Somehow this past week I got caught up in a debate online about whether evangelical men are the group in society most likely to inflict violence on their wives.
The news report was a fabrication. US Research shows that conservativetive Protestant men who attend church regularly are LEAST likely to practice domestic violence. Strangely, men who are on the fringes of evangelical churches, but who don’t attend regularly, show high levels of domestic violence. It’s that later group the ABC (Australian BBC) latched onto.
How was it pitched? Evangelical men are wife beaters. Not just by an ideologically driven ABC, but even Christian authors, bloggers and leaders who regard evangelicals as targets because some conservative evangelicals believe in male headship (Ephesians 5:21-33).
What’s interesting is the way the debate was framed. The enemy was anyone who believed in ‘patriarchy’. Rather than focus on what the Scriptures teach about how a husband should serve, and care for his wife. The focus was on accusing evangelical men of domestic violence. Despite the evidence to the contrary.
The sad reality is you can be a politically correct, pacifist who ticks all the right boxes and at the same time act as a monster towards women. No one would doubt John Howard Yoder’s credentials as a social justice warrior. Unfortunately, the evidence is clear that he was a serial abuser of women.
In the post modern world of seeming, what matters is that you hold the right position. In Scripture what matters is how you actually behave.
I don’t know what my father believed about patriarchy and male headship. He was a strong leader and had a strong personality. What matters to me is that he loved my mother. I watched him care for her 24/7 in the last year of her life facing cancer. I saw the life of Christ in him. He led and he laid down his life.
That’s what matters.
UPDATE: Great quote from Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies, “To make domestic violence part of a culture war against evangelical Christianity does no service to the women who suffer this appalling treatment,”