They tell me that I scold men too much.
They tell me that they feel sorry for my congregation because I lead them astray by teaching women that they are image-bearers of God with dignity and honor.
They tell me that I rob men of their masculinity by teaching them that imitating Christ means to take the lowest place and become the servant of all, including their wives. Christ did, however, give himself for his bride, the church.
They tell me that I cause divorces and wreck marriages by teaching men how to love their wives instead how to rule over them.
They tell me that I am unbalanced, and am soft on the sin of women because I teach that lust comes from the heart of man, not from the outfit of the woman.
They tell me that I am a feminist because I believe that the Bible teaches that every believing woman is also a prophet, priest and king along with every believing man.
They spit the word “egalitarian” at me like a curse because I believe women have a voice, should be treated as co-heirs of eternal life, and have a right to make decisions and use their gifts for the glory of God, just like every believing man.
And they tell me to stop. They command me to be silent. I make people uncomfortable.
And I worry sometimes.
And then I hear of judges who tell rape victims not to report their rape because they will ruin a good man’s life.
And then I hear of husbands punching their wives in the same room that they lead “family worship”.
And then I hear of pastors beating and molesting the children under their care. And I hear of other pastors who knew about it and gave them “a good talking to” but didn’t want to ruin their ministries.
And then I hear of youth pastors raping the children under their care, and calling it “an inappropriate relationship”.
And then I hear of women crying out to their church leaders that their husbands watch porn every night and are asked if they are satisfying them in bed.
And then I hear again of women who are beaten over and over again year after year and when they finally divorce they are excommunicated for being bitter.
And then I hear of wives who cover the altar of the Lord with tears and are told to “submit more”, “suffer a little while like Jesus suffered,” “God hates divorce”.
And then these same wives are shot by the husbands they tried to get protection from.
And then I hear of husbands threatening the wives with weapons, fists, words of hatred, vile contempt and the wives are blamed for not submitting enough, making them mad, provoking them, wanting it…
And then I hear that these are not rare occurrences. These are not unusual. These are the hidden corners, the long dark corridors, the valley of the shadow of death that are walked through by so, so many men, women and children.
I know that salvation is not the same as activism. I am not an abuse advocate. I am a minister of the word, a pastor, a preacher of good tidings of great joy. I will not get sucked into the abyss of darkness and pain nor is it my desire to draw you into it.
But as a minister, I do need to shine a light, expose evil, untwist the scripture that is continually twisted to keep the weak in bondage to the strong.
When the church of Jesus Christ becomes an institution of worldly power and money, the powerful always oppress the weak, crushing them underfoot, and they will use whatever means they can to do it.
And I love the church of Jesus Christ far, far too much to keep silent. For this reason, I will not keep silent about the horrors that so many of our brothers and sisters suffer. Nor will I allow the light of Jesus Christ to grow dim or fade, but will continue to lift the banner, proclaim liberty to the captives, and bind the wounds of the broken-hearted as much as I can.
Even though I know it will infuriate a lot of people who like being in power.
There can only, ever be one head of the church, and he will never give that honor to another.
The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord, to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish,
is with her to the end;
tho’ there be those that hate her
and false sons in her pale,
against the foe or traitor
she ever shall prevail. (Samuel John Stone)