Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why ABWE Needs to Shut Down

My husband and I have been silenced about abuse. When we lived in MN and my husband tried to get the state Baptist Fellowship to even be aware of Gordon Larson's inappropriate relationships with other women, he was ridiculed, silenced and shamed. No one would listen. Now, Gordon Larson, a former pastor of a GARBC church, is now serving a life sentence in the WI State Prison for sexually abusing his own daughter.

And we tried to warn them.

And they would not listen.

And many are not listening when it comes to ABWE. Many of us have tried and tried to ask some important questions of ABWE and its missionaries, to no avail. They simply won't answer us.

Two days ago, Kathryn Joyce published an article in the New Republic Magazine that blew ABWE's continued wrong attitude wide open again. Yet, I doubt anyone who works with ABWE will care. In this article, there are so many good quotes, but the one standing out in my mind is:

The group’s current president, Al Cockrell, responded to questions by issuing a statement. He suggested that PII’s report may include unspecified “misinterpretations or errors,” 

It did go on to say, 

but acknowledged that it contains “absolute facts” showing that “past ABWE leadership failed to act with integrity and accountability in our handling of abuse perpetrated by Don Ketcham,” and “utterly failed in our response to his victims.”

Let me tell you what's wrong with this statement. First of all, Al Cockrell makes sure to cast doubt on the victims by saying that the Pii Report "may include unspecified 'misinterpretations or errors,'" but he does not clarify what those "misinterpretations or errors" are or even could be. This leaves the reader to reach their own conclusion...this opens the door to doubt about the victims' accounts of what happened. To make an open-ended statement that in any way casts doubt on the victims, or even leaves room for doubt, is irresponsible "leadership." 

The article also states that Al Cockrell acknowledged that the report contains "absolute facts" but he does not specify what facts are absolute! Again, this leaves room for doubt.

How can ABWE think that someone who would be so careless be considered a viable leader of an organization supposedly representing the Living God? 

The fact that Al Cockrell said "past ABWE leadership failed to act with integrity and accountability in our handling of abuse perpetrated by Donn Ketcham" is easy to say because he's flinging blame behind himself to the past, not onto himself and what he has done/said and is doing now., which is casting doubt. What he's doing now is irresponsible, not showing accountability and not giving these victims their due respect. 

Casting doubt on them in any way, shape or form undoes what ABWE thinks they accomplished in their faux apologies and efforts to "make things right."

I am sickened by this latest display of dishonor by ABWE.

There is so much more I want to address from this article.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

God Chose Deborah on Purpose

It's an age-old argument. I mention a leading woman of the Bible, in this case Deborah, and some man - almost always a man - says, "God will use a woman when no man is available or able..."


Are you telling me that the God of all creation, the omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Creator of the universe was unable to raise up a man to do His work? The all-knowing, all-powerful God who created humanity out of dust....Who created the dust He created humanity out of....was UNABLE to raise up a man so he had to lower his standard and, my, oh, my, use a woman???

Are you kidding me?

Is that the God you serve?

Not me! My God is able to raise up anyone for anything and you'd best not stand in His way.

God called Deborah on purpose. God called Deborah intentionally. God could have used anyone He wanted and He chose Deborah. And He not only chose her to lead in battle, He also chose her to lead Israel. This means she worked outside the home with God's approval. This means she led men with God's approval. This means her work was primary to her; she did not live as an assistant to her husband (as some men think wives are). This means God will do what He pleases, despite people who falsely teach otherwise.

One time I heard a pastor say that fathers and sons have a more important relationship than fathers and daughters. Huh? Where is that in the Bible? I suggest that preacher put his opinions back in the opinion box.  I wrote notes to my sons and told them that is not right...they said, "We know, Mom." They will never believe or respect anyone who teaches such nonsense.

If God chose Deborah, He can choose you. Let no one tell you differently.

There are many more women whom God chose to use intentionally. From a prostitute (Rahab) to a synagogue leader (Anna), God chose women to do His work all throughout history.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are a daughter of Abraham. Let no one ever minimize that in your life. God might call you to serve in a very "unconventional" way that the Christian world will mock. Are you ready?


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Best Marriage Advice You'll Never Get

Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, announced this week that due to her husband's repeated unfaithfulness, substance abuse and refusal to turn from his sinful lifestyle, she's divorcing him. One blogger commented that Satan is out to destroy Christian marriages. I have news for that blogger: Satan didn't take Lysa's marriage down, this is a misconception. 

