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LifeWay Research is reporting that less than 50% of “Protestant” pastors preach on domestic violence. Those who preached on this subject once in a while, throughout the year, range in the 22 – 28% range. This does not sound good!
I must admit I don’t preach on this subject, either. But, neither do I preach on drinking, smoking, cussing, fornicating, abortion, homosexuality or incest. These are sins the Bible condemns…in specific or by implication…but unless it comes up in the passage or topic I’m preaching, it doesn’t find a home in my pulpit.
Am I Against These? Absolutely! However, the purpose of preaching in Church is not to make a list of sins and preach a sermon on each one. Rather, to preach the whole counsel of God and deal with the issues resident within whatever passage or section or Book under consideration.
The implication in the article is that NOT preaching on these subjects is a failure to minister to the culture in areas important to their well-being. This is an important point! The ravages of institutionalized sin are seen everywhere and take their toll on true believers, as well as unbelievers.
The Christian Pulpit is NOT the place to minister to the culture. It IS the place to minister God’s Word to God’s people. God has promised to honor His Word, not my clever applications or implications.
Having said this, however, it IS important to teach people how to live in this corrupt and ever-increasingly corruptible society. Domestic Violence is one of our most insidious and ‘protected’ sins. I have participated in Domestic Violence Discussions, in my City, offering the biblical perspective to this pervasive problem. I also point out, in Church settings, the options women have, biblically, when violence occurs.
The profane culture views domestic violence in a spiritual and moral vacuum. It tells women that, should they be abused, [often a broad definition] it is their responsibility to divorce their husband. Anything less is foolish. I have met scores of women who now wish they had had better information than that, when their marriages were threatened.
A man who comes home drunk is not the man you married. Often, the problem is he is acting out his natural personality when drunk. The alcohol removes inhibitions and the real man emerges: angry, violent, domineering, unreasonable, fearful, fun, loving or mean. Whatever it is, the odds are you have not met this man before and do not appreciate this part of his psyche.
A man who is having sex with other women is bringing danger into the marriage by means of possible life-altering and life-threatening disease.
A man who does drugs (even marijuana) is a dangerous man to have around. The more serious drugs do serious damage to his brain and body. Reproductive issues are at stake, along with possible diseases and mood-swings. Marijuana distorts our perceptions. Perceptions of life; perceptions of color and other visual objects, perceptions of depth. Riding in a car driven by someone who smokes marijuana may be hazardous to you and/or your childrens’ health. There are no statistics revealing how many ‘moving violations’ or accidents are the result of marijuana use.
A man who is violent toward others or toward inanimate objects is a man who will be violent with you, his loving but disagreeing wife and perhaps his children, especially if one of them isn’t his biological child. The most dangerous environment for children is living with men who are not their biological children.
An angry man is a self-centered man. His anger is triggered when things don’t go his way. It may be a work-situation, a social situation, a financial situation or almost anything that just doesn’t go his way. That anger WILL be pointed at you at some point.
What is a woman / a married woman to do? Conventional Wisdom says: Divorce Him! Get that man out of your life before something really serious happens! Part of that advice is good. Part of it is destructive.
The Bible does not give anyone the Right to divorce another person. Jesus makes it clear that divorce is the result of ‘hardness of heart.’ [Mt. 19:7; Mk 10:4] In Luke, Jesus says anyone who ‘putteth away’ his wife and marries another, commits adultery. [Lk 16:18] Divorce is an accommodation, not a Right.
The Christian is a living illustration that God Changes Hearts! He/she knows God can change that mate! However, in the face of violence, adultery, drugs, abuse, disease, etc., what’s a woman [or man] to do? GET AWAY FROM THAT PERSON!!
Leaving the house is not leaving the marriage. The effect is the same: protection. “But I have nowhere to go!” This is the problem with our ‘individualistic society.’ Family is no longer family, in the biblical sense. Children burn the family bridges. Parents view their responsibility over, when the child reaches the age of emancipation. We wear out our families. Think about that, when you just HAVE TO HAVE or DO whatever it is that may alienate you from your family.
The Christian has his / her Church! Of course, the contemporary form of ‘church’ does not see itself as a family of believers, just an audience. This can seriously complicate things. But, in a true Church, there are people who will take you and your children in, until you can get settled.
The Best Protection from Domestic Violence is to Marry Well! The old adage: Marry in haste? Repent in leisure! speaks to our impulsiveness and the vast amount of time we will have to ‘repent.’ Few Quick Decisions ever work out well.
The Best Medicine is Prevention!
C. Peter Wagner, a ‘Conservative Congregational Christian Conference’ Pastor and Missionary, was mentored by the Founder of the Field of Church Growth: Dr. Donald A. McGavran — Fuller Theological Seminary.
His Mentor in what he calls ‘The Spiritual Principles of Church Growth,’ was John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches and Vineyard Ministries International.
Using the Allegorical Method of Biblical Interpretation, Wagner “discovered” that when Jesus was talking about not putting new wine in old wineskins [Mt. 9:17], He was really talking about not doing church the same in every culture and/or in every age.
His research revealed Jesus did not always build His Church the same way. What He did in the Roman Empire was different from what He did in the Middle Ages, from what He did following the Reformation, from the way He did during the European Colonization, from what He did Post World War II, etc.
As a ‘Professional Missiologist,’ Wagner saw a pattern in what he called ‘three amazing church growth movements:’ The African Independent Churches, The Chinese House Churches, The Latin American Grassroots Churches and The American Independent Charismatic Churches.
In his article for Zondervan’s Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements , entitled “Church Growth,” Wagner pointed to the American Independent Charismatic Church movement as the “fastest growing segment of Christianity in the United States in our times.”
Wagner saw a ‘pattern of divine blessing today on certain identifiable groups of churches.’
He then asked himself the question: “What are their common characteristics?”
1. A New Name — He settled on the New Apostolic Reformation
2. A New Authority Structure — Pastor as Apostle [re-defined as “sent out with a commission”]
3. A New Leadership Training Model — Home-Grown v. Bible College / Sem. Trained
4. A New Ministry Focus — Start with the Present Situation and Focus on The Future
5. A New Worship Style — Contemporary, Performance-Oriented, Worship
6. New Prayer Forms — Concert Prayer [everyone praying at the same time, aloud — some in a prayer language, others in the vernacular], Singing Prayer, Praise Marching, Prayer Walking, Prayer Journeys, Prayer Expeditions.
7. New Financing — Tithing is taught without apology! You don’t tithe, you have a sp. problem!
8. New Outreach — Not just Mission and Church Planting, but community relief programs
9. New Power Orientation — A non-cessationist philosophy, whether they speak in tongues or not, with an openess to supernatural power: healings, demonic deliverance, spiritual warfare, prophecy, spiritual mapping, prophetic acts, fervent intercession and travail, etc.
Look Around! Any Questions….beside the obvious?