Why God Wants You to STAY in an Abusive Relationship

Stay in an abusive marriage? Stay with an abusive father or mother? To assert anyone should ever stay in an abusive relationship is counter to everything our culture teaches.  We are to confront or flee abusive situations but we should never ever endure abusive situations or so we are told today even in the vast majority of Christian circles.

In my previous article “What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?” I talked about what abuse is from a Biblical perspective.  I stated that the word abuse literally is “ab + use” which means to misuse or mistreat someone or something.  I also talked about both emotional (including verbal) abuse and physical abuse as they are spoken to in the Bible with a specific emphasis on what abuse looks like in marriage and the family.

But what I did not cover were two important areas on this subject of abuse.  The first is what role does God grant to the government in dealing with abuse?  The second is how family members, including husbands, wives and children, should respond when they are abused by one another in various ways.

Did God Grant Government the Power To Determine What Abuse Is?

Many Christians instead of looking to the Bible for their definition of abuse instead look to their feelings, their culture and most commonly their civil government.

First we must understand that it is God who defines the responsibilities, rights and limitations of the spheres of authority of the civil government, the church and the family. Abuse is a moral issue and it is God and not culture or government that defines what is moral and what is immoral.

Many Christians have been wrongly taught that civil government is an unlimited power established by God.  This comes from a false understanding of passages like the one below:

“13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

I Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)

Passages like the one above must be taken into context with the entirety of the Scriptures.  Christ himself stated that civil government is in fact limited in its scope and authority:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”

Mark 12:17 (KJV)

Jesus did not say “Give to God what is God’s and everything else belongs to Caesar”.  His words were carefully measured.  He said to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s which tells us God actually intends for civil government to be limited.

So the next question we must ask is “What is the scope of responsibility and power that God has given to civil government?”  The answer is found in Romans chapter 13:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:4 (KJV)

The government is God’s “revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”.  It is the civil government’s job to ENFORCE God’s moral law – not to MAKE moral law on its own. Murder is not wrong because the United States government or our State governments say it is wrong.  Murder is wrong because God says it is wrong. So when police officers or other law enforcement officers arrest murderers to stand trial and ultimately face punishment they are acting as God’s ministers. When the judge or jury hand down the sentence they are acting as God’s revenger executing “wrath on him that doeth evil”.

Now our punishments for breaking God’s moral law may be different in each state, province or country but the moral law of God itself cannot be added to or changed by anyone but God himself.

The civil government must always be respectful of its limitations when it enters the sphere of the church or the home.  This means that they must never usurp or take authority in matters which God has not given to the government but instead he has given to the church or the home.

When the government attempts to usurp authority in the church or the home Christians have the God given right and in most cases the responsibility to exercise civil disobedience against such usurpation.

God has appointed Pastors as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the church assembly and he has appointed husbands as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the home. God states this regarding our obedience to church leaders:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)

When I walk into my church assembly I must always recognize that God has given my Pastor the spiritual oversight of that assembly.  That means if I were to teach Sunday school in my church or teach from our pulpit in his absence I should not teach contrary interpretations to his that would cause division. This is one reason that I have not taught in the church I attend in many years and I would not because I might easily come into conflict with my Pastor’s interpretations on many doctrinal issues.  Also I and my family follow whatever rules my pastor sets for dress standards for church activities if those standards are more conservative.

But think of how absurd it would be for me to go to my local mayor or state governor and ask them their interpretation of the scriptures and also what they think the rules for behavior within my church assembly should be.  Imagine if I brought these interpretations back to my church and in direct defiance of my pastor began trying to implement them. Not only would these actions be absurd on my part – but they would be in direct contradiction to the Word of God.  Those civil authorities have no authority in these matters in my church.

By the same token God does not tell wives when they have a moral or spiritual question to go seek out their Pastor, local mayor or state governor.  Instead he tells them to seek out the spiritual head of their home:

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

This is why it is highly inappropriate for government or church officials to come into a home and give wives or children instructions on morality that are counter to the teachings of the husband who is the head of that home.  In fact, the husband is the only human authority in all the Scriptures where God commands the one under his authority to submit to him “as unto the Lord”:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22 (KJV)

It is a sad testament to the wicked times we live in that husbands, the most powerful of all human authorities that God ever established, have had their spiritual authority completely usurped and gutted by both our civil and our church authorities.

The Government Has Nullified God’s Law With Its Domestic Abuse Definitions

The Scriptures tell us this regarding God’s law:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

As we previously established, the government has absolutely no right to add or take away from God’s moral law.  None whatsoever.  Also Christ spoke against human laws which nullify God’s laws:

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Mark 7:13 (KJV)

This is what our current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse do – they literally attempt to add to God’s moral law and in effect nullify God’s moral law in regard to this issue of domestic abuse. With that said I will briefly address some of this addition to and nullification of God’s law in current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse which you can find at https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence. Also keep in mind that all these definitions have to do with domestic violence – meaning what is considered abuse in the home between members of the home.

The Government’s Definition of Abuse Vs The Bible’s Definition of Abuse

 Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.”

The first problem with this definition is that it completely negates any type of physical discipline which is commanded by God for children (Proverbs 23:13-14) and is also allowed by God for adults (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 19:29 and Proverbs 26:3).  Under this definition of physical abuse spanking of one’s child or one’s wife would be consider abuse (See my article “Does the Bible Allow Wife Spanking” for more on that issue).  A mother or father slapping their rebellious child even with an open palm (front handed) would be guilty of physical abuse under this definition.

I agreed in my previous article on abuse that things like shoving and punching have no place in the home not even as methods of discipline because they risk serious bodily injury or even death in violation of God’s law regarding limits on discipline (Exodus 21:26-27). I also agreed that things like biting, kicking and hair pulling have no place in the home as methods of discipline as it should be done in love and in control and not as brawl or a fight.  But again overall the biggest problem with the government’s definition of physical abuse is that its definition negates physical discipline in the home which God allows.

 “Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.”

First we will address where this government definition of sexual abuse aligns with God’s moral law and that is regarding children.  A parent has absolutely no right under God’s law to touch their child in a sexual way, to coerce them or force them to have sex.  This is a violation of God’s moral laws regarding incest (Leviticus 18:6).

But really the heart of this definition is directed at husbands in regard to how they engage in sexual activity with their wives.  And when applied to the husband/wife relationship this definition of sexual abuse for the most part nullifies God’s Word.

This government’s definition of sexual abuse as with physical abuse nullifies a husband’s God given sexual rights to his wife’s body in marriage.  It also nullifies his right to discipline her for sexual refusal.  The Bible says that sex is both a right and responsibility in marriage (Exodus 21:10-11, Proverbs 5:18-19, I Corinthians 7:3-4) and that the only thing that must be mutually agreed upon in the area of sex is when a couple will NOT have sex (I Corinthians 7:5) for a short time.  See my articles on sexual refusal, sexual consent and forced sex in marriage for more on what the Bible says about these topics.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

While we need to be careful of how subjective this government definition of emotional abuse is I think for the most part it aligns with what the Scriptures say that we should generally be trying to build people up and not tear them down(Ephesians 4:29,James 3:8-10). See my article on “What Does the Bible Say About Abuse?” for more on the subject of emotional abuse.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

This government definition of “Economic Abuse” is a complete addition to God’s moral law and it also nullifies a husband’s rights toward his wife under God’s law.  And again let’s not kid ourselves that they are speaking equally to husbands and wives. This is an attack on patriarchy and men having their wives being economically dependent on them.

The fact is this definition of Economic abuse is exactly the opposite of God’s moral law on this issue.  In Exodus 21:10-11 we are told that if a man does not provide his wife with food and clothing she may be free of him (divorced from him).  God considers it economic abuse when a man forces his wife to economically independent of him, not when he forces his wife to be economically dependent on him.

And yes husbands under God’s law can absolutely forbid their wives from going to college or seeking careers as wives are to be subject their husbands in EVERYTHING as the Church submits to Christ in everything (Ephesians 5:24).

Also as far as household finances go – whether a husband allows his wife to work or not all the financial decision making comes under his direction.  If he wants to take away his wife’s ATM card he can do that under God’s law.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

If read in a certain way, the government’s definition of psychological abuse may actually align with the Scriptures.  God does forbid the use of threatening (Ephesians 6:9).  If a husband or wife threatens to kill themselves or their children or pets or to destroy property if they don’t get what they want that is the very definition of threatening behavior which is condemned by the Word of God.

However a warning from an authority toward one under them of the consequences of their actions is not engaging in threatening or psychological abuse. If I isolate my teen son from friends that are bad influences on him is that psychological abuse? The answer is no.  It all depends on my motivation.  Is my intent simply to exert my power over him or is it actually for his own good? If it is the latter there is nothing immoral about this from a Biblical perspective.

Many people would agree that the example I gave is not immoral.  But what if I replaced my son in that example with my wife? OH NO – that is completely different right? Why? Because she is an adult? The Bible however makes no such distinction when it comes to the discipline of wives and children.  If my wife was talking to or hanging out with other women who were bad spiritual influences on her affecting her morals, relationship with God or with me I have absolutely ever right before God as her spiritual authority to restrict her access to those women.

The Bible teaches a clear social order – the husband, an adult male, is the head of the wife, an adult female and children are under the authority of their parents(Ephesians 5:23-24, Ephesians 6:1-3).

And for all you feminists out there the practice of a husband exercising his spiritual authority over his wife in these ways does not infantilize her or make her equal with her children.  God has granted a wife and mother more rights than he has her children.  She has sexual rights to her husbands body and she is given the position of manager of the home and of the children which are sacred and honored roles.  She of course exercises these positions under the authority of her husband but by no means does the Bible make wives and children equals with another.

So when we throw out the straw-man argument that a husband exercising control over his wife infantilizes her we come to the real heart of the issue.  Feminists don’t like the fact that while God gives women more rights than children he does not give women equal rights with men.  In other words, its not about women be treated as children but its about women be treated as women.  Feminists want women treated as men.

When Are Women Allowed To Approach Civil or Church Authorities About Abuse?

A wife and mother should only go around her husband who is her spiritual authority in the gravest of circumstances. If a husband violates the Exodus 21:26-27 principle and threatens or actually causes serious bodily harm or what he is doing has the potential of causing death to her or her children a wife has every right to approach her church authorities and civil authorities.

In I Samuel 25 we see that Abagail went against her husband’s wishes to save her family from his wicked actions that would have had them killed.  This teaches us that if a woman finds out her husband is involved in some criminal or otherwise wicked activity that endangers the life of her family she has every right to go to the civil authorities to protect her life and the life of her children.

Also if a wife finds out that her husband has been sexually abusing one of her children in violation of the Leviticus 18:6 principle she has every right to turn her husband over to both the church and civil authorities.  When husbands commit such heinous acts they invalidate their ownership and headship over their wives and children allowing their wives and children to be freed from them.

Why God Wants You to Stay in an Abusive Relationship

The natural follow up question to what we have just said about a woman and her children being able to free from a man who physically abuses them(by Biblical standards of course) is What about non-physical abuse like emotional and verbal abuse? What recourse does a wife have in such situations?

First I will fully agree that men can abuse their wives in non-physical and less extreme ways than what I have previously mentioned. A husband may not be a drug dealer who places his family’s life in jeopardy by his wicked lifestyle and he may not ever lay a hand on either his wife or children in a sinful manner.  But perhaps he has a problem with anger and flying off the handle and saying hurtful things.

Maybe he has a problem with bitterness and taking that out on the family in various emotional or verbal ways.  Maybe he is hyper critical toward his wife and children and never uplifts them.  Maybe he even abuses his authority and gets off on power kicks and trying to humiliate his wife or children by various unreasonable demands. Maybe he isolates his family not for their protection but to project his power over them.  There could be a myriad of ways that a husband either verbally or emotionally abuses his wife and children or he simply abuses his power to meet his own ego needs.

I also want to stop here for a second and make a very important point on this subject of abuse.  Often times we center these discussions of domestic abuse on husbands and fathers but we forget that wives and moms can and do physically, verbally and emotionally abuse their husbands and children as well.   Do wives or moms sometimes engage in hypercritical behavior toward their husbands or children? You bet they do.  Do some wives or moms even punch, shove or engage in other forms of physical abuse toward their husbands or children? You bet they do. Do some wives play emotional games with their husbands and insult their manliness or sexual ability? You bet they do. Do some women push their husbands away sexually which is a form of emotional abuse toward men?  Absolutely there are many women who engage in these behaviors.

Also children sometimes abuse their parents in various ways. Do children steal money from their parents? Yes they do. Do children despise and curse their parents? Yes they do. Do some children strike their parents? Yes they do.  Do children reject their parent’s authority over them? This happens all the time in our day and age.

But let’s now return specifically to the subject of wives and children enduring emotional, verbal and other forms of abuse that are not the physical or life threatening types of abuse we have previously mentioned that would warrant outside intervention and in many cases divorce.

As I mentioned at the introduction of this article our modern culture has an attitude that we should never endure any kind of abuse from anyone whether it be someone who is our equal and especially from someone who is our authority.  We are told to confront the person and then flee the relationship if the abuser does not repent and change their ways.

But when we read the Scriptures we see a very different view of how we should respond to abuse:

“18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

I Peter 2:18-24 (KJV)

When we endure grief or suffer wrongly at the hands of others, in other words when we endure mistreatment which is abuse and take it patiently the Scriptures tell us “this is acceptable with God”.  God is not excusing the actions of the abusers.  But God is saying when we are on the receiving end of various kinds of abuse and we take it patiently that this is acceptable with God.

Such a thought is foreign to our thinking but the Scriptures tell us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

We often talk on this blog about how God likes to image or model things.  Man was created to image God and thereby bring him glory (I Corinthians 11:7) and woman and by extension marriage was created to help man fully image God as a husband and father (I Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5:22-33).  When it comes to this matter of suffering abuse – we, both men and women, actually model Christ when we suffer abuse from others taking it patiently as he did. And that is why God wants you to stay in an abusive relationship.

Now again we must look at this passage in light of the entirety of the Scriptures.  I have already shown that God does not expect us to stay and endure physical abuse that could risk serious injury or death from Exodus 21:26-27.

There were certain areas Jesus would not go into during his ministry because he knew the Jews there sought to kill him (John 7:1) and it was not yet his time to die.  Although Paul suffered great persecutions he also sought to avoid them at times (II Corinthians 11:33).  But did Christ or Paul run from “verbal and emotional abuse” as we often hear people telling us to do today? No. They were fleeing the threat of serious bodily injury or in most cases death.

So what this means on a practical level is this.  As a wife or as a child there are going to be days when your husband or your father may act in the flesh and not in the spirit.  He may say hurtful things.  He may raise his voice for what appears to be no reason at all.  He may act sinfully toward you by being verbally or emotionally abusive.  But his wrong actions do not justify wrong actions on your part.  Not only should you never return insult for insult or repay any type of verbal or emotional abuse but you must also never forget your subordinate place as either the wife or the child.

It is not your place to rebuke your husband or our father for emotional or verbal abuses.

Now does that mean that a wife or child can never express grievances they have with their husband or father? No. I don’t think that is wrong but it should never come across as if they are they are equals and are teaching the husband or father.  In the book of Job we read:

“13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)

This is a teaching which applies to those of us who are in authority over others no matter what sphere it is in including the home.  We as husbands must realize that if we have truly wronged those under us God allows them to bring their grievances to us.  If we do not act justly toward those under us it is God who will rise up against us. That is why God warns husbands that if they mistreat their wives he will not hear their prayers (I Peter 3:7).

When it comes to expressing grievances we must realize this can abused as well.  Remember that God tells wives in I Peter 3:1-2 to win their husbands who are disobedient to the word by their subjection and reverent behavior.  If you as a wife are expressing your grievances with your husband every five minutes you are not “taking it patiently” as I Peter 2:20 exhorts you to do.

The same goes for children.  Far too often in our culture we make children feel completely comfortable confronting their parents with accusations of unfair treatment on a regular basis.  Again we need to teach our children that they too need to be “taking it patiently” and following the example of Christ in suffering what they believe to be wrong doing.

Wives and children also need to be reminded of something on a regular basis.  Just because you feel you have been mistreated does not mean you actually have been mistreated.  Sometimes your feelings can blind you to reality that is going on.  You need to step back and look objectively at what has occurred to see if what actually happened was in fact fair treatment that was warranted because of your behavior.

