A Cry For Justice all the time. I've read thousands if not tens of thousands of accounts from survivors of domestic abuse. Most of the accounts are from females but some are from male victims. I support all genuine victims of domestic abuse regardless of whether they are male or female.

    Our 'Hall of Blind Guides' does indeed name people like John Piper, John Macarthur, Jay Adams, PeaceMakers and Focus on the Family. We call all those folks 'blind guides' because what they teach about marriage & divorce and the advice they give about responding to spousal abuse is not Biblical, so it is unjust and very harmful to victims of abuse. The advice they give enables the abusers to remain relatively unaccountable. And it unjustly blames and stigmatizes the victim of abuse.

    On our 'Hall of Blind Guides' page we explain that "this list represents well known organisations, theologians, pastors, counselors and others who are in our opinion, not safe resources for abuse victims. ... They are blind to the nature and mentality of abuse, thus the name 'Blind Guides.' "

    If anyone wants to learn how better to respond to domestic abuse, here is a place you could start:
    https://cryingoutforjustice.com/as-a-pastor-what-are-the-most-important-things-for-me-to-know-about-domestic-abuse/

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    1. Barbara,

      I don't want to get into an extended electronic debate, but I think your reasoning is wrong and unBiblical.

      Here is what I think your reasoning is:

      1. Domestic abuse is a ground for divorce.
      2. You and your ministry define domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is much more than an attack on a person's body. There is work abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, social abuse, etc.
      3. Therefore any wife who has experienced what you define as a domestic abuse has the right of divorce.

      I think you and your ministry are quite wrong. Some women are married to jerks. Some men are married to shrews. Finding oneself in an unhappy, unfulfilling marriage does not justify divorce. A marriage entered is assumed to be binding despite ill treatment and unhappiness. For some their marriages are part of following the life of the cross in following our Lord. Such marriages are trials to be test, burdens to bear, thorns which we ask to be taken away but to which our Lord replies, My grace is sufficient for you. The trials of this life can include many things - ill health, poverty, disappointments, broken hearts, unhappy marriages, lousy bosses, powerful temptations, depressive episodes, etc Nobody wants these things. Those who experience deserve our sympathy, support, encouragement. Some things that husbands or wives do to make for unhappy marriages are offenses that can be in some cases grounds for church discipline. But they are not grounds for divorce.

      Our Lord said plainly, "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." He and the Apostle Paul told us that there are certain limited grounds for marriages to be put asunder. But neither said, "A woman may divorce her husband if he is a jerk." What I think you and your ministry are doing is playing the role of "man putting asunder what God has joined" by giving grounds of divorce that are not Biblical.

      I think also that you are wrong to label MacArthur, Adams, and Piper as "blind guides." When did our Lord give to you and your ministry the authority to judge thee men? You are in fact slandering good men who do much good. I disagree with all three in several matters. But they are not blind guides. I do not think it is they, but rather you and your ministry who are distorting the Word of God.

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