Sunday, May 29, 2011

Battered Woman Syndrome - on an eternal scale?

A strange idea has been rattling around in my head and I thought I'd put it out here for your reaction.

Lo, very many centuries ago a church father named Cyprian had this to say, "He cannot have God for his father who will not have the Church for his mother.'  And folks have been repeating it ever since, even down to Reformers such as John Calvin.  It's been a recurring motif throughout church history.

A newer and a somewhat discredited idea is "Battered Woman Syndrome" (BWS).  The way it is popularly described, BWS results from an escalating pattern of abuse where matters of vanishing importance (less and less important as the cycle goes on) trigger responses of escalating abuse (psychological and physical).  Appeasement never satisfies the batterer and in some cases serves only to confirm him in his beliefs.  The longer the woman stays in this relationship, the less able she feels to leave it.

Now, this is a leap and please stay with me for a bit here, just sit back and think about this.  What if something like BWS is occurring in the Church?  We are well into the second generation of religious feminism since the advent of that creature and the Church is further than ever from expelling the schismatic, heretical, apostate (pick your label) system from its doors.  In fact, the Church seems to have arrived at a point at which it feels utterly incapable of removing the abuser.  It pursues a continued course of appeasement which will only bring on further abuse.

Much like the battered woman who has convinced herself the abuse will (eventually) stop, the Church continues to pursue a policy of appeasement:  Let's put together a list of what women can do in the church!  We are an educational institution, not an ordaining body, why shouldn't we train women?  We must put our heads together and see how we can release women to use their gifts?  Oh no, it's just a Bible study, no problem with a woman leading that!  Yes, we have a woman directing the choir, but no woman exercises pastoral authority in our church. Really?  You think it inappropriate for a woman to serve communion?  Oh, no, that's not a sermon.  She's just sharing her testimony.  Certainly I'm a Complementarian.  I think women can and should perform every function in the church except that of senior pastor.

It's time the Church stopped imitating Neville Chamberlin kidding herself into believing that she can purchase peace for our time.  It's time to start cleaning house.  You there, you have a new broom.  You can help sweep the place clean.  You?  Is that a dusting rag I see in your hands?  And you behind there?  I know you can polish a floor until you can see your face shine in it.  Ah yes, I see someone has gone to make a pot of coffee.  We are sure to need it.  This church cleaning day is going to last a bit longer than a couple of hours.

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

"He cannot have God for his father who will not have the Church for his mother."

I guess this means that Abraham, in whose bosom the saints of old are said to rest, doesn't have God as his father.

This rolling up of saints like Abraham into the Church is nonsense and not grounded in biblical revelation! Christ recognizes His own in every age and He makes us one in Him.

As to the BWS, there are always those who are more willing to live in bondage than to die in truth. We can't blame the Church for that.