Should Authorities Allow Abuse From Their Subordinates?

But now we come to the issue of husbands, fathers and mothers who might suffer abuse at the hands of those God has placed under their spiritual authority. Should authority figures react to abuse from their subordinates in the same way that their subordinates should react to abuse from them? Should they simply endure and take patiently all forms of abuse from their subordinates as long as they are not being physically abused or having their life threatened?

To answer these questions we must first understand that all authorities God has instituted have not only a right but also a responsibility to discipline those under their authority.  Church leaders have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their assemblies, civil authorities have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their local, state or national jurisdictions and husbands and parents have a right and responsibility to discipline those in their home.

In the case of the family if a husband or parent allows all mistreatment of themselves by their wife or children to go unpunished then they would be violating the spiritual duty God has given them to rebuke and chasten those under their authority(Proverbs 23:13-14, Revelation 3:19).

So for instance if a man’s wife or child is cursing him, or disrespecting him or telling him they do not have to obey him then he is called by God to discipline them.  Yes these actions are an abuse toward him and mistreatment of him.  They are hurtful and unkind. But for the husband or father in this situation they must remember that this is not about their feelings of hurt after being mistreated by their wife or child.  It is about their solemn responsibility as the head of their home to discipline their family members.  That is why husbands and fathers must always realize that true Biblical discipline should never be an act of revenge for some incurred abuse, but rather it is an act of love to discipline the other and perhaps cause them to repent and change their ways.

Notice earlier that I said a husband or parent should not allow “all” mistreatment of themselves but the key word is “all”.  As human authorities we cannot read or control the thoughts and feelings of those who are our subordinates.  We can only hold our subordinates accountable for their words and actions, not their thoughts and feelings.

So we may see that our wife or child does the right thing after being disciplined but they still seem to have an attitude of bitterness toward us.  No husband wants to be despised by his wife and no father or mother wants to be despised by their child.  But at these times we must enter in prayer for our wives and children knowing that we can only seek to correct the outward actions as human authorities and only God can correct the heart.

If you as a husband or father live to always feel liked and loved by your wife or children then you will not discipline them as God has called you to and you will fail to be the husband and father God wants you to be.  Not being liked at times is part of the job description gentlemen.

14 “What If” Questions About Marriage

What if my spouse makes fun of my looks on a regular basis?

What if my spouse hurls insults at me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is hyper critical toward me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is bipolar or has some other mental illness and refuses to get professional help?

What if my spouse has some type of addiction?

What if my husband abuses his power and gets off on using his power to make me do ridiculous things?

What if my husband is a selfish lover and never asks me what I want in our sex life?

What if my husband never talks to me and only wants sex?

What if my wife is a contentious and brawling woman toward me on a daily basis?

What if my wife is like a constant dripping water and nags me on daily basis?

What if my husband is a workaholic?

What if my wife is never satisfied with anything I buy her (our house, her clothes, our car…etc.)?

What if my wife always gives me grudgingly given sex?

What if my wife is a selfish lover and only wants sex her way?

The answer to all these “What If” questions is the same.  Search the Scriptures and you will find there is absolutely no allowance for divorce in any of these situations.  All of these situations are hard to live with if you are the spouse who has to endure them.  But God does not give us an easy way out but instead he tells us this regarding the trials we face in life:

“3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope”

Romans 5:3-4 (KJV)

Often times the greatest trials we face in life are a result of the actions of those closest to us. It might be our spouse whose behavior tries our faith on a daily basis.  It might be our child. It might be our parents.  But in all these cases God does not allow us to simply push the eject button and leave these relationships because they are hard to endure.  He calls us to lean on him for strength knowing that his grace is sufficient to get us through each day of these trials.

When we as husbands or wives continue to live with a spouse that verbally or emotionally abuses us or they just make life difficult for us we not only follow Christ’s pattern in taking such abuses patiently on a regular basis,  but we also honor God by showing our commitment to his institution of marriage.  This is why staying in an abusive relationship can actually bring glory and honor to God.

Is It Wrong to Feel Hurt Because of Abuse?

This is a very legitimate question.  Even if we as Christians set out to follow Christ’s example in taking patiently the abuse we may suffer from others does this mean it is wrong for us to allow ourselves to experience anguish or hurt because of past or even future abuses we know are going to happen?

Again we have Christ’s example to answer this question for us:

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:41-44 (KJV)

You think your husband’s verbal and emotional abuse is bad? You think your parent’s emotional or verbal abuse is bad? Think of the abuse Christ suffered.  And because he was God in the flesh he knew before he suffered exactly what he was going to suffer.   Christ was literally in “agony” knowing what he was about to face.  He asked his father if it was his will that he would remove this coming trial – yet he prayed not his will, but his father’s be done.

So again Christ is our model in dealing with abuse that we suffer from others.  It is not wrong to feel hurt about past abuses or impending abuse that we know we will continue to suffer on daily basis from our family member. It is not wrong to agonize over these things.  We are not called to suppress our feelings.  Christ did not suppress his.  But Christ controlled his feelings, he did not let them control him.   We should all follow Christ’s example when suffering abuse asking God to remove the abuse perhaps by changing the heart of the abuser.  But we should always end such prayers the same way Christ ended his – “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done“.


Our culture teaches us a one size fits all approach to when others mistreat us (abuse us). They teach us we should never allow any type of mistreatment from others to go unchecked and unchallenged. We are told we must confront all forms of abuse from wherever they come and they make absolutely no distinctions between a husband and wife, a parent and child, an employer and employee, a church member and a Pastor or a citizen and his government.

We have literally created “grievance industries” within our political arenas, business arenas, churches and families where people air their grievances both big and small and real or imagined with one another on daily basis.  There is very little following of Christ’s example in regard to abuse to “take it patiently”.

So from our world’s perspective children are encouraged to correct and rebuke their parents for every harsh word they may speak toward them. Wives are encouraged to confront every harsh word their husband speaks toward them. And this pattern is seen in churches as well as nations. In other words – every perceived or actual injustice is encouraged to be confronted no matter where it is or how it occurs.

The Biblical approach to us handling mistreatment which is abuse is not a “one size fits all approach”. The type of abuse and the sphere it occurs in whether in marriage and the family, the church or in society with government are handled differently if we are following Biblical principles in these areas.

Those in authority must confront sinful words and actions of those under them whether those words or actions are direct abuses toward the authority themselves or toward others.  But these actions of discipline are not to be a repayment of sorts for abuses incurred but rather they are meant to be corrective actions taken in love to help that person better conform themselves to God’s moral law.

Those under authority while having the right to address grievances with their authority should not over use this right.  The over usage of the ability to respectfully air grievances with one’s authority goes against Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.  Also specifically when it comes to wives, if a wife is airing grievances ever five minutes with her husband she is violating the I Peter 3:1-2 principle that she is to win her husband who is being disobedient to the Word with her subjection and reverence, not her contentions.

So on the one hand Biblically speaking we do not have to suffer or allow every kind of abuse from every sphere in our life but on the other hand the Bible does not allow us to or encourage us to do what the world says and confront EVERY kind of abuse or mistreatment toward us no matter what the offense is or where it comes from.

We all need to look to Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.

What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?

How does the Bible define abuse? Specifically within the context the context of marriage and the family does the Bible say anything about abuse? If it does not, are there general Biblical principles that we could apply to form a Biblical view of what constitutes abuse?

The Bible does speak to abuse but it does not do it all in one place in an exhaustive manner.  There is no one chapter of the Bible dedicated to abuse.   Instead we find verses and passages through the Bible that speak to abuse in parts and we then must connect all these dots together to get the full picture of the Biblical view of abuse.

But before we look at the Biblical view of abuse we need to define what we are talking about when we use the English word “abuse”.

The word abuse is defined by Meriam-Webster online dictionary as “a corrupt practice or custom… improper or excessive use or treatment… language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily… physical maltreatment”.

But I think the best definition of abuse actually comes from the origin of the English word itself which literally is “ab + use” which literally means to “misuse”.

So abuse is when we misuse or mistreat someone or something.  For the purposes of this article we confine the subject of abuse to emotional and physical abuse in marriage and the family.

How does the Bible define Emotional Abuse?

Sometimes we can mistreat or abuse others without laying a finger on them.  Instead we use a tool that God gave us that can be used for great blessing or great destruction – the tongue.   The Bible says this about our tongue:

“8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

James 3:8-10 (KJV)

Our words should be used to build others up, not to tear others down as the Scriptures command us to do:

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)

Husbands can Emotionally Abuse their Wives

The Bible gives the following command toward husbands regarding their wives:

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

There is much debate in Christian circles as to what a man honoring his wife looks like. A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “12 Ways to Honor Your Wife” where I took my stab at the issue from what I see in the Scriptures.  In that article I referenced Proverbs 31:28 which tells of the virtuous wife that her husband “praiseth her”.  Some of us Christian husbands are really good at telling our wives when they do wrong (which is a part of our job as her spiritual head) but we are horrible at praising our wives when they do right and that should not be the case.

There will be times when we must call out our wife’s foolish behavior as Job did:

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job 2:10 (KJV)

But Job’s words toward his wife were a spiritual rebuke toward her done in love to correct her wrong doing.  He was not running around calling his wife names with malicious intent.  He was not using his wife as his emotional punching bag when he had a bad day at work. Sometimes we may even need to correct our wives in front of our children when she does something in front of them that warrants that public correction.  But we must always be cognizant of honoring our wife’s position as our wife and as the mother of our children.

In Ephesians 5:25-27 the Scriptures give us this admonition as husbands toward our wives:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

Husbands are called to wash their wives spiritual spots and blemishes with the Word of God and hurling emotional dirt on them does exactly the opposite of what God is calling husbands to do.  A husband’s correction is to be done in love – not with vitriol and spite.

The Bible gives husbands this command about acting in love rather than in bitterness toward their wives:

“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

Colossians 3:19 (KJV)

This is why men need to remember that as disobedient or rebellious as their wives may be and no matter how their wives may hurt them in many ways – husbands never have a license from God to act from a place of bitterness and spite toward their wives.

The discipline of a husband toward his wife should never be an act of revenge, but rather it is to be a conscious and controlled act of love.

And husbands need to realize that God is watching how they treat their wives and he says of husbands who mistreat their wives that their prayers will be hindered before him (I Peter 3:7).

Parents Can Emotionally Abuse their Children

The Bible gives the following commands to fathers regarding their children:

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Colossians 3:21 (KJV)

Why did God address these commands only to fathers? Can mothers not provoke their children to anger as well and cause them to be discouraged? The answer is that mothers can do this just as easily as fathers but God is addressing fathers because they are the spiritual head of their home. Fathers set the example and fathers can and should address this wrong behavior not only in themselves, but also in their wives as the mothers of their children.

So how can fathers and mothers provoke their children to wrath and discourage them? Perhaps by showing favoritism between their children. Maybe they constantly tear down and call their children names and hurl insults at them.  Maybe it is that they do not discipline in love, but rather in anger or in malice. Perhaps they constantly threaten instead of warn.  Maybe they use no measure or control in their discipline.  Fathers may be too over protective or possessive not realizing that their ownership over children is a temporary stewardship God has given unlike the lifelong ownership of a husband over his wife.

Sometimes Words That Will Hurt Must Be Said

From a Biblical perspective it is not always wrong to say things to others that we know may hurt other’s feelings:

“5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV)

Sometimes a tough word must be spoken and for the moment it will bring some emotional pain but it is for our own good.  In fact the Bible tells us that a rebuke can sometimes be an act of love:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

So in summary on this issue of emotional abuse – if we say things simply to hurt someone that is sinful. If however we speak words of rebuke that may cause hurt but it is done for the edification of the other person this may in fact be a righteous act depending on the context.

How Does The Bible Define Physical Abuse?

Physical abuse is when we mistreat others in a physical manner.  But here is the million dollar question – how do we define what is the physical mistreatment of others?

In an article entitled “Responding to Physical Abuse” Dennis Rainey writes what I would consider to be a typical Christian Pastor’s definition of physical abuse:

“Let me begin by saying that I cannot think of a circumstance in a marriage or family that could justify abuse of any kind—emotional, mental, physical, or sexual. Abusive behavior was never and can never be a part of God’s plan for a marriage or a family.

For the sake of clarity, I’m going to limit this answer to physical abuse. And by this I mean assaulting, threatening, or restraining a person through force. It would include hitting, slapping, punching, beating, grabbing, shoving, biting, kicking, pulling hair, burning, using or threatening the use of weapons, blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument, driving recklessly, or intimidating you with threatening gestures.

Also, I think it’s important to note that I do not, like some others in today’s culture, automatically classify spanking of children as abuse. I believe that loving, controlled physical discipline is biblical, and beneficial for a child. In some cases it can turn abusive when performed with anger or malice, and in those cases it must be stopped.”

I respect Dennis Rainey and his ministry and I agree with him in many areas of Biblical interpretation.  While I think he is definitely to the right of many Pastors and teachers today on the subject of Biblical gender roles he still does not fully embrace all the Bible’s teachings on gender roles.  On this subject we are discussing of physical abuse – I am going to partially agree and partially disagree with his definition of physical abuse and I think the best way to take it is word by word.

Before I do that I want to draw attention to the end of his definition where he states this regarding the spanking of children:

 “I believe that loving, controlled physical discipline is biblical, and beneficial for a child. In some cases it can turn abusive when performed with anger or malice, and in those cases it must be stopped.”

That last statement I believe would be absolutely Biblical except for him limiting physical discipline to children.  The Bible specifically allows for the physical discipline of adults in Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 and Deuteronomy 25:1-3. The Bible even encourages physical discipline for those who act in foolish manners when it states in Proverbs 26:3 “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.”

But I 100% agree with Dennis Rainey that physical discipline should always be done in a “loving” and “controlled” way as opposed to an angry or malicious way.

When speaking about a father disciplining his son God said:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)

Christ when speaking about disciplining his churches said:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

God when speaking about disciplining the nation of Israel (pictured as his wife) said:

“For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”

Jeremiah 30:11 (KJV)

So as we can see the Bible full supports the idea that two critical ingredients of any godly form of discipline are love and control (measure).  With said as introduction to this area of physical abuse I will now look at key words in Dennis Rainey’s statement on what he believes constitutes physical abuse.


By definition assaulting is any type of unlawful touching of another person’s body.  But the key word is “unlawful”.  If a police officer chases down a person who he has just witnessed commit a crime and wrestles him to the ground to put hand cuffs on him is that unlawful? The answer is NO. In the same way if a husband engages in physical discipline toward his wife or a father engages in physical discipline toward his child this is not automatically physical abuse.  In fact this activity could be lawful in God’s eyes if it is done in a loving and controlled manner and not done with malicious intent.


The Bible tells masters not to engage in “threatening” in Ephesians 6:9. The difference between a threat and a warning is that threats demonstrate a lack of control and simply seek to intimidate people into compliance with one’s wants.  When someone exercises the Biblical authority God has given them, whether it be a governor, an employer, a master, a Pastor, a husband or a father or mother discipline measures should be just, fair and well thought out.  Warnings regarding impending discipline if one breaks certain rules should be done in a controlled manner.  So in the area of threatening – I agree with Mr. Rainey because the Bible tells Biblical authorities not to engage in threatening which is very different than giving warnings which authorities should give.

“Restraining a Person Through Force”

Again I could back to my police officer example that it depends on if the restraining is lawful according to God’s law. There are plenty of times that a child or an adult may need to be restrained by force.  Adults in mental hospitals have to be restrained by force all the time.  What about when a parent has to pick up their screaming child and take them out of church or a store? Is that unlawful in God’s eyes? Of course it is not.

But what Dennis Rainey is really talking about is a husband restraining his wife by force.

Again the principles of love and control determine whether this action by a husband is right or wrong.  Let me give you a few examples that I have received via email to illustrate this.

A man’s wife is mentally ill.  She grabs a bottle of pills and pours it in her mouth to swallow them so she can die.  He grabs his wife forces his hand in her mouth and pulls the pills out throwing them on the floor.  He physically restrains her until she calms down after which he calls for help and takes her to a mental health facility. Was that wrong for him to restrain his wife by force in this case? Absolutely not.  Such restraint was an act of love.

A man’s wife is angry at him and in rage she comes at him to strike him.  He grabs her, bear hugs her and hold her by force until she calms down.  Again – was his action of restraining her by force in this case wrong? No it was not.  Rather this was an act of love on his part in restraining his wife from doing the evil she was intent on doing.

