"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


i feel ill

Oh, Bruce Ware. Blaming non-submissive women for spousal abuse is probably not the best way to get more people into the Southern Baptist fold. Just a suggestion.


Blogger Tauratinzwe said...

Let's see, women are responsible for spouse abuse because they aren't submissive. Children are responsible for pedophiles because they're cute(?). Girls are responsible for rape because they are female. Men are not responsible for their actions (in Ware's [un]biblical view because God created them first.

Pardon me while I throw up.

Friday, June 27, 2008 12:33:00 PM

Blogger Michael said...

I don't agree with everything he said, BUT he did say that men, because we are sinful, may be abusive. I don't think he is suggesting that women are solely to blame for this (regardless what the article title says). I don't think the article is even about abused women. It is about relationships and how men and women don't understand their roles in Christ (and know i don't mean cultural roles like cooking for women and working for men).

Friday, June 27, 2008 1:01:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Michael, I agree with you that the headline was misleading, but I read through it several times, and the root of what he said is that men become abusive because it's one of two possible responses to women not submitting.

I definitely come at this from an egalitarian viewpoint, and so obviously I'm going to disagree with a lot of Ware's interpretation on gender roles. To me, Paul's statement that there is neither male nor female in Christ means that our belief and baptism created a radical equality that was foreign to most existing cultures at the time.

Friday, June 27, 2008 1:37:00 PM

Blogger Michael said...

I won't disagree that we are equal in Christ. We all, male and female, are the brides. That's why it is so difficult for men to submit to Christ. They have difficulty submitting to anyone.

However, I don't see Paul's statement as meaning equality in the traditional sense of equality as we see it (women in the military, women voting, etc.).

I think he is referring to equality in the sense that regardless of our sex, race, national origin etc., we are all loved by Christ equally and we all have the same duty as Christians. In other words, Christ didn't come to save the heads of the households, but everyone.

I don't believe that men should rule over women. I hope I haven't come across that way. I do think that women are to submit to their husbands as their husbands submit to Christ. It is the last part of that that is never remembered when people quote that verse. And people also hear the word "submit" and think it means "do whatever i tell you." Out of all the verses in the Bible, this one is taken out of context more than others it seems.

Anyways, that is a lot of writing to say, I kinda agree and kinda disagree.

Friday, June 27, 2008 4:53:00 PM

Blogger Angela said...


Friday, June 27, 2008 5:37:00 PM

Blogger Lin said...

Who gets to decide if she is really unsubmissive?

The abuser, of course.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:07:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Great point, Lin.

Monday, June 30, 2008 11:21:00 AM

Blogger Michael and Jenny Clark said...

Hello again.

I would like to comment on your most recent post concerning Dr. Bruce Ware and his comments concerning submission and spousal abuse.

In one of his sermons, Dr. Ware comments that because of the fall, one of the natural, sinful tendencies of women is now to rule over their husbands, and therefore disrupt the order that was set out by God in Genesis.

Dr. Ware says that in the desire for women to have their own way versus showing obedience and submissiveness to her husband, the husband will respond and “He will have to rule, and because he's a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive--and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that--but here's the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say 'OK dear,' 'Whatever you say dear,' 'Fine dear' and become a passive husband, because of sin."

It is important to note that Dr. Ware said (paraphrase from above) that because the husband is a sinner, one way they will desire to rule over their spouse if by being abusive and oppressive, and we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that.”

In your post you stated that Dr. Ware was “Blaming non-submissive women for spousal abuse.” Dr. Ware did nothing of the sort. He was showing some of the natural challenges of living in a fallen world and how it affects the relationship between husband and wife. One of the ways women sin is by trying to over-power their husbands, versus following the relationship set out in Scripture that Christ is the head, then the husband, then the wife. One of the ways men sin as it relates to their response to unsubmissive or dominant wives is abuse. The emphasis in his comments is clearly not on blaming women for spousal abuse – but rather blaming sin, and showing the effects of sin on women and men in relationship.

I also would like to note that the goal of preaching and teaching on the role and relationships of men and women as presented in Scripture is not about being politically correct, and therefore to, “get more people into the Southern Baptist fold,” and I am sure Dr. Ware would agree. Being true to the word of God is bound to cause anger and frustration among people, it has all throughout church history. When the word of God is preached and presented, some people are going to disagree, especially as it related to the egalitarian and complementarian debate. (and I know we disagree on this as we have already discussed) However, we are not about softening Scripture in order to appeal to more people, and therefore “get them into the Southern Baptist Fold”. We are about preaching the word and allowing it to penetrate hearts. I am sure you would agree.

Monday, June 30, 2008 2:37:00 PM

Blogger Hannah said...

Mr. Ware doesn't use the defination of abuse properly, and that is why he is getting into hot water.

Abusive people abuse because that is whom they are. There is no BUT they did whatever! They live by evil habit patterns.

I think at times he takes things to literally. IF that is true than you can also logically conclude from Genesis 3 that men are naturallly inclined to blame GOd and their wives for their sin!

Now seriously whom can believe that generalization as a whole as well?

Monday, June 30, 2008 5:19:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Hi, Jenny,

Thanks for stopping by again. I understand your points, but I looked very carefully at Dr. Ware's sermon (especially the 10 points) before posting on it, and I have to say that I'm convinced that he was implicitly blaming women for spousal abuse. His comments fit into a long church tradition that blames women for all sin in the world because women are daughters of Eve. You may be right that he is only blaming sin, but he's blaming the sin of women first, with the implication that there would not be spousal abuse in this world if women were just submissive. There's plenty of evidence of submissive women in this world who are still abused by their sinful husbands. I don't think Dr. Ware believes that all spousal abuse is caused by women, but the words in his sermon certainly imply that he does.

My comment about getting people into the Southern Baptist fold was snide, and for that I apologize. But I do think it's interesting that in a year when the SBC is doing a considerable amount of soul-searching as to why baptisms, membership, etc. have stagnated, people like Ware are making statements that are so off-putting as to drive people away from the church. If I were an abused woman and heard these comments, I certainly wouldn't look to my local Baptist church for help. Preaching the truth is one thing; preaching an interpretation that is questionable at best and harmful at worst is quite another.

Monday, June 30, 2008 8:46:00 PM

Blogger Michael and Jenny Clark said...

I tried to post a second ago but I guess it didn't work? Here is my post again. Thanks!

First I would like to comment that the “long history of men blaming women for sin” is more of a stereotype than a reality these days. When is Eve blamed in the NT? Its always Adam that is the identified as the root cause of sin into the world. As such, if people have blamed women or Eve for the fall, then they are not being biblical. Dr. Ware is too intelligent of a theologian to make this mistake and blame eve/women for sin in the world like you suggest so many others do.

Also - to imply that a pastor and theologian such as Dr. Ware is “blaming women for spousal abuse.” Is a serious implication and I would have been far more cautious to post something like that before asking Dr. Ware for clarification (which is necessary since you say its implied, meaning he doesn’t directly say this).

I know Dr. Ware personally, and if you think that he is implying this – you should consider sending him a direct email and ask him to clarify versus posting up such a very serious claim about him.

My husband and I both know Dr. Ware and his wife and two daughters, we have been to his home and he is without question one of the godliest men we know and we would be one of the first to stand up and defend women especially when it comes to something like abuse. I think it would be best to email him and ask him to clarify his statements in the sermon you read. You can get his email address online through the Southern Seminary faculty listing, www.sbts.edu.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008 12:28:00 PM


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