As an abuse survivor myself and as a woman who has suffered spiritual and emotional abuse within the same circles in which ABWE operates, I can see a clear path to stopping this culture of abuse. It's really not all that hard, either. This blog post will serve as a skeleton of the bigger picture of what needs to be done. I have no doubt that, if a plan such as this were implemented, this culture of abuse would die. I also have no doubt that ideas such as I'm about to present will be fought, dismissed and not even taken into consideration. Still, I think these ideas need to be introduced.
I have already shared these thoughts with my husband and a pastor on the BBC (Baptist Bible College) Facebook boards. I've had a number of requests from others to share my thoughts. Please keep in mind, these points are at their skeleton stage and each one needs to be elaborated on and more thoroughly supported by Scripture. I simply haven't had time to do that much yet. Also, I'm typing with a fractured thumb, but I felt time was of the essence to get this out there. Some good may come from introducing these ideas.
1. Patriarchy has to die. The vast majority of modern day cults and terrorist groups start by subduing the women. I have always wondered why modern evangelicalism does the same. Ketcham's abuse was allowed to continue unhindered for so long partially because all the women serving with the mission were subdued and quieted into submission. That created a culture that screamed silence for those women and girls. No one dared push back against the culture because patriarchy was/is fully incorporated. While patriarchy was the default system of the Old Testament, that does not mean it had God's approval. Slavery and polygamy were also common; that did not make them right. The New Testament blows patriarchy out of the water.
2. Put women on the boards of all mission agencies and other organizations. When women are put on these boards, they have to be treated as equals. We cannot treat women as though they are "being allowed" because men are giving in to their demands. The Great Commission is talking to women, too. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples......." He did not say, "Cook dinner for those who will go." He was talking to women as much as men. Women are not involved in missions or any other work of God because men have allowed us to be. We are involved because we are called by Christ.
3. Do not minimize women's input. This is common. Even women who have been on the field are minimized and not taken seriously. I see this all the time. I also see women quietly doing the work of their calling without men's approval. I see women on foreign fields standing up in front a group of people, men and women, teaching. Margaret Laird and Elizabeth Elliot were not as much the exception as some would have you believe. Still, women fight minimization. They didn't with Jesus.
4. Women and men on these boards should not be husband/wife teams. The husband/wife relationship brings a spirit of submission which, in the present culture, is unbalanced. The board members need to be individuals who are not related to or married to each other.
5. Leave your fear at the door. Philippians 2:2 calls for us to be like minded, yet I know many men who are afraid of women. I don't understand this fear because if we're all called to the same purpose, what is there to be afraid of? A pastor once, in an attempt to subdue me, said to me in front of his deacons, "You're a steam roller!" I hope my answer surprised him, because instead of cowering down with an apology, I said, "Then you'd best stay out of my way." That pastor spoke out of fear. I see no room for fear in the work of God. Perfect love casts out fear.
6. Treat women as equals on the boards and on the field. This means, when it's time for learning from Scripture, women need to lead this as much as the men. It means when it's time for prayer, women lead in prayer. Full equals means the women don't take a back seat to leadership.
7. Leave your ego at the door. There is no room for ego because people are dying and going to Hell and we have to tell them the Good News that Jesus has died for their sins. It has nothing to do with you, or with me. It has everything to do with them. It has everything to do with Jesus. Donn Ketcham was allowed to abuse for so many years partly due to ego.....his ego and the egos of those who are guilty of the cover-up. Arrogance is the first sign of an abuser. These same arrogant men subdued and downplayed women's input, allowing the abuse to not only happen, but thrive.
8. Revisit submission. I believe it's being taught all wrong and this needs to change.
9. Women need to stop allowing their input to be minimized. We are Daughters of Abraham, there is no reason to remain in the background. If we women have something to offer, we need to step up and offer it without apology and without hesitation. We can push our voices without allowing men to subdue us.
10. ABWE needs to step back and re-examine their by-laws to insure they were not created with a prejudice against women and favoritism toward men.
11. Local churches need to take back more power. The path of least resistance, which some pastors take, is not an honorable way to do missions. Mission boards have become too powerful and this has minimized local church involvement.
There are 11 very skeletal staring points. I have more but they are not organized enough to put down.
Yes, you are not mistaken, a theme has come out of this.
We can stop abuse.
We can end the culture of abuse.
Who is courageous enough?
I welcome civilized dialog on this.