Now there are some men who get off on exercising power over their wives.  If a husband comes by and pushes his wife into a clothes closet and locks the door simply for the thrill of confining her this is an abuse of his God given power.  This is not a just use of force against his wife.  The same principle would apply to parents over their children as well.  There have been horror stories in the news of parents chaining their children to beds and locking them in rooms for years.  This is not the loving, controlled and measured discipline the Bible allows.  Such actions are sadistic and evil.

“Hitting, Slapping, Punching, Beating”

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:13 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die”.  But there is such a thing as a controlled beating and an uncontrolled beating.  An uncontrolled beating is done in rage or anger but a controlled beating is done as an act of discipline.  The object of a Biblically based beating is to try to change one’s behavior, not to seriously injure or kill someone. That is why when God prescribed flogging as a method of discipline in the book of Deuteronomy he placed several controls on it.

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 (KJV)

First the judge himself, or someone he directly appointed was to perform the beating.  The beating was to be witnessed and controlled by the judge who had imposed the punishment.  The man was to lie down and we know from other passages that this was face down and the stripes were applied to his back.  Why? Because there is a risk of hitting one’s face or genitals.  Typically speaking the human body is much better suited to taking a beating from the back side rather than front and this is the pattern God gives us for physical discipline.

Also the discipline was to be measured in that God did not allow them to strike more than 40 times.  The Jews in order to make sure they did not accidentally go over 40 imposed a policy of only using 39 stripes.  Paul alludes to this when he was beat for preaching the Gospel when he stated in 2 Corinthians 11:24 that “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one”.

What about punching? I do not believe God allows punching as a form of discipline.  The closed fist is weapon to be used in combat and it is not a tool to be used for discipline.  Where do I get this belief from? Let’s look at the passage below from the book of Exodus:

“26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”

Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

This passage tells us that God commanded that a male or female slave that had lost their sight or lost a tooth as a result of a beating from their Master had to be freed. But there are some greater principles we learn from this passage.  Some Christians will point to the fact that Christ endured physical abuse and so did the Apostles and so too we should endure it wherever it may occur.  But I would respectfully disagree with my brethren on this.  There is a time and place to endure physical abuse when it is directly for the cause of Christ and the Gospel.  But that does not mean Christians may not flee physical abuse in various situations.  Christ fled (Matthew 12:14-16) and Paul fled as well (II Corinthians 11:33).

But in the context of punching I think this passage from Exodus 21:26-27 prohibits us from using our fists and especially punching people in the face as a form of discipline.  Think about it – how easy is it to break a tooth if you punch someone in the face? Ask any boxer it is really easy to do.  So in most cases how would a master break his slaves tooth or damage his eye? It was most likely because he punched him in the face.

On the other hand when it comes to slapping with an open hand a palm has a much smaller chance of causing any serious injury to a person.  The only way it could is if excessive force was used but then this violates the Biblical concept of using control and measure in discipline. But there is no prohibition in the Scriptures against an authority using a controlled slap across the cheek as a form of discipline.

“grabbing, shoving”

The rightness or wrongness of grabbing someone very much depends on the context.  How many parents can say they have never grabbed their child’s arm whether to keep them from harm or even to discipline them? Where is the condemnation of grabbing someone as a form of discipline that is done in a loving and controlled way? The answer is there is no condemnation of this action when done in a right manner.

But what about shoving? This I think is more akin to punching.  It has a very large chance of causing serious injury.  In fact if you were to shove someone and they fall and hit their head they could have a various serious injury as a result or even die.  Shoving someone is another way that someone could fall and break a tooth or loose the sight in their eye.  Therefore, for the same reason I think God would condemn punching as a form of physical discipline, so too I think he would condemn shoving as a form of discipline as we in authority are not to place those under our authority in danger of serious injury.

“biting, kicking, pulling hair”

When we are talking about biting, kicking and pulling hair these actions do not describe discipline but rather a fight between two persons.  Discipline is to be administered in a loving and controlled way – not in the form of a brawl.  If discipline is administered in the form of a fight it risks causing serious harm or even death to the person being disciplined.

“using or threatening the use of weapons”

Threatening to use or using weapons as form of discipline is forbidden as a form of discipline based on the fact that Biblical discipline is to be done from a place of love and control and its object is to change behavior without causing serious harm or placing the person in danger of losing their life.

“blocking you from leaving a room or the house during an argument”

From a Biblical perspective there is no prohibition on a husband or father prohibiting his wife or child from leaving the room or house during an argument.  For instance if a father or mother sends their child to their room because an argument or a husband sends his wife to their bedroom after an argument there is nothing in the Scriptures that would forbid this action.

I have actually received emails from people and heard stories elsewhere of men blocking their wives from leaving when they were in a manic state.  To allow someone to drive a car in such a state would not be wise and such an action is actually an act of love on the part of the husband.

I am not saying it is wrong for a husband to let his wife leave to cool off, but it is also not forbidden for him to make her stay.


It is not the Church and it is not the government that defines what is and what is not abuse.  It is God speaking through his Word, the Bible, that defines what abuse is within the spheres of the Church, Civil Government and the Family.

We have shown from the Bible that abuse is when we mistreat someone as mistreatment is defined by the Word of God.  When we mistreat someone we have sinned against that person and against God who is our creator.

We can emotionally mistreat others by hurling insults at them and speaking unkind or untrue things about them(James 3:8-10, Ephesians 4:29).

Husbands can emotionally mistreat their wives by acting in a spirit of bitterness and spite toward them (Colossians 3:19) or dishonoring their position as their wife and the mother of their children (I Peter 3:7).

Fathers can emotionally mistreat their children by provoking them to wrath and causing them to be discouraged (Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 6:4) instead of encouraging them and teaching them in the ways of God.

But sometimes husbands and fathers must use tough words and call out sin in their wives and children(Job 2:10) and even though these words hurt  if they are done for the edification of the wife or child then they are holy and righteous before God.  In other words, it is not automatically emotional abuse for a husband or father to verbally confront or call foolish or sinful the actions of his wife or child.

Verbal rebukes on the part of husbands and fathers toward their wives and children that come from a place of love and control should never ever be conflated with emotional abuse.

Not only does the Bible allow and even encourage verbal rebukes as a form of discipline but it allows physical discipline not only for children (Proverbs 13:24) but also for adults as well (Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 and Deuteronomy 25:1-3).

But again as with verbal discipline, physical discipline must be performed by husbands and fathers toward their wives and children from a place of love and in a controlled and measured manner(Jeremiah 30:11).

Physical discipline on the part of husbands and fathers toward their wives and children that comes from a place of love and control and is properly exercised within the boundaries of God’s law should never ever be conflated with physical abuse.

Verbal Rebukes or Physical discipline that does not come from love or is not controlled in keeping with God’s boundaries is by Biblical definition abuse.

A husband and father who comes home after having a bad day at work hurling insults and corrupt words at his wife or children is acting in an emotionally abusive way toward his family.  Even if he is not hurling insults or cursing at them – if he rebukes them from a place of bitterness and spite as opposed to love and control this may be emotionally abusive behavior on his part.

When a husband or father physically disciplines his wife from a place or rage, revenge anger or bitterness  as opposed to love and control he is engaging in physical abuse by Biblical standards.

Actions like punching, shoving, kicking, hair pulling, biting and threatening the use of weapons violate the Biblical principles of love and control which are to govern all instances of physical discipline.

A Word Of Caution On The Issue Physical Discipline

It is one thing to know what God’s Word says about the differences between physical abuse and discipline – that is knowledge.  But wisdom is knowing what to do with that knowledge.  As parents we have the God given right to use physical discipline with our children in a loving and controlled manner.  But we must also be cognizant of the evil world we live in where any type of physical discipline – even toward children is frowned upon.  Not only that – we have social service organizations that are just waiting to come in and take children if there is any hint of what they regard as child abuse even if that definition does not match the Scriptural definition.

So in the case of using physical discipline with children I believe we as parents need to follow Christ’s admonition to be “wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16) and exercise this right with some caution.  That means it is probably not best to be spanking our children in the middle of a store in front of 30 people. It may mean if a child is acting unruly that we pick them up, leave our grocery cart, and take them to our car and take them home and then give them the physical discipline that is due.

I am a firm believer that small children need to be spanked.  At very young ages they really don’t understand other forms of non-physical discipline.  Obviously as parents we need to do this in love and with measure.  That would mean you don’t spank a one year old on the bottom with the same force that you do a four year old.  But as children get older there are other non-physical forms discipline we can use in taking away things like video games, TV time, computer time, tablets and phones and grounding them from friends.

On the matter of husbands spanking their wives – that is a much larger topic by itself.  Please see my article “Does the Bible Allow A Husband to Spank His Wife?”.  I originally wrote this article in September of 2016.  I have completely rewritten that article over the last couple weeks to be a companion piece with this article.

Why the Bible Allows Forced Sex in Marriage

Is forced sex in marriage wrong? If you are like most American Christians your gut answer would be YES! Of course, the Bible says it is wrong! Up until very recently I used to think the answer was YES as well. But as God began to peel back my American cultural presuppositions I realized the answer might be something other than what I was comfortable with.

In my last article entitled “It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s”, I proved from the Scriptures that God does not allow a woman to say YES to sexual relations to a man she is not married to and he does not allow her to say NO to sexual relations to her husband whom she is married to.

But this raises another question for those Christians who accept that the Bible calls it sin for a woman to sexually refuse her husband. What if a woman does refuse her husband? Can the husband under God’s law physically force himself upon his wife who sinfully resists him?

Here are some answers I have given on this blog in the past. In one of the most popular articles on this blog entitled “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” I wrote this:

“I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife or to physically abuse her in any fashion. The issue being discussed is how a husband can confront a wife who chronically or willfully denies his sexual rights in marriage without just cause (be it legitimate health or mental conditions). He has the right, both under Biblical law, as well as under American law, to reason with his with his wife and try to convince her to willingly(even if grudgingly) yield herself to him, and thereby fulfilling one her most important duties in Christian marriage.”

And in my article entitled “The Rape Straw Man” I stated:

“Biblically speaking, there is no such thing as “marital rape” – HOWEVER, there is such a thing as physical abuse. While the Bible does not speak specifically to this case of a man forcing himself on his wife, I believe it is a case of physical abuse.

So what others call rape, I call abuse. In the same way that when someone is wrongfully killed it might be first degree murder, second degree murder or man slaughter what we call “physical abuse” and what we call “rape” is dependent on the relationship between the man and woman in question. There is no doubt a wrong has been committed. But what we call it, and how it is punished or dealt with is very different depending on the circumstances.”

My Change in Position on Forced Sex in Marriage

The emergence of the MeToo movement lead me to restudy and reconsider my understanding of what the Bible says about sexual consent. I have been pouring over the Scriptures for the last couple of months really asking God to reveal to me any presuppositions or cultural biases I might have on this subject and I have written many articles related to sexual conduct from a Biblical perspective recently. My last article “It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s”, not only traced the wicked origins of modern American sexual consent ideology but more importantly it laid the foundation for a Biblical view of when God consents to a man and woman entering into sexual relations.

Because of what God revealed to me through his Word in that study as of today I am officially changing my position on the issue of forced sex within marriage. My new position is as follows:

Forced sex within marriage by a husband toward his wife is not in and of itself a sin but it can be a sin under certain circumstances. The “Markland Letter” case which I addressed in my article “It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s” where the man forced sex on his wife after surgery would be an example of a husband sinfully forcing himself on his wife.

Now a lot of Christians at this point are shutting me down. But I want to encourage you and challenge the view you have been raised with in our culture with what God’s Word actually says on this very controversial subject.

Is All Forced Sex in Marriage Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse?

In their article entitled “What does the Bible say about spousal/marital rape?” GotQuestions.org states:

“Spousal or marital rape is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. In spousal rape, sex is forced on one spouse by the other. While the Bible does not specifically deal with spousal rape, it has plenty to say about the husband-wife relationship and its representation of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32)…

and God never condones rape.”

I want to quickly address the terminology I am using here. I am using the phrase “forced sex” and gotquestions.org is using “marital rape” or just “rape”. The reason I am using the term “forced sex” instead of “rape” is because the term rape in our language and culture not only denotes an action taken, but it also implies a moral condemnation of that action. Calling “forced sex” rape in our language and culture would be like referring to every instance of killing as murder. I am going to speak more to the term “rape” later on in this article.

Biblically speaking all instances of forced sex are not considered rape any more than all instances of killing are considered murder. It is the context which determines if a particular instance of forced sex is rape just as it is the context which determines if a particular killing is murder. The only forced sex the Bible ever condemns is forced sex OUTSIDE of marriage. The Bible actually addresses forced marriage and as a result of marriage forced sex in the book of Deuteronomy.

God Condoned Forced Sex in Marriage

God granted the right of men to take women as one of the many spoils of war as long as they were not one of seven forbidden nations in which everyone was to be killed:

“But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”

Deuteronomy 20:14 (KJV)

In the next chapter God details the process by which men could take women as spoils of war:

“10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

So in summary God allowed men to take by force women as captives of war. However, unlike the nations around them – they were not allowed to have forced sex right there on the battlefield with their captive women. Instead God had a higher standard. God made the Israelite men wait one month to allow the woman to mourn the death of her loved ones.

Even after the month – the man had to take her as his wife, not simply his sex slave as other nations also did. God commands them “thou shalt go in unto her” which is a euphemism for sex in the Bible. Now some might say “Well that does not say forced sex, it just says sex” and that is absolutely true. A man “going in unto a woman” does not denote whether it was forced or not. However there is a key phrase at the end of this passage that DOES indicate forced sex: “because thou hast humbled her”.

God’s Definition of Rape

There are many euphemisms for sex in the Bible. Men “knew” their wives, they “lay” with their wives and as we can see here they “went in unto” their wives. However there is another euphemism for sex in the Bible that specifically denotes “forced sex” and that is the “humbling” of a woman by a man.

This same phrase is used when speaking of actions the Bible actually considers to be rape (as opposed to our modern understanding that all forced sex is rape):

“23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.

26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.”

Deuteronomy 22:23-29 (KJV)

In the above passage from Deuteronomy chapter 22 we find God’s definition of rape as opposed to our modern definition of rape. What does God call rape? Does he say it is simply when a man humbles (has forced sex) with a woman? The answer is NO. Instead we find that rape in God’s eyes is when a man has forced sex with a woman who is he not married to. The Bible covers both a betrothed (or married) woman and also virgin woman. In a follow-up article to this one I will be specifically addressing God’s command that a rapist had to marry the woman he raped.

My point in showing Deuteronomy 22:23-29 is twofold. First it gives God’s definition of rape which is the when a man has forced sex with a woman who is not his wife. Secondly in the context of the rape discussion God uses the term “humbled” to denote forced sex.

This English word “humbled” in these passages is a translation of the Hebrew word “anah” which means to “afflict”, “humble” or “force” in most instances.

Anah is used in reference to two famous rape stories in the Bible. The first is regarding the rape of Dinah, the daughter of Leah and wife of Jacob:

“1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled [anah] her.”

Genesis 34:1-2(KJV)

The second is the rape of Tamar by her half-brother Amnon:

“Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced [anah] her, and lay with her.”

2 Samuel 13:14 (KJV)

And again why was the ‘anah’ or humbling and forced sex of these women considered to be true rape and thus immoral? Because they broke God’s law in Deuteronomy 22:23-29 that condemned a man having forced sex with a woman that was not his wife.

The Humbling of a Woman in Marriage

And a final note on Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and the humbling of the captive woman who was taken by the divine allowance of God. Some have tried to say this humbling had to do strictly with the woman shaving her head. What these same people do not realize is that it was common in ancient Middle Eastern cultures for both men and women to either pull out their hair or shave their heads when horrible tragedies struck. I believe the loss of one’s entire family would qualify in this case.

Also saying that the humbling of the woman by the man does not refer to forced sex takes a very naïve approach to the situation. Can anyone with a straight face say they think most captive women after only one month would want to willingly and consensually have sex with the man who may have killed their family or at least was part of the army that did? The reality is we all know in this situation that in the vast majority of cases even after one month the man would be having forced sex with his new bride. That is just reality.

