We are complementarians, but we do not believe a wife should submit to an abusive husband

Domestic Abuse.jpeg

*This is a short excerpt from the full document attached.

For a defense of our position (below), read the paper here: Should Wives Submit to Abusive Husbands – (Joint Statement)

At the beginning of this paper, we need to make clear the context and aim of what follows. In recent days comments by Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have raised concerns over how complementarians think about a wife’s submission to her husband in the context of abuse. His comments were simply awful and we reject them outright. That’s the context in which we are writing. Second, our aim is to address a very specific question: Does Paul’s command for a wife to submit to her husband (Eph 5:25) hold in the context of abuse? For example, if a husband were to tell his wife she must submit to him, though he is an abusive and oppressive man, is the call to submit to his leadership still binding? Must she submit to an abuser?

Let us be clear: a wife should never submit to a husband who is abusing her. Never. In this short paper, we want to show that while submission to various human authorities, including that of wives to husbands, is God-honoring and biblical, there are nevertheless times—like when a woman is married to an abuser—when wives should refuse to submit.


2 thoughts on “We are complementarians, but we do not believe a wife should submit to an abusive husband

  1. Grateful for this work, Jonathan. I wonder if a paper like this might be better rounded if it incorporated and explained 1 Peter 2:18–21, which seems to work with a category for submission in the context of abuse (albeit outside the marriage).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s