This week's post comes to us from Alaska, where ring member Julia Seymour spoke up about a column published in the local paper, and was later interviewed by local TV. Here's her blog post at Faith, Grace and Hope, followed by video of her TV appearance.
Yelling In My Head
So I don't have enough time to write and you don't have enough time to read all that I would like say about this article from the Mat- Su Valley Frontiersman: Faith : What the Bible says about a modern controversy. To sum it up: the pastor/commentator argues, through the apostle Paul, that because wife's body belongs to her husband and his to her- there cannot be rape in marriage. That is to say that if a man and woman have made a commitment before God and the state, there cannot be forced sex in the relationship.
Apparently, the state says there can be and the state's against it, where it occurs. However, according to Ron Hamman, pastor of the Independent Baptist Church of Wasilla, God says there can't be. Ron argues, even if there was forced sex (rape) in a marriage, you'd need witnesses to prove it according to the biblical standard. Well, Ron, most Christians I know stopped bringing in witnesses to prove the existence (and tearing) of the hymen on the wedding night a while ago. If I don't have witnesses to that incident, I can continue to claim my virginity, yes? (The existence of my son would, technically, refute it.)
Ron, friend, you mention Matthew 18 with regard to the biblical injunction for witnesses. Let me point out, in all humbleness, that the passage in question is for the reproving of members of one's own congregation, as opposed to suing them and making a show in public. This is about sin between members and pertaining to the life of faith, not about issues which actually have legal standing and bearing. Issues like, say, rape. You take two or three people with you, so that the reproof may be documented. Thus if the sin continues, you have witnesses to the fact that you encouraged it to stop. You may have to take the additional step of removing someone from the congregation, except that then Jesus goes on to say you owe your brothers and sisters forgiveness many, many times because of what you have been forgiven yourself.
Be that as it may, there is NO point where Jesus says you should continue to endure humiliation, bodily harm and subjugation. There is no point where Jesus says turn the other cheek so that your other eye may be blackened. There is no point where Jesus says the God-given gift of sexuality and sexual practice should be torn from you because someone else knows what is best for you. To return to where you are being hurt and demeaned is not forgiveness, but to give up on the promise of new life that God has for all. Freedom in Christ does not mean slavery to someone who claims to love you, but whose actions are otherwise.
Brother Ron, with the witnesses of the readership of this blog, I condemn your use of Scripture to manipulate women- half of God's human creation. I stand against your argument to allow rape within marriage. I damn your twisting of the freeing word of God to hold people to an idea of marriage that does not promote faith, service or growth in the love of the Lord. I reprove you for putting women down, attempting to remove their joy in their bodies and for condoning violence in marriage. Shame! Shame on you!
Have you turned away from your sister in faith when you saw bruises, the origin of which you could guess, because that was "between her and her husband"? Have you sent back a quaking daughter to her father because he was her "covering"? Have you refused to intercede between a woman and her adult son because he had the "equipment" that made him right in God's eyes and, thus, in yours?
Brother Ron, faith without works is dead and the fruit of your faith is rotten to the core. When you demean women, you dismiss God's work in them and through them. You destroy their power to raise up strong daughters and sons. You fail completely to follow Jesus' example of love to all whom he encounters, including those with vaginas.
You say, "The sad part is that it is this kind of Christianity that is ruining America."