So we can as Bible believing Christians rightly say based on Deuteronomy 22:23-29 that God never condones rape which HE defines as a man having forced sex with a woman he is not married to. But we can equally say that God does in fact condone forced sex in marriage based on Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

Biblical Sex is Not Just about Giving, But Also about Taking

In their article entitled “What does the Bible say about spousal/marital rape?” GotQuestions.org states:

“Some people believe that a wife must be agreeable to sexual relations with her husband at any time and that she has no say in the matter. They often misuse 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 to support the erroneous view that a wife can never tell her husband that she would like to defer having sex for a time. Some men believe that the husband has a God-given right to just “take it,” in spite of his wife’s objections…

It is clear from the Bible that mutuality reigns in the bedroom. According to 1 Corinthians 7:1–5, a husband should provide sexual satisfaction to his wife, and a wife should provide sexual satisfaction to her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, and a husband does not have authority over his own body. They belong to each other. Does this mean that a husband can force himself on his wife anytime he so desires? Definitely not. What the passage teaches is that each spouse is to willingly, freely, lovingly submit to the other. The passage is about giving satisfaction, not demanding it. The focus is on pleasing one’s spouse. There is no selfishness involved. Forcibly taking what has not been offered is wrong and plainly against the Bible’s commands on love and marriage.”

I would not call GotQuestions.org a raging feminist site as they do speak on submission in marriage, even if at times they water it down quite a bit. However the term “mutuality” they use in this article is a favorite of Christian feminists. In fact some Christian feminists use this passage in 1 Corinthians 7:1–5 to try to cancel out all the Bible’s teachings on male headship in marriage and they say marriage is a “mutual partnership”.

I am not denying that there is not any mutuality taught in this passage as there clearly is. But it is a limited mutuality, not an all-inclusive mutuality.

The first part of this passage from I Corinthians shows that a husband and wife have a right to sexual access to one another’s bodies:

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

I Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

The English word “power” here is a translation of the Greek word Exousiazo and can refer to authority or the right to do something. If we try and say here that God is saying a wife has literal authority over her husband’s body then this contradicts with the Scriptural teaching that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church and the wife is to submit to her husband in everything as the Church is to submit to Christ in everything (Ephesians 5:23-24).

In the programming world in which I work we would call this an infinite loop. If a husband can command compel his wife to give her body to him yet she can command him not to give his body to her we can see where this ends up.

So when we take the whole of the Scriptures and especially Ephesians 5:23-24 into account we understand that the “power” of I Corinthians 7:3-5 actually refers to “the right”. A husband has the right to sexual access to this wife’s body and the wife has the right to sexual access to her husband’s body.

Are Christian Husbands Wrong for “demanding” Sex From their Wives?

GotQuestions.org claims The passage is about giving satisfaction, not demanding it. The focus is on pleasing one’s spouse and I don’t deny that this passage does reference giving one’s self to one’s spouse. When it uses the word “render” that is our duty as spouses to GIVE our bodies to our spouses for their sexual satisfaction. However it also talks about the “power” or “right” of the spouse toward their spouse’s body – this is clearly the power to TAKE or seek sexual satisfaction in one’s spouse’s body. GotQuestions.org does not like “take” to be anywhere in the conversation of sex but in this passage the giving AND taking aspects of sex as God designed it are clearly on display.

Finally as far as “demanding” sex is it is true that the wife can no more demand anything of her husband than the Church can demand something of Christ. Can she request sex from her husband as the Church can request various things of Christ? Yes. But she cannot demand anything of her husband. However, can and does Christ demand obedience from his Church in “everything” as Ephesians 5:23-24 shows? The answer is yes. Therefore since a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his Church he can demand obedience from his wife (including in the sexual arena) just as Christ demands obedience from his Church.

Do Wives Have to be “agreeable” to Sex at “at any time”?

GotQuestions.org claims that some Christians have an “erroneous view” that “that a wife must be agreeable to sexual relations with her husband at any time and that she has no say in the matter”. I would agree that I Corinthians 7:2-5 never specifically mentions sex on demand “at any time” from a wife. But there is another passage of Scripture dealing with sex in marriage that DOES:

15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee AT ALL TIMES; and be thou ravished always with her love.”

Proverbs 5:15-19 (KJV)

The Scriptures command husbands to “drink” or take pleasure from the sexual well that is their wife’s body. They are command let her breasts (symbolic of her whole body) satisfy them AT ALL TIMES or in the words of GotQuestions.org “at any time”.

Besides Proverbs 5:15-19 there is any even more powerful principle of Scripture that dictates what a wife’s response is to be to her husband in all matters:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

So as we can see, the Bible commands that a wife should be “agreeable…at any time” to anything her husband asks her to do whether it is cleaning, cooking, paying the bills, putting children to bed and yes having sex with him. The only Biblical caveat to this would be if he asked her to do something sinful against God and then she has to obey God rather than her husband (Acts 5:29). It really is that simple.

But God never forces himself on his wife!

Some will take the relationship of Christ and his Church and claim “we never see Christ forcing his Church and therefore husbands may not force their wives”. Others will conflate salvation with marriage and say “God does not force us to come to him salvation, therefore a husband cannot force his wife to have sex with him.”

Let me address the latter claim first and then I will address the former. Two of the primary ways that God pictures our relationship to him is as a father and then as husband. Our relationship as individuals to God is pictured as that of a child to their father. Our relationship to God as a group, as the people of God, is pictured as that of a wife to her husband.

When God invites us to become his children this is presented as a choice:

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.”

John 12:36 (KJV)

Now of course we understand there is a consequence of that choice. If we do not choose to obey the Gospel of Christ this is what awaits those who disobey his Gospel:

“7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power”

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 (KJV)

But in the context of God’s relationship to his people as a whole he sometimes compels obedience by force. In the Old Testament the relationship of God to the nation of Israel was pictured as a marriage with God as the husband and Israel as his wife. When Israel rebelled against God just after making their marriage covenant with him the Bible tells us he humbled Israel:

“2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble[anah] thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled[anah] thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (KJV)

Remember that in the context of the relationship of a man and woman when he humbles her this is the man forcing himself upon the woman. God forced Israel to yield to him and to learn that concept that “that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live”.

But Christ Never Forces His Church!

Some will say – “Well God’s relationship with Israel was different than his Church and Christ never forces his Church to do anything”.

Earlier I said the reason I don’t use the term rape in the context of marriage is because it is like using murder to refer to all killing. Only unlawful killing (unlawful by God’s law) is considered murder. Killing in self-defense or to save others is not wrong. Even in the case of wrongful forced sex in marriage like the Markland Letter case, such action is not rape but rather physical abuse.

But now I want us to look at the definition of rape. Here is the Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition of rape:

“In a general sense, a seizing by violence; also, a seizing and carrying away by force, as females.

In law, the carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will.

Privation; the act of seizing or taking away.”


Now someone reading this might say “See right there even in the old definition of rape it talks about a man taking a woman against her will!”. And that is very true. However as I explained earlier it is God who defines what rape is – not us. But I want you to zero in on the first definition where it says “a seizing and carrying away by force”.

Now let us turn to the New Testament. Before I give the next Scripture I want to set the stage a bit. In the Old Testament the marriage of God to Israel is pictured as a full consummated marriage after which Israel commits adultery with false gods and God divorces her for this.

In the New Testament the Church is pictured as a betrothed bride to Christ whose marriage has not yet been consummated:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)

The “consummation” of the Church and Christ’s marriage is described in the passage below:

“16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)

The event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is what is known as the “rapture” of the Church.

Bible.org gives a brief background of the word “rapture”:

“Regarding the term rapture and its use in theology the following should answer your questions. It is taken from Ryrie’s Basic Theology, Electronic Media from Parsons Technology.

Our modern understanding of rapture appears to have little or no connection with the eschatological event. However, the word is properly used of that event. Rapture is a state or experience of being carried away. The English word comes from a Latin word, rapio, which means to seize or snatch in relation to an ecstasy of spirit or the actual removal from one place to another. In other words, it means to be carried away in spirit or in body. The Rapture of the church means the carrying away of the church from earth to heaven.

The Greek word from this term “rapture” is derived appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, translated “caught up.” The Latin translation of this verse used the word rapturo. The Greek word it translates is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. Elsewhere it is used to describe how the Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and brought him to Caesarea (Acts 8:39) and to describe Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Thus there can be no doubt that the word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven.”


Ryrie’s definition of harpazo actually leaves out a very important part of the definition. It is not simply to snatch, seize or take away – it is do these things “by force”

Strong’s #726: harpazo (pronounced har-pad’-zo)

from a derivative of 138; to seize (in various applications):–catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).


And if we look at the word origin of our English word “rape” we read:

“early 14c., “booty, prey;” mid-14c., “forceful seizure; plundering, robbery, extortion,” from Anglo-French rap, rape, and directly from Latin rapere “seize” (see rape (v.)). Meaning “act of abducting a woman or sexually violating her or both” is from early 15c., but perhaps late 13c. in Anglo-Latin.”


So now I will pull this all together for you. The Greek word which describes how Jesus Christ will take his church is harpazo which means to seize or take something or someone by force. When the Bible was translated into Latin (which Jerome finished in 405 AD) the word rapturo which was derived from the Latin word rapio (meaning to seize or snatch) was used to translate the Greek harpazo. Then in the 14th century the English word “rape” was created from the Latin to describe a man forcing a woman to have sex with him.

While English common law as well as previous laws held it was not wrong for a man to force his wife to have sex, over time the word rape came to be a derogatory term used not just of men forcing women they were not married to into sex, but also of husbands forcing their wives to have sex.

So the irony is that same word we rejoice of over – the “rapture” or seizure by force of the bride of Christ which his Church is the same word we use to condemn a husband for forcing his wife to have sex with him. Think about that. Let that settle in your brain a bit.

Is “Forced Sex” in Marriage an Oxymoron?

Now that I have proven from the Old Testament that God “humbled” or “forced” Israel to bend to his will and that Christ will actually rapture (take by force) his Bride which is the Church I want to come back to the address the following assertion from GotQuestions.org on this subject of forced sex in marriage:

“The truth is that sexual expression was designed by God to be an act of love within a marriage, and violence or coercion should never be a part of it. Forced sex is not love

When God humbled Israel would we call this anything less than an act of love on his part? The answer is we would indeed call it an act of love. Did God use violence on Israel when they disobeyed him in the dessert? You better believe he did. Did he use coercion to compel his wife to yield to his demands? You better believe he did. It is right there in the story of the marriage of God to Israel all throughout the Old Testament.

Even Christ when rebuking his Churches states:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

Therefore we can conclude based on the example of God himself as a husband that forced sex in marriage is NOT an Oxymoron.

Forced Sex Scenarios

Now I want to give some scenarios with force to try and help you understand this concept better.

Forced Sex Scenario #1

Let’ say a husband comes home from a long trip, his wife has no idea when he will arrive. He comes in through the door as she is working in the kitchen, he picks her up in his arms and takes her to their bedroom. He tears through her clothes as fast as possible and has sex with her.

Now this was definitely a matter of force – he did not ask her permission or even say a word to her. But if she complies willing with his forceful gesture most people would say there was nothing wrong in that scenario. In fact some women would even find it romantic. In fact the picture I have just painted would be similar to what the Scriptures paint as the rapture of the Church by Christ who is her husband.

However, if during his attempt at forced sex his wife resisted in anyway now our modern society is up in arms. “He has violated her consent!” we are told. But from a Biblical perspective as we have shown in this article – if the wife resists her husband in the above scenario and he continues to force her to his will who has sinned? The husband, the wife or both? Biblically speaking it is the wife who has sinned and the husband is not sinning by forcing her to yield to his lawful demand.

Now if the wife resisted the husband in this scenario – if he loves her – is that what he wanted from her? Of course not. He wanted to be able to pick up his wife in his arms and for her to willingly give herself to him no questions asked. Just as Christ wants his Church to willing embrace him at the rapture. But make no mistake – Christ is not going to take “I am not in the mood today” from his Church when he comes. He is taking his Bride by force!

Forced Sex Scenario #2

Let’s say a man takes a woman as his wife who clearly did not want to be his wife. In the Bible this could be a scenario where a father gives his daughter to a man she does not want marry or it could be a man captures a woman as a captive during war. So on their wedding day he goes to have sex with her and she resists him. So he holds her down and forces her. In Biblical terms he has justly “humbled” his wife.

Again who is the one sinning in this scenario? Is the wife who sinning by resisting or is the husband sinning by forcing himself on his wife? Or is it both? We know the Biblical answer is that it is the wife who is sin and the husband is right and just in forcing his wife to have sex with him.

And once again – do men who truly love and have affection for their wives want it to be this way? No. We as men want what God wants from his wife – willing obedience, but if obedience is not given willfully we follow God’s example with Israel and humble our wives and take it by force.

Forced Sex Scenario #3

I was asked in a recent comment on my blog what I thought of the scenario of a “husband shoving his member down his wife’s throat”. In other words a husband forcing his wife to perform oral sex on him – is that a sin?

So a husband and wife are having sex and he decides to take his member up to his wife’s head for her to perform oral sex on him. She resists and turns her head away so he takes her head and forces her to perform oral sex on him.

We have given several principles in this article that answer this question.

The I Corinthians 7:2-4 principle teaches that a wife has a duty to render her body to her husband and it also gives him the right of sexual access to her body.

The Proverbs 5:18-19 Principle says a husband is to satisfy himself (literally drink his fill) of his wife’s body AT ALL TIMES.

The Ephesians 5:24 Principle says that a wife is to submit to her husband in EVERYTHING.

The Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Principle shows us that God humbled his wife Israel and forced her learn obedience to his will.

Therefore we can conclude based on the witness of the Scriptures that it is NOT a sin for a man to force his wife to perform oral sex on him as she has a duty to render her entire body to him to fulfill God’s command to him to satisfy himself with her body at all times. She is to submit to him in everything, not just the things she feels like doing or is comfortable with.

Ladies – I know for some of you this is a hard one to swallow (pun intended) but scripturally speaking the Bible does not condemn such actions by a husband toward his wife.

But Forced Sex is Selfishness!

The selfishness card is often used to dismiss not only a man forcing himself on his wife but also a man allowing his wife to consent to sex when she really is not in the mood. The reasoning goes – “if you see your wife is not in the mood for any reason, then if you were being selfless you would give up your desire or need.” Others have even tried to argue that if sex is ever desired in anyway other than to give pleasure to the other person it is by definition selfishness.

However the Biblical definition of selfishness is not simply doing things for one’s own benefit or desire. But instead it is when a person ONLY does things for their benefit or desire and never considers the needs of others.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

Philippians 2:4 (KJV)

The key phrase there in that verse which is also in the Greek is the word “also”. This verse is not saying it is wrong to look to our own needs or desire, but that we must ALSO look to the needs and desires of others well.

And I would remind anyone who says it is selfish for a man to have sex with his wife when she is not in the mood or to force her to have sex that this is selfishness to look to Proverbs 5:15-19 which commands a man to satisfy himself with his wife’s body “at all times”.

But Doesn’t Forced Sex Violate the Husband’s Duty to Care for his Wife’s Body?

It is absolutely true that Ephesians 5:28-29 teaches men as husbands that they are to care for their needs if their wife’s body. That is why what the husband did in the Markland Letter case was wrong because he violated this principle in causing severe damage to his wife’s body after surgery by forcing himself on her.

But outside of extreme conditions where a wife has not just had surgery we have to ask ourselves does forced sex in marriage by the husband toward his wife violate the Ephesians 5:28-29 principle? The answer I think in most cases is NO.

In most cases forced sex in marriage will hurt the woman’s pride, or in Biblical terms “humble her” more than anything else.

Some might ask “What about the risk of tissue tearing, bruising or rashes and other discomforts caused by forced sex?” Is there a risk of these things occurring? Yes. But who is it that is causing this risk? Is it the husband by exercising his lawful right to compel his wife to have sex or is it the woman who is causing this risk to herself by resisting her husband’s lawful demand?

Let me give some examples to illustrate what I am saying.

If a police officer pulls you over and asks you to produce your license and registration and you refuse and you refuse to get out of the car – can he use force to make you obey his lawful order? You better believe he can. And if you resist the officer in the course of his lawful actions and in the process you smack your head on the ground or get scrapes and cuts who was it that put you at risk? Was it him or was it you by your resisting his lawful actions?

If a parent goes to spank their child and in the process of resisting the child gets bumps, bruises and tears who was it that put themselves at risk and brought these injuries on themselves?

If a police officer has a warrant to enter your home and you resist and as he enters the home by force you or your home are damaged whose fault was that?

