In his book, I Told Me So, Gregg A. Ten Elshof writes, “We manage our attention in order not to see things. In our avoidance of the truth, we procrastinate, adjust our sentiments, rationalize, and switch perspectives. And when none of that works, we solicit the help of our fellow self-deceivers.”
I’m thankful for those in the church who are calling our attention to the things we work desperately hard not to see.
Giant Church Inc recently posted their thoughts regarding 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. If you’re unfamiliar with the passage let me summarize Paul’s words………….better yet, I’ll let Eugene Peterson give his summary of Paul’s words:
The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.1 Corinthians 7:3-5 The Message
This translation is in stark contrast to what some in the church teach about marriage and sex. Specifically, three phrases in these verses (in the Message and in the more traditional translations such as the CSB or NIV) are ignored, dismissed, or twisted by Giant Church Inc.
- a place of mutuality – instead of mutuality, Giant Church Inc teaches a power-over relationship in marriage in which the husband has the ultimate authority.
- not a place to “stand up for your rights” – Giant Church Inc teaches that the “rights” of the husband take precedence over everything else, especially when it comes to sex. He is entitled to sex with his wife, regardless of how she feels. Giant Church Inc gives no more information regarding abuse, infidelity, or other extenuating circumstances when highlighting the duty of sex.
- a decision to serve the other – regarding sex, Giant Church Inc teaches that the wife is to serve the husband always. It is her duty and responsibility to meet his sexual needs.
One in Four
In a healthy marriage where each partner is faithful, values the other, and is seeking God faithfully, the verses in 1 Corinthians 7 may be life-giving. Unfortunately, many Christian women are in abusive marriages and these verses are used to manipulate and coerce wives to stay in the marriage and keep having sex with their abusive husbands.
Leslie Vernick states that 1 in 4 Christian women are in emotionally destructive marriages. She recently highlighted a disturbing teaching that has infiltrated Christian circles for too long: wives are to willingly suffer abuse. This is not the heart of God!
In case you think this kind of teaching is uncommon, read what Julie Roys reported on recently regarding John MacArthur’s ministry and the cover up of abuse. It is shocking! The implication in every one of the cases is that wives are responsible for the husbands’ problems. In one case, it was stated that a husband started “sleeping” with his four-year old step-daughter because he was unsatisfied with his wife.
No. This is evil. A man can’t sleep with a four-year old. It’s called rape.
Church, we must change the way we teach about our bodies, sex, and marriage. This is the foundation: So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.
We are image bearers of God. Each one of us. Men and women. Not one more than the other. We are not created to be consumed by one another for pleasure. We are created to bear the image of God to the world. We must learn to see one another in this way and can do that only with God’s help. How can we make new habits of seeing one another as image bearers of God?
The Great Sex Rescue by Sheila Gregoire is an excellent resource for learning about sex and marriage in alignment with God’s view. We need to unlearn some of the things we’ve been taught. This book is a great starting point and this podcast interview with Shelia will change your marriage forever. If you listen and make the necessary changes!
Natalie Hoffman recently interviewed Andrew Bauman. He is a licensed mental health counselor with a master’s degree in counseling psychology from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. He’s the author of How Not to Be an *SS, The Sexually Healthy Man, Floating Away, Stumbling Toward Wholeness, The Psychology of Porn, and (with his wife Dr. Christy Bauman) A Brave Lament, a book and award-winning film. He’s also the founder and director of the Christian Counseling Center for Sexual Health & Trauma. Their discussion is on the Flying Free podcast.
This blog post highlights an important conversation about the dynamics of abuse, and the two podcasts below reveal the way this teaching has infiltrated the church and caused unfathomable damage to families; men, women, and children.
Finally, the story about the woman who washed the feet of Jesus is a lesson in how we view others. Read my recent blog post here.
Church, we are called to live out the way of Christ. Let us begin by asking God to search our hearts and allowing Him to reveal the destructive ways we’ve learned to view others. May we choose to surrender our ways to His.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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