Shane Clifton
St Mark’s Review, 243 (2018):72-86.
Publication year: 2018

In their 2017 expose, “’Submit to your husbands’: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God,” Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson provide evidence that shows that “the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.”[1] It is noteworthy that the very first case cited by Baird and Gleeson is of Pentecostal woman, Sally, who “found little comfort in her Pentecostal church, which she had turned to repeatedly. Counsellors there simply advised her to forgive him. She also told her pastor her story, but no one followed it up.” There is no suggestion that Pentecostalism is any worse (or better) than any other Christian movement, and the point being made is that domestic violence is a challenge confronting the whole church. But there is value in responding to the reporting from a pentecostal/charismatic perspective, because Spirit oriented movements may be uniquely positioned to take the lead in modelling theological cultures and institutional structures that empower resistance to all forms of domestic abuse. But for that to occur, it is first necessary to hear the testimony of women who say that this has not been their experience.

Leave a Reply