Am I Telling Husbands to Go Home and Force Themselves on Their Wives?

The answer is No. But you might be thinking – Wait you just said spent this entire article telling us it was not a sin for a man to force himself on his wife!

As you catch your breath let me explain a simple principle regarding Biblical rights. Just because we have the right to do something, does not mean it is always wise to do something.

Paul said that he had the right to take a wife yet he chose not to exercise that right:

“5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?…15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.”

1 Corinthians 9:5 & 15 (KJV)

He goes into more detail as to why he did not exercise his right to take a wife in the passage below:

“I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.”
1 Corinthians 7:26 (KJV)

So, Paul was saying because of “the present distress”, the horrible persecution of the church, he felt it was better for a man not to exercise his God given right to take a wife.

In the same way because of the present distress of feminism and the utter hostility toward Biblical marriage I personally do not think it is always wise for a husband to force himself on his wife even though it is his right as her husband, her head and her master to force her compliance to God’s commands in this area of sexuality.

Christ admonished us to be “wise” in a world which hates the God of the Bible:

“16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.”

Matthew 10:16-19 (KJV)

Gentlemen there is more than one way to skin a cat. If you use force against your wife, it may be right and just before God – but because of the wicked society we live in you run a very high risk of going to jail for violations of domestic abuse laws or the remove of the marital rape exemption in all 50 states. All your wife has to do is make a phone call.

Instead you need to be wise as serpents as Christ admonished us to be and use other means to discipline your wife. See my article “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” for ideas on non-physical ways in which you can discipline your wife. These are all non-physical methods of discipline that you can never be prosecuted for (despite feminist fantasies to the contrary).

For instance, no police officer anywhere is going to arrest a husband for spending less time with his wife because she refuses to submit to him sexually. No prosecutor is going to prosecute a case where a husband refused to pay for kitchen upgrades because his wife refused to sexually submit. No jury will convict a husband of marital rape because he refused to buy his wife some jewelry she wanted because she would not sexually submit to him.

If a woman complains about these non-physical things her husband is doing to a law enforcement officer they are going to tell her “If you don’t like it get a divorce”. I have had multiple police officers and others write me since I wrote that article (“8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”) confirming this for me.

Using non-physical methods of discipline are ways that you can communicate your displeasure with your wife’s sinful attitudes but at the same time you can shield yourself from a world that is hostile to Biblical male headship.

A Final Exhortation to Christian Wives

Christian wife this all goes back to how you view yourself in God’s design of marriage.

“13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings”

Philippians 2:13-14 (KJV)

Imagine if you actually followed Ephesians 5:22-24’s admonition to submit to your husband “as unto the Lord… in everything”. Imagine if you submitted to your husband working in your body both to will and do of his good pleasure without grumbling or resisting him?

If you were to follow this pattern with your husband then the issue of forced sex in marriage would really be a non-issue.

It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s

The Bible’s teachings on when sexual relations may occur between a man and a woman are in direct conflict with the American Sexual Consent ideology that sadly even many Christians believe in. Some Christians are simply ignorant about what the Bible says regarding when sexual relations may occur.  Other Christians actually know what the Bible says about when sexual relations may occur and they choose to ignore such passages or explain them away as being irrelevant for our society.

If you are a Christian who knows what the Bible says about when sexual relations may occur between a man and woman and choose to ignore it or explain it away this article may do little to change your mind.  I pray that you will repent – but it is in God’s hands and not mine.

But my primary focus in this article is to talk to Christians, especially young Christians, who have grown up in Churches that have abandoned the teachings of the Bible.  I hope that when you are exposed to the teachings of God’s Word regarding sexual relations between a man and a woman you will open your heart and mind to what God has to say and let it change your life.

It is interesting to watch the civil war in feminism caused by the MeToo movement play itself out in feminist circles. On one side we have feminists like Christina Cauterucci at Slate.com arguing that MeToo has made “little progress” since its inception and much more needs to be done.  But on the other side we have feminist writers like Daphne Merkin at the New York Times that admit to having “misgivings” about the MeToo movement and its impact on male female relationships and especially on things like flirting and how men and women enter into sexual relationships with one another.

Daphne Merkin makes the following statement in her article entitled “Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.”:

“What happened to women’s agency? That’s what I find myself wondering as I hear story after story of adult women who helplessly acquiesce to sexual demands. I find it especially curious given that a majority of women I know have been in situations in which men have come on to them — at work or otherwise. They have routinely said, “I’m not interested” or “Get your hands off me right now.” And they’ve taken the risk that comes with it.

The fact that such unwelcome advances persist, and often in the office, is, yes, evidence of sexism and the abusive power of the patriarchy. But I don’t believe that scattershot, life-destroying denunciations are the way to upend it. In our current climate, to be accused is to be convicted. Due process is nowhere to be found.

And what exactly are men being accused of? What is the difference between harassment and assault and “inappropriate conduct”? There is a disturbing lack of clarity about the terms being thrown around and a lack of distinction regarding what the spectrum of objectionable behavior really is. Shouldn’t sexual harassment, for instance, imply a degree of hostility? Is kissing someone in affection, however inappropriately, or showing someone a photo of a nude male torso necessarily predatory behavior?

I think this confusion reflects a deeper ambivalence about how we want and expect people to behave. Expressing sexual interest is inherently messy and, frankly, nonconsensual — one person, typically the man, bites the bullet by expressing interest in the other, typically the woman — whether it happens at work or at a bar. Some are now suggesting that come-ons need to be constricted to a repressive degree. Asking for oral consent before proceeding with a sexual advance seems both innately clumsy and retrograde, like going back to the childhood game of “Mother, May I?” We are witnessing the re-moralization of sex, not via the Judeo-Christian ethos but via a legalistic, corporate consensus.”

While Daphne Merkin raises many good points in the above article the point I wanted to zoom in on is her statement that Expressing sexual interest is inherently messy….

And why is expressing sexual interest a “messy” endeavor today? I submit to you the reason for the messiness of expressing sexual interest lies squarely at the feet of the Free Love movement in America that begin in the mid-19th century as a theory that eventually became an American cultural reality in the 1960s’.

The majority of this article will be spent showing how the whole “sexual consent” philosophy in America finds its roots in rebellion against God.  I will also show how it directly conflicts with the Biblical view of how men and women are to enter into sexual relations with one another.  At the end of this article I will show why God’s appointed way for men and women to express sexual interest in one another is not “messy” like methods of showing sexual interest are today. In fact God’s way in this regard is far less complicated.

The Roots of “Sexual Consent” ideology and the Free Love Movement in America

One of the founding fathers of Feminism as well as the Sexual Consent and Free Love ideologies in America was a man named Moses Harman (1830-1910).

William Lemore West penned an article entitled “The Moses Harman Story” for the Kansas Historical Society on Mr. Harman’s life and his accomplishments.

In that article he states of Moses Harman that he “not only denounced all forms of government and religion, but added a new dimension in reform by advocating that women be freed from sexual slavery by abolishing the institution of marriage. Harman did not develop these views until comparatively late in his life.”

West also alludes to Harman’s name change on the publication he would later gain fame for:

“The publication changed title again in 1883. Harman maintained that subscribers objected to the term “Kansas” in the paper’s title because the name was local in character. His subscribers also opposed the term “liberal” since so many newspapers and journals used the term in their titles. For these reasons he changed the publication’s title to Lucifer the Light Bearer (hereafter called Lucifer). The title was selected, stated Harman, because it expressed the paper’s mission. Lucifer, the name given the morning star by the people of the ancient world, served as the symbol of the publication and represented the ushering in of a new day. He declared that freethinkers had sought to redeem and glorify the name Lucifer while theologians cursed him as the prince of the fallen angels. Harman suggested that Lucifer would take on the role of an educator. “The god of the Bible doomed mankind to perpetual ignorance,” wrote Harman, “and [people] would never have known Good from Evil if Lucifer had not told them how to become as wise as the gods themselves.”

West shows us Harman’s defining belief in “equal freedom”:

“”Yes, I believe in Freedom — equal freedom. I want no freedom for myself that all others may not equally enjoy. Freedom that is not equal is not freedom. It is, or may easily become, invasion, and invasion is the denial or the death of freedom. The Spencerian formula — ‘Each has the right to do as he pleases so long as he does not invade the equal right of others,’ tells what freedom means. It is equivalent to saying that liberty, wedded to responsibility for one’s acts, is the true and only basis of good conduct, or of morality.” — From a “Free Man’s Creed,” by Moses Harman. The picture and quotation were copied from the Memorial of Moses Harman.”

West shows Harman’s animosity toward religion and “particularly Christianity”:

“Religion, particularly Christianity, came under heavy verbal attack by Harman. He contended that religion was based on ignorance of nature’s methods and fear of the unseen powers that were supposedly warring over human destiny. Religion was dangerous, declared Harman, because “fear begets hate, and hate results in oppression, war, and bloodshed.” [55] Later he suggested:

Cling not to the cross of a dead god for help in time of trouble, but stand erect like a man and resolutely meet the consequences of your acts, whatever they may be. . . . Every man [and woman] must be his own physician, his own priest, his own god and savior, if he is ever healed, purified, and saved. [56]”

West speaks to Harman’s hatred of the institution of marriage below:

“Harman opposed the institution of marriage because he considered it an unequal yoke. [65] He maintained that marital rights were limited to the rights of the husband, with the wife being but a slave to her master husband. [66] The promises of marriage to “love, obey, and honor,” said Harman, were immoral because there was no reasonable assurance that the two persons would be able to carry out the promises. [67] Love and freedom were supposedly destroyed by marriage. “If love survives marriage,” alleged Harman, “it is not because of it but in spite of it.” [68]”

West presents Harman’s vision of a “rational” family:

“He believed that the abolition of marriage would result in the birth of fewer children since children would be welcomed and cared for by mutual affection. He looked forward to the emergence of a new “rational” family where each member would “drop to his place like stones in an arch when artificial props are removed.” [72] This new family would be under the domination of the mother. [73]”

West shows Harman’s view that women needed financial independence from men:

“On another occasion he stressed that women would never have political independence until they earned enough money to command respect. This was not possible, said Harman, because women spend most of their good years bearing and rearing children. [75]”

David S. D’Amato in his article “Free Love: Moses Harman” for Libertarianism.org writes that Harman’s views formed the basis of a “lexicon” for the values that Americans now hold today:

“Moses Harman was a dauntless and pioneering early voice for feminism, sexual and reproductive freedoms, and free expression. His periodical Lucifer was arguably the most important publication of the free love movement, so important a part of latter nineteenth century American radicalism. Harman’s work anticipates much of a lexicon we now take for granted in the public conversation on women’s rights and family planning.

Fighting censorship and the oppression of women, Harman finds victory today through the strength of his ideas and their legacy, even if he often lost to the forces of reaction and authority in his own time. Harman thus offers a glimmer of hope to libertarians, to a group that looks forward to a freer and more tolerant society, yet realizes that it likely waits far off, beyond the horizon. For while Harman was widely considered an insane old crank in his lifetime, he is vindicated in the present.


Moses Harman And the Invention of Marital Rape

Wendy McElroy wrote an article for Foxnews.com entitled “Spousal Rape Case Sparks Old Debate” arguing against the historical marital rape exception that has existed in Western law until recent decades. In this article she alludes to who was responsible for first nationwide discussion of the possibility of marital rape:

“Western jurisprudence has a long tradition of absolving husbands from the possibility of rape. The first significant discussion in America of forced sex within marriage being categorized as rape, and of the need for a legal remedy, may well have been “The Markland Letter,” which was published in 1887 in a Kansas newspaper.

The letter read, “About a year ago F——— gave birth to a baby, and was severely torn by the instruments in incompetent hands. She has gone through three operations and all failed…last night when her husband came down, forced himself into her bed, and the stitches were torn from her healing flesh, leaving her in worse condition than ever...

The Markland letter became nationally notorious largely because its graphic description of violence left little doubt that the husband was a rapist despite the law.”


The “Kansas newspaper” she alludes to was Moses Harman’s “Lucifer the Light Bearer”.

Merril D. Smith in her book “Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America” gives us some more detail on the Markland letter:

“A good example is provided by Dr. W.G. Markland who sent Moses Harman, the editor of Lucifer, Light Bearer a letter from a close female friend which described the experiences of a woman who had recently given birth. Because of the incompetence of her attending physicians she suffered lacerations and subsequently endured several painful operations to correct her condition. While she was recuperating from her latest experience under the surgeon’s knife, Markland reported, her husband “forced himself into her bed and the stitches were torn from her healing flesh, leaving her in a worse condition than ever.” Incensed by this behavior, Markland was even more irate that the wife had no legal recourse to punish her attacker. “Will you point to a law that will punish this brute?” he rhetorically asked is reader. “If a man stabs his wife to death with a knife,” he continued, “does not the law hold him for murder?” But if he “murders her with his penis, what does the law do?”” – page 214

And from this letter from Dr. Markland published in Harman’s Lucifer the Light Bearer publication a national debate was started about the possibility of marital rape. Harman would quickly receive many letters from others that would claim there was an epidemic of women across America dying as a result for forced sex from their husbands.  Merril D. Smith concedes that there were many who doubted the accounts and many who believed the Free Lovers contention that “thousands” of these events were happening across the nation were exaggerations:

“Throughout the nineteenth century critics of the Free Lovers were quick to deny their claims of the prevalence of marital sexual abuse in the Victorian bedroom. In 1854, for example, Adin Ballou Argued that these sexual radicals “are prone to exaggerate the evils of dual marriage. They seem to think the best half of their battle is won, if they can only make these evils appear sufficiently dreadful. Accordingly, they harp incessantly on this string.” As part of their project to eliminate marriage, the Free Lovers clearly had a stake in publicizing these incidents of abuse.  They did not, however, make them up.” – page 218

The problem with the Markland Letter case was not with its condemnation of the husband’s behavior. I think the vast majority of Christians would agree both then and now that what he did to his wife was wrong.

As a Bible believing Christian and a firm believer in God’s institution of marriage and a husband’ sexual rights to his wife’s body I can easily show that God condemned the behavior of the husband in the Markland Letter based on the Biblical principle that husbands are to care for the needs of their wife’s bodies as they do their own.

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

Would the advocates of the false proposition of marital rape agree with us as Bible believing Christians that what the husband in the Markland Letter did was physical abuse even to the point of possibly endangering his wife’s life? Of course, they would.

But from a Biblical perspective it is absolutely impossible for a man to rape his wife because a man can only rape a woman he is not married to.  

In other words, from a Biblical perspective forced sex within the confines of marriage is not and cannot ever be classified as rape, but only forced sex outside of the confines of marriage can rightly be considered rape.

Also I need to point out something very important for Christians to understand about rape.  The world says rape is immoral because it violates a woman’s consent to sexual relations but the Bible shows us rape is wrong because it violates God’s consent for a man to have sexual relations with a woman.  God only consents to a man having sexual relations with a woman if he has entered into a covenant of marriage with her and then he may have sex with her “at all times” as Proverbs 5:19 commands.

However, Ephesians 5:28-29’s command for men to care for the needs of their wife’s body is a Biblical caveat to Proverbs 5:19’s exhortation for men to sexually satisfy themselves with their wife’s body at all times.   

While we as Christians should reject the false construct of marital rape we should certainly recognize the possibility of a husband physically abusing his wife and this Markland Letter case shows the husband did just that.  A woman’s genitals need time to heal after giving birth.  Even if the surgery was for something different than complications after child birth – if a husband forces himself on his wife with complete disregard for the damage it may cause her after surgery this is a clear violation of the Ephesians 5:28-29 principle that he is to care for the welfare of his wife’s body.

The truth is that free love advocates and feminists had (and still have today) a more insidious agenda.  They did not want to simply condemn physical abuses which occurred in this marriage situation or others.  They wanted to condemn the entire concept of Christian marriage itself with the husband as the head of the wife as an abusive relational construct and they wanted to eliminate traditional marriage from American society.

Now that we have shown the evil roots and true agenda of the Free Love and Sexual Consent ideologies we will now look at the fruit of these wicked movements in the form of modern “Sexual Consent” teachings.

The Biblical View of Sex Vs the Sexual Consent Ideology

Planned Parenthood has an article on their website entitled “Sexual Consent” which I think is a good representation of the tenets of modern Sexual Consent Ideology.  Below I will take several of those tenets they list and compare these tenets to what the Bible says about sexual relations between men and women.

