Proof texting: A Dangerous Form of Myopia



To the detriment of the Christian faith, the Bible has long been used to keep battered wives in silent submission, abused children cowering in compliance, and even some pro-lifers off the sidewalks. Did you know, according to some, the Bible permits abortion, child abuse, and wife-beating ? Scripture is used to convince people to cooperate with evil– all in the name of obedience to God.


Many years ago, I helped to set up a church library. Lots of donations were made to the effort and while sorting the contributions, I came across a book about a wife’s responsibility to obey her husband. While I am a very ardent supporter of those things with which I agree,  I also am not wired for blind obedience to anyone or anything I believe is seriously misguided or worse– just plain wrong.

I possess a choleric–melancholy temperament — a complex combination defiance and compliance, task and relational orientation, introvert and extrovert–which made me very curious about the advice the author might give about navigating disagreements with an “authority.” ( )

I could not have been more shocked or outraged. Complete obedience was expected, because, according to the author, the husband’s authority was God-given and complete. If he should ask his wife to have an abortion –even if it went against her conviction that it was murder—she should submit. God would absolve her of any guilt as the decision and responsibility fell to him! Her duty was to be a good soldier and do as she was told.The basis for such a claim was the following passage from the Book of Ephesians.

Eph5:22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

How could you possibly, as a good Christian, argue with this? It does say to be subject “in everything.” If you cannot argue with such a perspective, you are in danger.

More, much more to come…..


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