Saturday, June 25, 2016

Abuse, Survivor blogs and Due process

In light of this post, I would like to make some brief comments on the really tricky issue of those who have been harmed by the practice of a twisted form of complementarianism, and the complaint of not being heard from Aimee Byrd, which I am sure is shared by quite a number of others especially some women.

That abuse goes on by ungodly men using or misusing complementarian teaching, either the correct or wrong version, is an altogether sad reality. The biggest and most recent episodes are those linked to C.J. Mahaney, of which I will not presume to say who is correct or who is wrong there. But I will suppose that there are actual cases of abuse, not only by generic men on women, but also husbands on wives. I will even grant that the men and husbands are promoters of complementarian teachings of some kind, so what are we to do about this?

First of all, that abusers might espouse complementarian teachings has nothing to do with the legitimacy of said teachings, unless one can prove said teaching actually teaches abuse. We don't throw out the truth that 1+1 = 2 just because Hitler believed in it. Neither do we reject biological sciences just because of Richard Dawkins! The actions of some do not necessarily show us what they teach are right, or wrong.

Secondly, it is illegitimate to blame complementarians and CBMW (Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) for any and every abuse committed by anyone who claims to be a complementarian. It may be that the abuser distorts the actual teaching of those complementarians and especially those associated with CBMW. And CBMW does not have to apologize for every single instance of abuse, as if they are somehow responsible for those abuses even though they don't know the abusers. How would any woman feel if we were to blame her for every wrong that Hilary Clinton said and did, because Hilary is a woman, and she is a woman? Is that fair? Does every woman have to apologize for every wrong Hilary Clinton did because they are also women?

Thirdly, while I do sympathize with those who have been abused, the last thing abused people need is to go to "survivor blogs" and reinforce their anger and have their anger and sorrow be twisted into hatred and bitterness. "Survivor blogs" are one of the worst places to be for anyone. Yes, I do not deny the hurt and anger, and clearly they have legitimate grievances. But is the right thing to do - to nurture one's grievances into bitterness and a desire for revenge? What does Scripture teach on the topic? Abused people need healing, not revenge. The LORD Himself says that He is the one who will avenge, NOT you (Rom. 12:19). Ephesians 4:31 states, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." You presumably are a Christian, so shouldn't you obey God's commands? And even Christians sin, what more possibly unbelievers present in the church?

Abused people need healing, and they should get this from their local church and from the means of grace therein. They will not get this healing online, and in fact they become thorns hurting everyone they interact with. They become twisted, seeing anyone who does not take their position on any issue as being "anti-women" and "abetting the abuser," all baseless and false accusations but their bitterness have blinded them to their own sin, which brings us to the next point.

When making charges, there is something in civil and criminal courts called due process. Anyone charged should be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Charges have to be filed, then the process of examining the evidences will begin, and finally a verdict will be given. The adage of "innocent until proven guilty" is so as to protect the accused from false accusations and the consequences of such accusations, for how does one know before examining the evidences whether the accused is actually guilty, or innocent? If one denies due process, how would you like it if I accuse you of any crime, for example murder, and you are to be treated as guilty until you prove your innocence? Do you think that is fair? But if you don't think that is fair, then shouldn't you extend it also to those whom you think are in the wrong?

Such is the main issue with Aimee Byrd's complaint. The people she charges with error are just that, charged. There has been no examination of the evidences in any proper meaningful way, especially with over-the-top rhetoric and much misrepresentation from the "classical theist" side. That she might THINK the case has been concluded does not make it so! So if the evidences have not been all examined, shouldn't we treat the accused as "innocent until proven guilty"? Why the rush to condemn entire swaths of conservative Calvinist theologians who are supposed to be our brothers in Christ? Or do you think your judgment is superior to that of the entire church and church courts?

Aimee complained about not being heard. Excuse me! Does anyone hear me? I am a man, and am a licentiate under the OPC, so what? Why should anyone think they are entitled to not only being heard, but also for everyone to operate at their speed in terms of examining the evidence and making a judgment? I'm sorry, but Aimee's complaint is entirely inappropriate, and it has nothing to do with her being a woman.

It is my wish that those who have been abused should seek healing in the community of believers in a true church. This is what they need, not more incitement to anger and revenge. Stop looking for people and people groups to blame, and know that whatever sins they might have committed, you too are sinful and require forgiveness just as much as them.

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