Marriage is in Agreement to Sexual Activity

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity” but the Bible says Marriage IS an agreement to participate in a sexual activity:

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”

I Corinthians 7:3 (KJV)

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”

Exodus 21:10 (KJV)

Before You Can Be Sexual With Someone You Must Marry Them

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too” but the Bible says before being sexual with someone you need to be married to them first:

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

The Only Sexual Consent Required in Marriage is Consent to NOT have Sex

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Both people must agree to sex — every single time — for it to be consensual.” But the Bible says both people within a covenant of marriage must agree to NOT have sex.  Yes, sir and Yes mam you read that right.  The only mutual agreement regarding sex the Bible speaks to is the cessation of sex for short periods of mutually agreed time and then the couple is admonished to come back together in sexual union again:

“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”

I Corinthians 7:5 (KJV)

A Man Has God’s Consent to Have Sex with His Wife at All Times

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Without consent, sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration) is sexual assault or rape” but the Bible says God has given a man his consent to have sex with his wife “at all times” regardless of her consent:

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”

Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

Sex in Marriage is a Duty, NOT a Choice

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol” but the Bible says sexual relations within marriage are a duty that the spouses have towards each other, not a choice (Exodus 21:10, I Corinthians 7:3).

Wives are to Sexually Submit to Their Husbands in Everything

Sexual Consent Ideology says “When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do” but the Bible commands wives to be in subjection to their husbands in everything:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

The only exception to “every thing” is Acts 5:24’s exception that “We ought to obey God rather than man”.  That means if a woman’s husband asks her to participate in a threesome with another man she can rightly refuse his request because that would be a sin against God.  If, however he as her husband asks her to manually stimulate him, perform oral sex on him or have intercourse or other types of sexual activity with him this would fall under Ephesians 5:24’s “every thing” clause.

The Implicit Sexual Consent of the Marriage Covenant is Non-reversible

Sexual Consent Ideology says “Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed” but God says sexual consent which is given in the marriage covenant is NOT reversible but rather is a lifelong commitment:

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”

Romans 7:2 (KJV)

You Don’t Get the Final Say Over Your Body, God Does

Sexual Consent Ideology says “You get the final say over what happens with your body” but God says your body belongs to him and in marriage he has given your body to your spouse for their sexual use:

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalm 24:1 (KJV)

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV)

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

I Corinthians 7:4 (KJV)

The entire American concept of “It’s my body I can do what I want with it” flies directly in the face of a central tenet of Biblical Christianity that the world and all of us who live in it or have ever lived belong to God.  This false philosophy of bodily autonomy was a foundational building block of the Sexual Revolution and also formed the basis of heinous so called “abortion rights”.

I am fine with God having authority over my life and body, but no man is going to tell me what to do!

Many Christian women have this attitude toward male headship in marriage and they refuse to see the utter contradiction such an attitude is with the clear teachings of the Scriptures.

It is absolutely true that the Bible says “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17) and there is no doubt in my mind that the spirit of the Lord was present at the founding of the United States of America.

On June 28, 1813 America’s second president John Adams wrote these words in a letter to America’s third president Thomas Jefferson:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294.

As we previously pointed out, one of the general principles of Christianity is that we are not our own and that God has authority over our person and our bodies (Psalm 24:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19).   But many Christians reject the fact that God as our owner can and does delegate authority over us to other human beings.

Yes – God has made us free, both men and women, but we are warned not to use our freedom to serve our own selfish and sinful desires:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Galatians 5:13 (KJV)

God has not freed us so that we can serve our own selfish desires, but he has freed us to serve him. King David spoke of the relationship between the freedom God wants his people to have and the service to his law:

“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Psalm 119:45 (KJV)

What this means is – we are free to serve God and live our lives within the bounds of his law. Moses Harman’s ideology that “Freedom that is not equal is not freedom” does not match up with the Biblical teaching of what freedom actually is.  Sadly a lot of American Christians over the last century or so have bought into Harman’s false philosophy that everyone must have equal rights or they are being treated as less than human or in an unjust manner.

The Bible actually teaches that there are several classes of people to whom God gives different rights.  The slave class was the lowest social class and contrary to assertions otherwise God did give slaves rights(Exodus 20:10, Exodus 21:26-28, Job 31:13-15 & Colossians 4:1) .

The Bible teaches that slaves were to be taken care of and treated justly and fairly by their masters.  It tells masters that just as they came from their mother’s womb, so too did their slaves reminding them to treat them as fellow human beings. The Bible condemned masters who killed their slaves and if they seriously injured their slaves they were required by God to grant freedom to those slaves.

So in this way the slave class of the Bible actually formulates basic human rights under God’s law.  Every social class above the slave class has these same rights and then more rights. Other Biblical social classes include indentured male and female servants, children, slave wives(concubines), free wives and finally free men.  Free men had the most rights of any social class under God’s order.

Even in the New Testament slaves are still commanded to obey their masters and the Apostle Paul even returned a runaway slave(Philemon 1:10-18). Wives are still commanded to submit to their husbands(Ephesians 5:22-24) and children are still commanded to obey their parents(Ephesians 6:1-3) clearly proving that these social classes remain as part of God’s order.

The point is that the Bible in direct contradiction to Moses Harman and the modern American philosophy that “Freedom that is not equal is not freedom” shows us that freedom is not in fact based in equality.

God calls slaves “freedmen” in the sense that they were spiritually free but yet he told them to accept their earthly position as slaves while if they could be free to take that opportunity.

“20 Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.”

I Corinthians 7:20-24 (NASB)

For more on what the Bible actually says about slavery see my article “Why Christians should not be ashamed of slavery in the Bible“.

But in the context of the discussion of this article – men and women do not have the same rights and freedoms under God’s law yet they are both considered to be free.  God does not base our human value on our equal rights and freedoms with one another – but instead he bases it on the fact that we were created for his honor and glory and our value comes from fulfilling the role he has given us to play.

Isn’t it Selfish For a Man to Have Sex With His Wife When She is Not in The Mood?

Now some Christians at this point may be asking “Even though men and women have different rights under God’s law, isn’t it a selfish desire for a man to want sex with his wife when she tells him she is not in the mood?”  One of the most popular articles I ever wrote on the blog addresses that topic and it is entitled “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” I hope you will take the time to read it with an open heart and an open mind. The answer I show from the Scriptures in that article is NO it is not selfish for a man to desire sex with his wife when she is not in the mood.

The Giving and Taking of Women in Marriage

Now I will demonstrate from the Scriptures that God’s law regarding a woman’s consent to sexual activity does not resolve around her choice, but rather it is based in God’s consent and the consent of the men whom he has placed in authority over women.

We start with the fact that God has granted ownership to a father over his daughter. Under God’s law, a father could sell his daughter as an indentured servant (Exodus 21:7-11) with the possibility that his daughter could become a wife to the man or a son of the man she was sold to.

In fact, in the Scriptures there is a consistent teaching that women are GIVEN in marriage (mostly by their fathers) and TAKEN in marriage by their husbands.

God commanded men to take wives for themselves and to give their daughters in marriage and take wives for their sons as well:

Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)

Jesus recognizing this principle of men taking women in marriage and women being given in marriage stated:

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

Matthew 22:30 (KJV)

So yes ladies – that cute tradition of a father walking his daughter down the isle and giving his daughter away in marriage is not just tradition – it is by the command of God and has been practiced in one form or another since the beginning of creation.

Now that we have shown the ownership of the father over his daughter we will now discuss the ownership of a husband over his wife.

The sad fact is many Christians in American society refuse to accept that the Bible is crystal clear in its language that marriage is in fact a transfer of ownership of a daughter from her father to her husband.

The Hebrew Word ‘baal’ meaning “owner/master” in noun form or “to be owned” in verb form is often used when referring to a woman’s husband and it is always used when speaking of marriage occurring between a man and woman. While there are many Old Testament examples that prove this the follow passage from the book of Deuteronomy demonstrates the noun and verb uses of ‘baal’ and the ownership of a husband over his wife:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married [‘baal’ verb “owned by”] to an husband[‘baal’ noun “owner”], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)

Ephesians 5:22-31 clearly states that God created marriage to be a model of the relationship of God to his people with man representing God and woman representing the people of God. In the Old Testament this was pictured in God’s marriage to Israel and in the New Testament this is pictured in Christ’s relationship to his Church.

The fact is that even in Christ’s relationship to his Church it is clear that he “purchased” his bride (Acts 20:28) as all other husbands had since the beginning of creation.

Many Christian feminists while proudly claiming that men should follow Ephesians 5:25’s admonition for husbands to love their wives AS Christ loved the Church then in the same breath deny what the verses in front of it just said that the husband is the head of the wife AS Christ is the head of the Church and that wives are to submit to their husbands AS the Church submits to Christ.   Ladies – you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  You can’t take one part of what God says about his design for marriage in Ephesians chapter 5 while rejecting the other parts of it.  You take it all or you reject it all.

A Biblical Case Study in Sexual Consent

In the book of Exodus, we find a very interesting case study into the mind of God regarding the issue of sexual consent.

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

In verse 16 we are told that if a man entices a virgin (literally he seduces her) into having sexual relations with him we are told he has an obligation to make her his wife which would require him to enter into a covenant of marriage with her.  But then in verse 17 we read that God allows the father to “utterly refuse to give her unto him”.

When you look closely these two verses handle two different situations.  The first verse covers “Casanovas” or what we today would call “players”.  The second verse covers the “forbidden love” scenario.

God Condemns the Scheming Ways of Casanovas and Players

When the Bible commanded that the man must make the woman he enticed into extramarital relations his wife this was civil punishment and restitution that had to be made for his breaking of God’s moral law. This covers the Casanova who tries to have that “one-night stand” with a woman.  This covers the playboy who thinks he can seduce women into having sex with him outside of a covenant of marriage.

So, in this first scenario the man had no intention of marrying the woman – he just wanted to get some and he may have used all kinds of emotional trickery on the woman to convince her into having sex with him.  He may even have told her he loved her and wanted to ask her father’s hand in marriage.  He just wants a “taste” of the goods and then he will ask her father – or so he told her.

The next day after she naively gives herself to him he acts as if it never happened leaving her with the loss of her virginity and ruining her for other men.   This is the situation God was meaning to address by forcing the man to marry the woman he had just enticed.

Most men and women would call this first man I have just described a pig.  We would all be equally disgusted by his deceitful actions toward these young virgins while at the same time we must recognize these women also sinned by allowing him to entice them into sexual relations outside of a marriage covenant.

God Also Condemns Forbidden Love

But in verse 17 we see another scenario God is addressing.   This is a scenario that has played out in many “romance” stories over the years. Perhaps a daughter comes to her father and tells him of a cute young man that she wishes for him to arrange marriage for her to.  Her father refuses.  His reason might be character issues with the man or it might simply be economic issues.   The father may have told his daughter that he had a few other men in mind that were wealthier and could care for her better than this man she is attracted to.  Perhaps her marriage to one of these other men will provide a political or business alliance that will benefit her father. She tells her father “but I am not attracted to any of those men and I love this other man”.

Her father puts his foot down and tells his daughter “Enough! You are not marrying that man and I will hear no more of it.  I will let you know which of these other men I have chosen for you shortly.”  So, the daughter decides to take things into her own hands.  She decides she will go and have sex with the man she loves (lusts after) believing her father will be forced to give her to him in marriage.  Perhaps this man who also wants her for his wife has planted the idea in her head that her father will give her to him rather than refuse and risk her never marrying.

So, she comes to the man whom her father has refused and gives herself to the man who has so desperately wanted her.  At this point in the story most women and even a lot of men – Christian men and women would be rooting for the poor girl as she should have been able to chose the man she wanted right? WRONG.  The young virgin woman had absolutely NO right under God’s law to consent to sexual relations with that man. This entire scheme would be wicked before God.

This is why God grants father’s the right of refusal even if a man entices their daughter into sexual relations which means she has freely given herself to him (she was not forced).  This part of God’s law would work as deterrent to women who thought they could control their own sexuality or control what man they would marry.

This law taught women “If you give yourself to a man outside of lawfully approved marriage by your father – you might end up an old maid that never marries”.  So, a woman would be faced with this scenario – “Do I want to risk my father saying no because I sinned against him and God and risk being single the rest of my life or will I simply follow my father’s wishes and marry a man I am not attracted to but at least I will not be alone and I will have a husband and children?”

Men Can Make Women’s Virginity Precious Again

The sad commentary on our time is that a woman’s virginity is no longer the precious commodity to our culture that God declared it to be in the Scriptures.  Women have no fear that losing their virginity could relegate them to a lonely life with no marriage and no children as the women in the Bible feared.

We as Christians and especially young men and have allowed this to occur.  In the same way we men allowed feminism to rise we gave up the preciousness of a woman’s virginity by dating women who are not virgins.  Imagine if every Christian man made a commitment that he would never date or marry a woman who was not virgin unless her virginity was lost under these conditions:

  1. It was lost to her husband who died.
  2. It was lost to her husband from whom she was divorced (and she was the innocent party).
  3. It was lost because she was raped.

Would this not motivate young women to greatly guard their sexual purity? And yes, I know what all the egalitarians are saying – “what about the men?” Could these same rules be applied to men in order to promote sexual purity among young men as well? I think the answer is yes with the caveat that under Biblical law men may not be virgins when they marry a woman because they can have more than one wife.  But that is part of a larger discussion on polygamy which I have had elsewhere.  Another caveat in applying this to men is that as we have discussed in regard to young virgins living in their father’s home it is not the daughter that sets criteria for potential spouses but the father.

And just to be clear on this passage from Exodus – the man being forced to marry the woman he enticed to have sex with him and also the payment of the bride price even if the father refused were part of the civil laws of Israel.  These were restitutions that had to be made for breaking God’s moral law in either of the two scenarios we just described.

That’s just the Old Testament!

There are many Christians right now that have completely tuned out everything I have just written with the following thought in their head:

“Well that is just Old Testament and we as Christians are no longer under the Old Testament so Christian fathers have no right over their daughters sexual or marriage choices! Do you still stone people for adultery and do you still eat pork? If you don’t do these things then don’t talk to me about fathers control over their daughter’s decisions with their own bodies and their own lives. These decisions are between women and God.”

If you actually want to understand how the Bible works and the difference between the moral, ceremonial and civil laws of Israel and the fact that the Jesus Christ himself asserted the moral laws of the Old Testament I encourage you to read these articles I have written on the subject.

What is the distinction between the Moral, Ceremonial and Civil laws of the Old Testament?

What are the Moral Laws of God in the Old Testament?


The sad commentary on our time is that David S. D’Amato is absolutely right that our society has almost completely embraced the ideologies of Moses Harman with the big exception of his anarchist views. Feminists and Free Lovers actually went the opposite way on government and used the power of government to impose their views on American society.

Harman’s views of Christianity, men and women, gender roles and marriage which were considered “insane” a little more than a century ago are now “taken for granted” as truths that may no longer be questioned.

In the beginning of this article I alluded to Daphne Merkin’s statement in her New York Times article that “Expressing sexual interest is inherently messy…” in our modern American culture and I said I would explain at the end of this article why God’s appointed method of men and women expressing sexual interest is not messy at all but actually it is very easy when we do things his way.

Previously I alluded to several important passages of the Scriptures that directly speak to sex in marriage and they are Exodus 21:10, Proverbs 5:18-19, I Corinthians 7:2-5 and Ephesians 5:22-24.

Proverbs 5:18-19 teaches that a husband is commanded by God to sexually satisfy himself with his wife’s body at all times. Exodus 21:10 teaches that a husband has an obligation to provide his wife sexual access to his body.  I Corinthians 7:2-5 teaches that in marriage sex is both a right and responsibility for both the husband and the wife. Ephesians 5:22-24 teaches that wives are to submit to their husbands in everything and that includes their husband’s sexual preferences as long as he does not ask them to engage in sinful sexual acts (I gave the example a husband asking his wife to have sex with another man as an example of a sinful sexual request).

I also talked about God’s process for how men and women are to enter into sexual relations.  I showed how God only consents to a man and woman having sexual relations in the covenant of marriage.  I also showed God’s process for men and women entering into marriage after which they are allowed and are in fact commanded to have sexual relations with one another.

