There was no attempt by these leaders to look further into biblical meaning and context of these verses. Why would they? If women were allowed to have an equal status in the church and in their marriages, male power would be threatened. Church leaders claimed the right to treat women in just about any way they chose. Following the example of church leaders, husbands were also given free rein to “lord it over” their wives.
It seems clear to me that disallowing “divorce” from spiritually abusive churches, and actual divorce from physically and emotionally abusive marriages, kept the patriarchal church functioning. Once women would be free, as equal human beings to leave the abuse, the traditional church would come tumbling down. Traditional marriages would change, too. We see that dynamic happening today.
The question, now, is what can we learn from the Jesus' teachings to form spiritually healthy churches and marriages. Stay tuned.
I advocate for healing of divorced people within the church by gathering stories of Christians who chose divorce because of abuse, and the response of their churches to that decision. (I'm interested in both helpful and hurtful experiences.) I also include those who have divorced because of their spouse's infidelity but have nevertheless been blamed by their church for the divorce.
If you’re interested in having your voice heard by contributing your divorce story in relationship to the church, please email me at LindaMKurthBlog@gmail.com for guidelines. I’ll be happy to help you share your story.
Know that I encourage respectful comments, keeping the blog a safe place to dialog about this subject.
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issues. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.