On June 27th ethicsdaily.com ran an article entitled, “Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands.” It details comments made by Dr. Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in a recent sermon in Texas. Ware ties spousal abuse to women’s sinfulness expressed by refusing to submit to their husbands. He contends that his views are consistent with the balance of the faculty at Southern. His comments are remarkable. First of all, his arguments reflected poor Biblical scholarship. His argument reaches back to a prehistoric claim that the fall of humanity is tied Eve’s taking of the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden story in Genesis 3. He ignores the fact that the story places Adam “with” Eve at the tree and that she has to do little and say nothing for Adam to choose to eat the same fruit. Adam had heard the same argument from the evil one and bought it just as quickly. Ware’s argument wants to let men off the hook for our sinfulness by placing it on Eve’s shoulders and wants to let abusive men of the hook by placing the blame on a abused wife for her refusal to submit to their husband’s authority. Ware ignores much of the teaching of the New Testament where we hear that in Christ we are neither male nor female and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It ignores the Ephesians 5:21 where husbands and wives are told to submit to one another and in Ephesians 5 where the husband is commanded to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” and “in this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” In his attempt to become an apologist of men, he becomes an apologist for the abusive husband. Real men do not hit women and credible Christian leaders do not justify it. Ware deserves an “F” for his message. I also hope that he is wrong in his assumption that his views are representative of the Southern faculty. The idea of a faculty that would serve as apologetics for abusive spouses would be beyond belief.
Shaking my head in disappointment, Tom