Man sins when he is lured by his own lust and enticed, according to James 1:14. Satan had nothing to do with this and has nothing to do with your marriage or anyone else's, either. It's easy to blame Satan for our own sin. Her husband's unfaithfulness and substance abuse brought her marriage down - pure and simple - not Satan. Don't be fooled by this humanistic reasoning or your marriage will be more vulnerable than you think. The only marriage advice you will ever, ever need is summed up in 2 commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." That's it. That's all. Nothing more. No "love language," no romantic getaways, no couple's retreats.....just those 2 commandments and nothing more. Think of the impact. 

My qualifications to say this: Married 38 years this August and we raised 8 kids together. We didn't go to one married couple's retreat or any other so-called marriage-enhancing endeavor. We could not afford to because it's crazy expensive to raise 8 kids. For 31 of our 38 years we were in full-time Christian ministry as he pastored three different churches and planted three others. We've seen it all. 

But, no, this was not Satan. What I say to anyone who is afraid for their marriage after reading this about Lysa is, there is no Biblical formula for a successful marriage. All the books are wrong; learn that now. Save your money. There is God. He, alone, is the only One Who offers any hope at all in today's world of sin and despair. Leave your husband alone and cling to the Savior. I repeat: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Only then will your marriage have a shot.

This sure-fire marriage advice is rarely put out there as marriage advice, but it's the best. It's absolutely all you need. It's not popular because the Book for it has already been written and no one is going to make money from this advice. 

Stop fearing for your marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop reading books on marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop being petty with your spouse and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop stressing over your marriage and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Stop taking everything your husband says personally and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If your husband is cheating on you and/or abusing you or using drugs and alcohol, love the Lord your God enough to dump the jerk and treat yourself like a true Daughter of Abraham who does not have to tolerate abuse or unfaithfulness in any way, shape or form, and keep loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Patriarchy Promotes Idol Worship

This blog's title is a bold statement. I've thought this for a very long time but didn't have the courage to write it down, let alone publish the idea in a blog post.

But, I realized I have to. I am overwhelmed by the number of marriages in trouble because of patriarchy. It simply doesn't work. It doesn't work because it is man's design, not God's. It doesn't work because it puts men before God. This is idol worship. Anything that comes between you and your Savior is an idol, even if it's your husband. If a wife stops or even pauses or slows her pursuit of Jesus because she's looking for her husband's input or waiting for his "approval" of her pursuit, she's making her husband an idol.

Patriarchy promotes idol worship by believing and teaching that a married woman must filter her Christian walk, experience and relationship with God through her husband. This is not a good practice. God is a personal Savior. He is an individual Savior. This goes contrary to the teachings of patriarchy. Who God is goes contrary to what patriarchy teaches. Here are a few specifics:

Teachings of patriarchy support a "priesthood" of fathers, putting a wife under an earthly priest. This is widely supported by many "fundamental" churches, but it is wrong because:

The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers. 1 Peter 2:5 says, "You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

This verse is not written to men only. Women are also built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. Let no one take this away from you. You are a priest who has direct access to the Most High God. Supporters of patriarchy will tell you otherwise. They will openly teach that your husband has actual responsibility for your spiritual walk. This contradicts Scripture.

The Bible teaches that we are each individually responsible for the "working out of our own salvation." Philippians 2:12 proclaims, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Again, God did not write a separate command for women; He's talking to us all, female and male, young and old, rich and poor.....everyone is to work out their own salvation. "Working out our own salvation" does not mean we work for our salvation, it means we work out what it looks like in our individual lives. Again, there is not a separate entry for women; we are all one in Christ.

The Bible teaches that there is one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. I Timothy 2:5 states, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus;"

The Bible is so clear on these points and their contexts bear it out. However, those who believe in and teach patriarchy have to compromise these verses to fit their narrative. Any time we compromise God's Word to fit our own narrative, we are rewriting God's Word to suit ourselves. If we rewrite God's Word to suit ourselves, we are creating a man-made version of the Word, and this is bad.

Know that God's Word will never contradict Itself. 

If one passage of Scripture seems to contradict another, one of them is being misinterpreted.

Finally, Galatians 3:28 sums it all up with, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  

Don't let your husband become an idol. Pursue Jesus, with or without Him. If he does not pursue Jesus as strongly as you, leave him in the dust and pursue Jesus alone. Ideally, couples will pursue Him together, but each of us still has a personal responsibility to pursue Him ourselves, waiting on no one.