In modern America men have to flirt with women, flatter women or otherwise try and romance them to even have a chance of having having sex with them.  It is actually a very risky proposition for men and in the advent of the MeToo era it is even riskier as it might cost you your job. It truly is a “messy” process as Daphne Merkin calls it.

But in God’s design men did not have to flirt with women, flatter women or romance them to get them to have sex with them but rather they purchased the women they desired as Christ purchased his Church in Acts 20:28.

This was the process under normal conditions.  A man went to the woman’s father and expressed his interest in his daughter.  If he agreed to give his daughter to the man the man would return and present the bride price at which time the father would give his daughter to the man and he would then consummate the marriage by taking her sexually as his wife. From that point on he would take his wife sexually anytime he pleased and the wife would also have sexual access to his body as well.

A little note on the bride price.  While a man did not literally have to die to purchase his wife as Christ did to acquire his Church many men often had to save a half a years wages to purchase a wife.  That could take them several years to save. The Bible tells us of Jacob that he purchased Rachel by giving sevens years of labor to her father:

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”

Genesis 29:20 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that Rachel was a beautiful woman and her sister was something other than “beautiful and well favoured”.

Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

Genesis 29:17 (KJV)

The Hebrew phrase that is translated as “beautiful and well favoured” in the KJV is not as literal to Hebrew text.  In the Hebrew it it reads yâpheh[beautiful,lovely,fair] tô’ar [form, figure, shape] yâpheh[beautiful,lovely,fair] mar’eh[sight, vision, appearance].  So when we take this phrase together it said Rachel had “a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at”.  In modern terms we would say “Rachel had a hot body and was easy on the eyes”.

So apparently Rachel was so hot that Jacob served not one year or two years but seven years to purchase her as his wife!

But as we can see with God’s method of men and women entering into sexual relations with one another there is no mess, no fuss and no games. Some might argue that there was in fact a game that was played by Laban when he tricked Jacob into taking Leah as his wife first.  But that was a false contract and was sin before God. Regardless though Jacob being a noble man still kept Leah as his wife.

The point is it is a lot less complicated than what Daphne Merkin described as the MeToo movement’s goal of sex as “the childhood game of “Mother, May I?”.

What that means in practical terms is since I married my wife I can come touch her sexually any time I want.  If I want to come up behind her in the kitchen and cup her breasts in my hands as she washes the dishes I can do that.  I don’t have to ask her permission to do so.  If I want to slide my hands down her thighs and touch her groin area I don’t have to ask her permission to do so. If I want to slap her on the rear end as I walk by her, again I don’t have to ask her permission to do so. And finally, if I want to initiate sexual relations with her I don’t have to ask her permission before doing so.

In the same way if my wife wants to come by and grab my groin she has every right to do so as my wife.  If she wants to come by and slap me on the rear end she has every right to do so.   If while I am sleeping in the morning my wife decides to get on top of me and start having sex with me she has every right to do so as God has given her sexual access to my body.

Now we also understand that there is a Biblical caveat to our sexual access to our spouse’s body in that we are to care for the wellbeing of our spouse (Ephesians 5:28-29).  That means as Christians we can rightly condemn the actions of the husband who forces himself on his wife after surgery or child birth and thus endangers her by do so but at the same time we can uphold a husband’s right to have sex with his wife even if she may simply not be in the mood.

My point is if we enter into sexual relations following God’s design there is absolutely no chance of sexual harassment ever happening.  It is impossible for me to grope my wife (because she belongs to me) or for her to grope me (because God has given her sexual access to my body).  There is no messiness to sex in marriage when we remove the world’s evil ideas about sexual consent.

It is only when we bring the tenets of sexual consent ideology into sexual relations in marriage that sexual initiation then becomes “messy”.  If a husband has his hand slapped away by his wife she is sinfully making sexual initiation “messy” for her husband and sadly many women do that today.  If a husband would rather look at porn and masturbate than have sex when his wife reaches for him that makes sexual initiation “messy” for his wife.

And finally, on this topic of sexual consent – I have demonstrated here with conclusive proof that both in their origins and their agendas that the Sexual Consent and Free Love movements were founded in evil philosophies that were directly opposed to the God of the Bible and God’s institution of marriage.

God does not consent to two men or two women having sexual relations with one another even if they have given their “free” and “enthusiastic” consent to one another.

God does not give his consent to a man and woman having sexual relations with one another because they have both freely and enthusiastically given consent to one another.

God ONLY gives his consent to a man and woman having sexual relations when they have lawfully entered into a marriage covenant according the Scriptures.  Once a man and woman have entered into the covenant of marriage, not only does God consent to them having sexual relations but he commands it.

As Christians we would agree with the MeToo movement that men should not be making unwanted sexual advances in the work place or implying that their female coworkers or subordinates need to perform sexual acts to get promotions or keep their jobs.

But while we agree with MeToo that these actions by men are wrong – we very much disagree as to WHY these actions are wrong.  MeToo following the false Sexual Consent ideology says these unwanted sexual advances are wrong because they violate a woman’s consent.  For MeToo – if the woman expressed clear consent to having sexual relations with a coworker or even her boss then there is no wrong committed by the man in responding to her.

However, for us as Bible believing Christians a man making unwanted sexual advances toward a woman he is not married to whether in the workplace or elsewhere is wrong not because it violates the woman’s consent, but because it violates God’s consent to him having sexual relations with that woman.

We can all agree that physical abuse does occur in some marriages even if we might debate what actually constitutes physical abuse. Also as Christians we can agree that Ephesians 5:28-29 condemns husbands physically abusing their wives.  But as Christians we may never classify any physical abuse in marriage as rape because the false construct of marital rape implies that a wife may reject her husband’s sexual advances.

The Scriptures show that a woman may only resist a man’s sexual advances if she is not married to him and in the case of the man not being married to her she is required to resist his advances. That is why from a Biblical perspective a woman’s consent to sexual relations is really an oxymoron. Before marriage she has no choice but to say NO and after marriage she has no choice but to say YES.

It is not the woman’s consent that matters, it is Gods.


Are Gender Roles a Distraction From the Gospel?

Should we stop teaching Biblical commandments regarding gender roles? Is the teaching of Biblical gender roles a distraction to spreading the Gospel and bringing people to Christ?

This is what a lot of Christians today believe.  In fact I personally know many preachers today who say they stand on the Word of God yet they take this approach that “teaching what the Bible says on gender roles distracts from reaching people for Christ”.

Some of these men are firm believers in Biblical inerrancy.  They would even be considered “conservative” in many aspects of their life and ministry.  They will preach on many subjects including the church, giving and general holy living topics. They don’t believe that preaching “thou shalt not bear false witness” or “thou shalt not covet” are distractions to the Gospel. But to them teaching women that God says Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing is a distraction from the Gospel.

Recently I received an email from a man calling himself Mike.  I believe his email is a very good representation of what I have actually heard from Christian ministers today even if he is not a minister. This issue needs to be addressed as we challenge our culture (sadly even our Christian culture) with the truth of God’s Word.

With that said below is Mike’s email.

“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be. Your site and others like it simply muddies the waters.

If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged”, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?

Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities. When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.

I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?

My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter. We MUST focus on that. I have a brother I can’t even help understand Gods existence. Believe me when I say I understand my flaws. You should be helping your readers to understand yours.

Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith. Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you? This is precisely why we must get people believing FIRST, then LET God do his work within them. Remember that the “Judge not” statement literally covers all of scripture. I’m curious as to how or even if you will respond. I won’t hold my breath, but MY belief in God told me this needed to be said.

Respectfully Yours. Mike”


What follows is my response to several key statements Mike makes on this issue.  I think this will truly help to clarify these assertions that are so commonly made today by many Christians in our culture regarding the teaching of Biblical gender roles.

Shouldn’t the Gospel Be Our Number One Priority?

Mike’s Statement:

“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be.”

I very much believe that as believers in Christ our first priority should be reaching people with the Gospel of Christ.

Christ said this before his ascension:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

If I teach someone about Biblical gender roles and they implement that in their marriage but they have not placed their faith and trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior their following of Biblical gender roles won’t benefit them in the eternal sense.  They will die and go to hell as all those who do not take Christ as their savior will do.

It is only when they place their faith and trust in Christ that their following of Biblical gender roles will have value not only in this world, but also in the world to come when they receive their reward for the race they have run in this life.

Do you have to believe in Biblical gender roles to be saved?

Mike’s Statement:

“I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?”

Being baptized does not save us. Being part of a particular Christian denomination like Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist does not save us and believing in and practicing Biblical gender roles does not save us.

This is what the Bible says saves us:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” – John 1:11 (KJV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

“9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

“1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

It is believing in our heart that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our redemption that saves us.  If we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior we become children of God and have passed from death to life.

Isn’t it wrong to judge others for not following Biblical gender roles?

Mike’s Statement:

“If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged“, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?”

Mike is displaying the common misinterpretation of the principle of not judging people.  Let’s see what Christ actually said about judging.

“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

When Christ made his famous statement of “Judge not, that ye be not judged” he explained in the verses that follow the type of judging he was talking about.  He was talking about hypocritical judging.  That means if you are doing the same thing or worse you have no business telling someone they are wrong.  Fix your own house before your try to fix other’s houses.

Christ later actually COMMANDS us to judge in the passage below.

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 (KJV)

Paul later tells us not judge one another on disputable matters:

“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:1-4 (KJV)

The Apostle Paul says we as Christians should not judge one another when it comes to disputable matters.  This has to do with personal applications of the Scriptures to our daily lives. For instance one person may feel they have the freedom to drink alcohol and another person may not because they were raised by alcoholics or have a fear they may succumb to alcoholism.  The one who drinks should not judge the one who does not believe they can drink and the one who does not drink should not judge the person who takes advantage of his freedom to drink.

There may even be some differences with how one husband applies the Biblical principles of male headship with his wife and how another applies it with his.  For instance one man may allow his wife to writing out the checks for the bills and another man may never allow his wife to see the bank account or check book. This is an example of a personal application the principle of male headship in marriage.

The point is on the subject of judging – we are actually commanded to judge by Jesus Christ himself.  We are simply commanded to do it in a righteous way.  It is not hypocritical judging or even judging on disputable matters to preach what God clearly says in his word about the distinct roles for which he made men and women and what he says about marriage.  If we compare God’s Word to what Christians and non-Christians alike say that directly contradicts with clear statements of the Scriptures that is not wrong judging, that is in fact righteous judging.

How can we as flawed humans presume to interpret the Bible for others?

Mike’s Statement:

Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities.”

I am well aware of my own person flaws and my sin nature. I encourage people here regularly to follow the psalmist’s words:

“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)

And yes we as human beings can never fully understand the mind of God as the Scriptures say:

“15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” – I Corinthians 2:15-16 (KJV)

We can never fully understand God’s mind or his thoughts.  However we can understand through Christ and the Holy Spirit what God has revealed about himself through his Word.  And we are not responsible for what God has not revealed but only what he has shown us in his Word.

Christ called on us as flawed human beings to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) as I pointed out to you earlier. God calls on us to submit to flawed human beings in government (I Peter 2:13-14). And God even calls on women to submit to flawed husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1-6).

The men who gave us God’s word were flawed as well as the men who preached it after them. The difference was that Paul and the other Apostles and Prophets who gave us the Scriptures while being flawed sinners received perfect revelation from God.  He was one of the few men in the history of the world that God chose for this great privilege.   This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)

But  God actually has given the gifts and offices of Pastor and Teacher to help people interpret the Word of God:

“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”- Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)

What we see here is God talking about gifts he has given for the edifying of the body of Christ. God has personally given me the gift of being a teacher and I have tried in my own imperfect way as he has given me grace to exercise that gift over the years. Whether it was when I taught Sunday school classes or other groups I was exercising my spiritual gift “for the edifying of the body of Christ”.

In fact Paul warns the young Pastor Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift:

“14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” – 1 Timothy 4:14 (KJV)

God does not want me to stop preaching his Word or teaching the interpretation of the Scriptures.  He placed this gift in me for the edification of the body of Christ as he has done with many imperfect and sinful men for thousands of years.  Do I claim that all my interpretations and applications of the Scriptures are infallible? Of course not.  Only Christ and his Prophets and Apostles were infallible as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

But God wants me in my own imperfect way to exercise the gift he has given me and other men with similar gifts to do the same until we all reach heaven where we will be perfectly unified in our understanding as we are in the presence of God himself.

Does Anyone Have the Right to Correct or Rebuke Other’s Bible Interpretations?

Mike’s Statement:

“When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.”

Did Paul say this to a young Pastor named Timothy – “Timothy you are a flawed and sinful man and unlike me you have not received the authority and inspiration from God to write his Scriptures. Therefore, you cannot preach any interpretation of the Bible or correct or rebuke anyone else’s interpretations of the Bible.  Let everyone decide for themselves what God’s Word teaches.”

The answer is NO.  The Apostle Paul told this young Pastor just the opposite!

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)

Does “Faith Alone” Mean We Must Only Preach the Gospel and Nothing Else?

Mike’s Statement:

“My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter.”

It is absolutely true that faith alone saves as the Scriptures state:

“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

But as Martin Luther famously said “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”  The Scriptures tell us this regarding the life changing power of true faith:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

So as we can see Martin Luther’s statement that the faith that saves is never alone perfectly aligns with the Scriptural view of salvation.

But what you are contending when you said “Faith alone” is that the only doctrine we should teach is that of the Gospel.  This is false.  Let me take you back to the great commission Christ gave and this time I will add his follow up statement:

“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

Christ told us to preach the Gospel as well as well as  teach people everything he commanded.

And what was one of his commands?

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

Every word of the Bible sir comes from the mouth of God. We are to live by every word – not just those words concerning the Gospel and God gives us preachers and teachers of the Word to help us to understand all of God’s Word, not just the Gospel.

If God Canceled Some of His Laws Does That Mean He Canceled All of Them?

Mike’s Statement:
“Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you?

This is a classic argument that liberal Christians and even non-Christians make to write off parts of or even the entire Bible.  Sadly I have even seen some Christians who claim to believe in Biblical inerrancy write off the entire Old Testament based on this false argument.

No I don’t follow the food instructions that God gave to Israel as a theocracy.  Here are the reasons why:

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” – Acts 10:9-15 (KJV)

“1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary… 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” – Hebrews 9:1 & 10 (KJV)

The Old Testament contains three types of laws – Moral, Ceremonial and Civil.  The Ceremonial laws were for Israel as theocracy to worship God and make sacrifices – it also included dietary  and other cleanliness laws.  The Civil laws dealt with the punishment or restitution that was to be made for breaking God’s moral law under the theocracy of Israel.

When Christ ushered in the New Covenant with his death, burial and resurrection he did away with the first covenant including the ceremonial and civil laws of Israel. Now only the moral law of the Old Testament and all of the laws in the New Testament are binding on us as Christians.  Therefore as a Christian living under the New Covenant, I do not have to follow the dietary laws anymore.

But Biblical gender roles WERE part of the moral law of God in the Old Testament and they were even strengthen and further explained in the New Testament as I will show in the final section of this article.  So yes it is completely consistent for me to preach and teach that Christians must follow God’s gender rules and design for man and woman yet we no longer have to follow the dietary rules or other ceremonial rules and we are no longer under the civil penalties and restitutions mandated in the Old Testament.

Are Biblical Gender Roles an Unimportant Distraction From Gospel?

Mike’s Statement:
“Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith.”

Contrary to your assertion the teaching of Biblical gender roles is even MORE important when men and women are not treating each other as God has commanded them treat one another.  The Biblical doctrines of gender roles are critical to us living the lives God has called us to live.

Christ did not just die to save us from hell but rather he died so that we would live for him:

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV)

While we are not saved by works, Christ calls us to live for him.  How can we say we are trying to live for him when refuse to follow the purpose for which he designed each gender?

God says he made man to image him and doing so bring him glory and he made woman for man to help him in his duty to image God:

“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)

God says that he made marriage to be a model of the relationship between God and his people:

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)


To Mike and all those Christian teachers and preachers that refuse to teach the doctrines of Biblical gender roles to your people – you are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. You are not preaching the whole counsel of God when you preach only the Gospel.

I have never said here or elsewhere that if people reject the doctrines of Biblical gender roles that they are unsaved or not going to heaven.  We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone apart from works and not by following Biblical gender roles. But Christ did not save us so we could just live for ourselves anyway we want – he saved us so we could live for him in this life.

