top of page

Women told to turn the other cheek... We need a new way.

Domestic violence is a pervasive and devastating problem that affects every Australian community and people of all religions. Recent research conducted by Charles Sturt University in Australia highlights the concerning prevalence of domestic violence within Christian relationships. According to the report, 22% of Christians who have been in adult intimate relationships have experienced violence, compared to just 15% of the general population. This study, sponsored by the National Anglican Family Violence Research, reveals that the issue extends beyond Anglicans, showing similar trends among other Christian denominations.


One reason domestic violence may be more common in certain Christian communities is the influence of specific theological interpretations. Some views emphasize strict controls on women's behavior and promote the idea of male authority. A study published in the Lancet in 2015 analyzed data from 66 surveys across 44 countries and found that environments supporting male control, particularly norms related to male authority over female behavior, are the greatest predictors of partner violence.


However, a closer examination of the biblical passages often used to justify control reveals that they are frequently taken out of context and do not instruct the suppression of women. For instance, 1 Timothy 2:11, which advises women to be "quiet," uses the same word translated as "peaceful" in 1 Timothy 2:2, indicating a general call for calm rather than a specific directive for women. In Ephesus, where the goddess Diana and her female priestesses held significant influence, Paul's advice to Timothy to promote peaceful behavior among female church members is understandable.


Despite these troubling statistics, there is hope. Families who regularly attend churches that foster safe and supportive environments are less likely to experience domestic violence. It is crucial to recognize that not all churches perpetuate harmful norms. Many congregations strive to promote equality, mutual respect, and safety for all members.


As Christians, we believe that men and women are created differently and yet have equally important roles in church and society. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the modern Christian church's style of teaching and preaching can be performed by both genders. Specificaly, there's no doubt both genders can share the Gospel. Galatians 3:28 reminds us, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."


To address domestic violence within Christian communities, we must reject harmful interpretations of scripture and embrace a more compassionate understanding. By promoting equality and mutual respect, we can create safer and more loving environments for everyone. I also acknowledge that not all Conservative Evangelical churches are "harmful"... But these churches must be selfaware to the issues within their congregations.


Scripture provides guidance in promoting love and respect within relationships. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." This verse highlights the sacrificial love and respect that should characterise all relationships.


Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we come before you with heavy hearts, acknowledging the pain and suffering caused by domestic violence. We pray for your guidance and wisdom as we seek to create safer communities within our churches. Help us to reject harmful interpretations of scripture and embrace your message of love, equality, and respect. Grant us the courage to stand against injustice and to support those who are hurting. May your peace and grace fill our hearts and homes, transforming us into beacons of hope and safety. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Sources:

  • Charles Sturt University study on domestic violence in Christian relationships

  • National Anglican Family Violence Research

  • Study published in the Lancet, 2015

  • The Bible, New International Version (1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:2, Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 5:25)

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page