Rick Warren and Saddleback Church on Domestic Violence

[Update and correction 1/9/2009 — It has been brought to my attention, that the audio clip referenced in this post was by Saddleback’s Teaching Pastor Tom Holladay. In light of that reality, I have edited my original post accordingly. I apologize for my original error in attributing the quote to Rick Warren.]

To hear for yourself the position of Rick Warren and his Saddleback church about domestic violence in Christian marriage, you need to scroll down this FAQ page on the Saddleback Church web site to find question 32. What should I do when abuse is happening in my marriage? The audio clip is far more revealing than the bit snipped out below. (I have also transcribed the clip in its entirety.)

In this clip the speaker, a Saddleback teaching pastor, makes crystal clear his belief about marital abuse and the question of divorce. He clearly speaks for the entire church and pastoral staff using the collective “we” when he says, “I’ll tell you the advisement we give in our counseling ministry…”

Furthermore, as senior pastor of the church, Rick Warren gives his tacit consent and agreement to these statements since this audio clip was chosen to be featured on the website and he would definitely be a part of the collective “we” mentioned above.

Holladay states Saddleback recommends separation but not divorce under any circumstances. His commentary about the issue of abuse also expresses a distinct lack of understanding about the nature, heart and spiritual roots of abuse. I think he believes he is doing right and doesn’t realize his ignorance or how much he is hurting people, so this is offered without personal judgment. But I also believe catagorically that it is dangerous.

He also states that divorce is a sin. I find that interesting, since God divorced Israel. How did God manage to commit a sin???

I’d always rather choose a short-term pain and find God’s solution for long-term gain than try and find a short-term solution that’s going to involve long-term pain. … [In scripture] adultery is one [reason for divorce] and abandonment is a second. I wish there were a third in scripture. Having been involved as a pastor in situations of abuse there’s something in me that wishes there was a Bible verse that says if they abuse you in this and such kind of way then you have a right to leave them. … If you’re in this kind of situation I strongly recommend that you take advantage of our lay counseling ministers.

[Thanks to slog.thestranger.com for the original clipped quote above. It showed up on my research ramblings.]

Pastor James Howard Bell Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

Pastor James Howard Bell, of Shelbyville, KY, was arrested and charged with charged with sodomy, sexual abuse and wanton endangerment earlier this week. Bell apparently turned himself in to the police when he thought someone else was going to alert the police to his actions. He is being held on a $50,000 full cash bond.

More information can be found in this news story, including the allegation that Bell is HIV-positive and did not use protection during his encounters with his victim.