While we will not lose our salvation for refusing to follow the doctrines of Biblical gender roles and other doctrines concerning holy living we will in fact lose our reward for doing so.  If we do not run the race of this Christian life lawfully we will lose our reward in heaven as the Scriptures tell us:

“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” – 2 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)

“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (KJV)

“11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (KJV)

Finally, even besides the consequences in the next life(loss of rewards) we will and are seeing the consequences of not following Biblical gender roles both as individuals and as a society in general in this life.  Since Second Wave Feminism arose in the 1960’s divorce rates have skyrocketed in our country.  While they leveled off at around 50% which is still a horrible number, the only reason they did so was because more couples just decided to live together outside a covenant of marriage.

The point is the idea of a man and woman living together for life in the covenant of marriage is becoming less and less common in our society since we as a culture left the practice of Biblical gender roles.   Marriages today are now “feelings centered” and specifically “woman centered”.  “Happy Wife Happy Life” is just another way of saying “Your wife is the boss just do whatever she says”.  And what has been the result of men allowing their wives to take over for decades – the destruction of the family unit.

Do Christian Values Cause Sexual Harassment?

With the revelations of famous men acting badly toward women and the rise of the MeToo# movement we are having a national conversation about the causes of sexual harassment.  Some have made a startling accusation that it is the “toxic” system of Christian values which is at the root of this evil behavior. The sad part is many Christians in America have been so indoctrinated by feminism that they would not even recognize that Christian values are being attacked.

In an article he wrote for Inc.com entitled Yes, We Can Defeat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Here Are 6 Powerful Ways to Do It Marcel Schwantes says the fight against sexual harassment is “about deconstructing false values embedded in toxic systemic thinking”:

“Both men and women of good conscience are fearlessly acknowledging the elephant in the room — the disturbing, age-old trend of men in power taking advantage of their status to prey on women (and other men) working below them.

Therefore, the fight is just as much about deconstructing false values embedded in toxic systemic thinking, and the thinking of sick minds. In the BBC article, Eden King exposes a root cause of sexual harassment: “A belief that women are inferior to men, the belief that men should have power over women,” and, she adds, a belief that “men should be aggressors and women should be gatekeepers.” The process of shifting mindsets doesn’t start in training rooms. King says it should begin in the earliest days of childhood education and development.”

Do Christians believe in “toxic” and “false” values that lead to sexual harassment?

Eden King lists these 4 values that she believes are false and Marcel Schwantes calls “toxic” ways of thinking that actually lead to the sexual harassment of women:

  1. “A belief that women are inferior to men”
  2. “the belief that men should have power over women”
  3. “men should be aggressors”
  4. “women should be gatekeepers”

So let’s now examine each of these beliefs as to their whether they are true or false and whether they lead to sexual harassment or actually would help to prevent it.

“A belief that women are inferior to men”

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

Women are equal to men in their humanity as we all have the blood of Adam (both men and women).  But women are not equal to men in strength and many other attributes. Women were designed to be weaker than men so that they would need men as mankind needs God.  Believing women are inferior to men does not mean we do not honor women.  But as the Scriptures tell us we give honor to women as the weaker vessels God designed them to be.

So, this first supposed “false value” is not false based on the Word of God.  This means this value that has been held by civilizations even without the Bible for thousands of years is actually a TRUE value and a righteous value. Accepting this truth has not lead most men to prey on women, but rather it leads men to protect women.

“the belief that men should have power over women”

“3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God…

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

I Corinthians 11:3 & 10 (KJV)

The Bible tells that God’s order in this world is God the father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman and that woman should have a sign of authority or a sign that there is a power over her head which is man.

Again, this second supposed “false value” is not false based on the Word of God.  This means this value that has been held by civilizations even without the Bible for thousands of years is actually a TRUE value and a righteous value. Accepting this truth has not lead most men to prey on women, but rather it leads men to desire to lead women.

“men should be aggressors”

“Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight”

Psalm 144:1 (KJV)

“10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.”

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

This third supposed “false value” is not false based on the Word of God.  The Bible tells us that God has made men aggressive by nature.  Man’s aggressive nature when it is used for sinful purposes can cause great destruction and evil.  But when man channels his aggressive nature toward godly purposes this helps him to accomplish great things – including taking a wife.

Accepting this truth that men are aggressors or initiators in life is not something that should cause men to harass women or otherwise act badly toward them.  Instead this truth that men are aggressors should lead men to channel their aggression into their work so they can be successful in their business endeavors to be able to provide a home for a future wife. It should also cause them to aggressively seek out a godly woman who wants to fulfill her God given purpose as a wife and mother.

“women should be gatekeepers”

“20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 22:20-22 (KJV)

Finally, this fourth supposed “false value” is not false based on the Word of God.  The Bible tells us that God has in fact assigned the role of gatekeeper to women regarding their sexual purity. In the Scriptures if a woman lost her virginity before marriage it could relegate her to a life of celibacy and if she hid the loss of her virginity it could cost her life.

While we are no longer under the civil penalties of the Old Testament law – the moral law remains.  God has given women a serious and lifelong task to protect their bodies and keep them only for their future or current husbands.  Her husband is the only one that she may and in fact must allow through the gate to access the pleasures of her body.

Accepting this truth that women are tasked by God to be gatekeepers of their sexual purity does not excuse men from acting badly toward woman. But this is why God created woman’s sexual nature to be so different than man’s. Men are designed by God to be primarily physically driven toward sex and only secondarily relationally driven.  Because of this a man can very easily have sex with a woman regardless of their relational status.  But God in his perfect design of woman for man created her with a relational    sexual nature that causes her to only desire to give herself to one man and one man only – her husband.  She is literally built with a self-protection mechanism that protects her for her man.


I could not agree more with Marcel Schwantes that returning to values would help to greatly reduce sexual harassment in the workplace.  However, I completely disagree with him as to what values we need to return to.  The values he and Eden King calls “false” and places as the root of the evils of sexual harassment are in fact the values that could greatly reduce the sexual harassment of women if we as a society returned them.

The “values” Schwantes and King believe we should return to do not find their basis in the Word of God, but rather in Second Wave Feminism and the Sexual Revolution which brought us these destructive changes to society:

  1. Women leaving their gatekeeper role and engaging in extramarital sex
  2. Women seeking higher education while delaying marriage
  3. Women putting off having children even after marriage
  4. Women having financial independence from men
  5. Women rebelling against their subordinate role in marriage and society

The truth is, it is not Biblical values that have lead us to the sexual harassment crisis our culture finds itself in today, but rather it is the values of Second Wave Feminism and the Sexual Revolution which are the true root of the problem.

Is it wrong to judge a Pedophile?

Does the Bible forbid us as Christians from feeling “a burst of rage” when we hear about cases of pedophiles molesting, raping or killing children? Are we putting ourselves in the “Judge’s seat” when we feel such special anger and rage toward people who would do such things to children?

A Christian blogger calling herself “SeriouslyServing” answers both of these questions with a firm “YES”.  In her view Christians are forbidden from feeling a burst of rage or anger or feeling any differently toward cases of child molestation than any other sin.

In her post “Thank You, Lord, That I am Not Like This Paedophile” SeriouslyServing writes:

“Every time a news story breaks about a new case of child sexual abuse or a child porn user, a slew of people rush to the comments section to declare their thoughts about the criminal.

“Scum of the earth…”

“Bring back the death penalty…”

“Let him stay with the general population in prison, see how he likes that…”

In one sense, I can relate. Nothing sickens me more than the thought of people hurting and abusing children, especially since I’ve had kids of my own. At times, I’ve read details of these horrific cases and felt a burst of rage, and contemplated what justice might look like for that person.

So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…

“Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.”

To be clear, SeriouslyServing, is admitting she has struggled with reacting to the actions of pedophiles differently than any other sin.  The rest of the article is her telling herself and us why she thinks she was wrong for feeling that way and why we should feel wrong as well.

And just a note – the different spelling of “Paedophile” has to do with the fact that SeriouslyServing is using the British spelling of the word.  The American spelling is “pedophile” so that is what I am using.

SeriouslyServing bases her premise that we are wrong to feel a burst of rage or any differently about what pedophiles do to children on this passage from the Gospel of Luke:

“9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 (KJV)

SeriouslyServing has completely misinterpreted the meaning of Christ’s parable that we have just read.  The emphasis was not on judging sin, but on a person, being self-righteous.

Christ said this in another part of the Gospels:

“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Mark 2:17 (KJV)

Jesus was saying here that unless we see ourselves as sinners in need of the great physician which is Christ we cannot be saved.  This is the same message Christ was giving in Luke 18:9-14.  The Pharisee who thanked God “that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” was showing God he did not see himself as a sinner before God.  He thought his good outweighed any bad he did and that his works made him righteous before God.

Luke 18:9-14 is actually a beautiful picture of what it takes for us to be saved.  I have used it many times in sharing the Gospel.  We cannot look at the good we do or compare ourselves to others and think because we do more good than some others that we are saved.  We cannot think that because we don’t do certain things others do that we are saved.  Each us must do what the Publican did and pray “God be merciful to me a sinner”.  This is the only way we can be saved.

Does God view all sins of equally?

Is it wrong for us to feel a special rage toward those who harm children or should we have no burst of rage or anger toward such sins and regard them as no different than someone getting a speeding ticket?

It is absolutely true that all sin condemns us to hell.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

Romans 5:12 (KJV)

Whether we sin little, or sin much the smallest sin will condemn us to hell.  But just because all sin equally condemns us to hell – this does not make all sin equally heinous before God.  The Scriptures show that God views some sins as more heinous than others.

When the Jews said that Jesus did his miracles by the power of Satan he said:

“31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Matthew 12:31-32 (KJV)

So, as we can see ascribing the miracles of God to Satan is something especially heinous to God and is set apart from other sins.

Jesus in speaking to Pilate said:

“Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

John 19:11 (KJV)

Christ was saying if Pilate sentenced him to death that would be a sin against God in that he would be sentencing an innocent man to death.  But the “greater sin” was committed by the Jewish leaders who handed him over to Pilate for death.  They were rejecting Christ as their Messiah and calling Jesus who was the sinless son of God a sinner worthy of death.  Theirs was truly the greater sin.

Again, in the New Testament Paul has a warning for those who are teachers of God’s Word:

“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

James 3:1 (KJV)

If a person sins because they have been wrongly taught that it is ok to do something they will still be judged by God.  But God judges the teachers who taught others to do such things with a greater condemnation than those who simply followed the wrong teaching.

Here we see God specially targets sexual sin:

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

So, as we can see from the Scriptures – all sins condemn us to hell but not all sins are judged equally by God. Some sins receive a greater condemnation than others.

Is it wrong to judge?

But what about judging? Doesn’t the Bible say we should never judge others sin?

A lot of Christians and non-Christians alike misunderstand what Christ said about judging below:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

If you look at the passage in its context Christ is condemning hypocritical judging, not all judging.  If we are doing the same things or worse things than what someone else is doing we have no business passing judgement on what they have done.

Besides hypocritical judging there is one other type of judging the Bible condemns as seen in the passage below:

“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

Romans 14:1-2 (KJV)

We are not to pass judgement on our brothers regarding disputable matters.  There are some things in which we must seek the Lord’s will for personal decisions in our lives.  As Christians we may come to different conclusions on some matters and we must do what we believe is right before the Lord based on searching the Scriptures and seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

So, as we have shown from the Scriptures God condemns two types of judging – hypocritical judging and judging on disputable matters or matters of conscience.

But we are in fact commanded to judge righteously as opposed to judging hypocritically or in matters of conscience as seen in the Scriptures below:

“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Leviticus 19:15 (KJV)

“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:9 (KJV)

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 7:24 (KJV)

Too many Christians and non-Christians alike believe that no one can say anything against their sin. They say “the Bible says judge not lest ye be judged!” But they are absolutely wrong in their assertions of what the Bible says.  The Bible tells us not judge unjustly.  It tells us not to judge hypocritically.  It tells us not judge in matters of conscience.  But where God speaks clearly and we are not guilty of such things ourselves we are commanded by God to “in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor”.

This means that Christians can and must speak out against things like murder (including the murder of the unborn) rape and fornication including one of the most wicked and heinous forms of fornication which is child molestation.

Is it always wrong to get angry?

Like in the matter of judging, many Christians and non-Christians alike believe the Bible condemns all forms of anger or hatred based on passages like this one below:

“43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV)

Was Christ condemning all forms of anger or hatred? The answer is no.  We can see from Christ himself that he acted in anger:

“13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

John 2:13–17 (KJV)

Like judging, not all anger is according to the Scriptures.   The New Testament tells there is a righteous form of anger:

“26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 (KJV)

If we look back to the Old Testament we can understand what kind of anger is actually righteous in God’s sight:

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 97:10 (KJV)

“21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”

Psalm 139:21-22 (KJV)


Many good men who had righteous anger toward wicked things that happen in our world have allowed their righteous anger to be turned into sinful bitterness and this is something we should always guard against in our lives as Christians.

However, there is a zeal, an anger or hatred for evil that is in fact righteous before God.  Christ demonstrated such righteous anger when he put a whip together and drove the money changers out of the temple.

So, if Christ was not condemning all forms of hatred in Matthew 5:43-45 what was he condemning? To find the answer to this question we must look to another of Christ’s statements later in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

Matthew 24:9 (KJV)

Christ was saying that if we are hated for being Christians we would should use that as a way to minister toward our spiritual enemies. We should love those who hate us for being Christians and show them the love of Christ.  But this was not a condemnation of us being angry at evil or hating evil acts against innocents.

Christ had a special hatred for those who would harm children

In the same way that Christ had a zeal for those would abuse his father’s house he also had a righteous hatred toward those who would harm children:

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-6 (KJV)

Several times in the Gospels Christ told his disciples that in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven they needed to become as little children.  He was using children as a symbol of innocence.  Children are trusting.  Child place their dependence on others for their provision and protection.  Only if we humble ourselves as a child seeing ourselves in need of God’s forgiveness and grace can we be saved.

Christ then gives a stern warning against those who would offend (or harm or lead astray) one of these “little ones”.  He says it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and be cast into the see than to commit wickedness against one of these “little ones”.

This warning has multiple applications of course.  In its most literal sense as Christ holds a child in his arms he is talking about those who would commit wickedness against the innocence of a child. But he is also using this in the spiritual sense of those false teachers who would come along and lead believers astray with false doctrines.


We have demonstrated from the Scriptures some very important principles.

Luke 18:9-14 rather than being a condemnation of us being angered by the wickedness that others do is a condemnation of having a self-righteous attitude toward God in the matter of salvation.  We can only be saved when we see ourselves as wicked sinners and we must not think because we don’t do certain things or do certain things that this provides the justification for our salvation.

While Romans 5:12 shows us that all men have sinned and all sin equally condemns men to hell, other passages like John 19:11 and James 3:1 show us that there are in fact greater and lesser sins in God’s eyes.

On the subject of judging in the Scriptures we read that we are actually commanded to judge righteously (Leviticus 19:15 & John 7:24) while at the same time we are forbidden from judging from a place of hypocrisy (Matthew 7:1-5) or from judging other Christians in matters of conscious (Romans 14:1-2).

The Bible actually commands us to be angry at sin and hate evil acts (Ephesians 4:26-27, Psalm 97:10, Psalm 139:21-22).  Jesus Christ acted in zealous and righteous anger in whipping the money changers and driving them from the temple (John 2:13–17).  The Bible warns us against allowing our righteous anger to turn into bitterness.  Christ commands us to show love toward those who hate us for his name’s sake.

Finally, we showed that Christ did single out those who would commit wicked acts against the innocence of children.

So, we can rightly say using the principles that Christ laid out that it would be better for a man to have a large stone hung around his neck than for him to commit wicked acts against the innocence of a child.

It is absolutely true that God offers forgiveness, mercy and grace towards sinners including murders, rapists and yes even pedophiles. But God also commands us to judge from a righteous position these heinous acts.  Just because God offers forgiveness and grace does not mean he is not filled with anger and hatred toward such acts and he commands us to be “Be ye angry, and sin not”.

There is a reason that social workers, police officers and soldiers feel “a burst of rage” and a different kind of hatred when they find children having been abused, molested, raped or murdered. There is a reason that even the hardest of criminals feel this way toward pedophiles.  It is because children are one of God’s greatest symbols of innocence and when their innocence is violated in these heinous ways it should evoke a righteous anger and hatred in all of us, if it doesn’t that is the problem.