Saddleback Church Backpeddles on Domestic Violence Divorce Quotes

In an article in which he interviews Saddleback teaching pastor Tom Holladay, Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press reveals that Saddleback has removed the audio clips which raised so much stink earlier this year. Holladay insists that the audio clips are taken out of context and do not reflect what the church teaches or believes, leaving the mistaken impression that the church will not support divorce for abuse under any circumstances. The original clips have been transcribed and can be read here:

Transcript of Saddleback Abuse Audio Clip
Transcript of Saddleback Church Teaching on Divorce
Transcript of Saddleback Church Teaching on Miserable Marriage

In the audio clips, Holladay stated (among other things), “I wish there were a third [reason for divorce] in Scripture, having been involved as a pastor with situations of abuse… There is something in me that wishes there were a Bible verse that says, ‘If they abuse you in this-and-such kind of way, then you have a right to leave them.'”

It is difficult for me to understand how Holladay’s comments could be misinterpreted, but to give him his due, he states for the record in this article that Saddleback does not teach or support the idea that someone must linger in an unrepentant abusive marriage. The linked article says, “What the clip didn’t make clear, Holladay said recently, is the question he was answering had to do with abusive language and not physical abuse. The way it was edited, Holladay said, gave the impression that a chronically violent and abusive situation is the only just cause for separation.”

This is something that touches right on a sensitive spot because then we have to address the question of what qualifies as “abusive language,” and more importantly, what happens when you have a non-physically violent, unrepentantly verbally abusive spouse. Words can literally kill and are just as deadly as physical violence. Not only does the Word clearly state this, but scientific research has affirmed it as well. The Word says that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart and words are the first expression of a heart of abuse. There should be no need to wait for fists. The mouth is fruit of the heart’s reality and can give us all we need to know and act — and prevent physical violence, or physical death and disease by the tongue.

At any rate, I’m reporting this development on this issue in the interests of being even-handed. I do not know what was originally meant since what was published were the audio clips – which seem very clear – so I cannot make a judgment about that. All I know otherwise is what I have heard in talking with some individuals who experienced Saddleback’s counseling. The church does seem to have a much more supportive attitude than most churches, but I also have heard of some very serious failures and profoundly bad, even dangerous, counsel as well. So, I can’t make a concrete statement one way or the other about the original intention of the clips.

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Another Domestic Abuse Survivor Tells of Pastoral Abuse

Yet again, a woman is telling how her pastor has sided with her abuser. She shares e-mails from her pastor with his exact words and has photos of her wounds – so there’s no denying this unless you just want to bury your head in denial. I wish this pastor’s attitude were unique or rare, but it is unfortunately common.

Hear, See, and Analyze Real Domestic Abuse on Video

[Update note from Hannah: I would mention a bit of a disclaimer. Some of the videos can be very triggering to some parties.]

Hannah, at Emotional Abuse and Your Faith has assembled a series of posts enabling viewers to see and hear domestic abuse in action and learn to evaluate what is really happening. Since the abuser involved is not a batterer (well, his battery is generally considered to be within socially acceptable boundaries), this is particularly powerful.

This situation is the type of abuse many thousands of families in the church tolerate every day, with no understanding of how destructive it is. The family featured makes no claim to being Christian, as far as I know, but their family life is not substantively different from Christians.

Breaking the Silence & Offering Hope for Christian Domestic Violence

This weekend I read the book Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence by Jocelyn Andersen. This book is featured in my left side bar.

I have to say, the book is EXCELLENT. The author did an absolutely fantastic job of communicating much needed and powerful truth in a readable style. I read it in a couple hours straight through (but I’m also a crazy reader!) and I like the fact that it is not so weighty that a person in abuse would be overwhelmed by it.

This book clearly and simply — and compassionately — reveals the seriousness of domestic abuse in the Christian church and shares God’s answers for those walking in it.

And the Scripture throughout was what I needed personally right now, so that was an extra bonus.

This book is an important element in bringing hope, help and healing to women who’ve been given a death sentence by the church. I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone who knows someone experiencing abuse, to church leaders and counselors everywhere, and to those who are walking through abuse in their own life.

Pastor William Crews Arrested On Criminal Domestic Violence Charges

Pastor William Crews was arrested on July 29 on criminal domestic violence charges after police were called to an altercation between the pastor and his wife, Freda. The pastor admitted to Spartanburg County, NC officers that he had been drinking.