Statement on Abuse
From the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
When we founded CBMW in 1987, part of our rationale in the Danvers Statement indicated our deep concern about “the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family.” For the health of the family, we now offer this expanded statement on abuse.The BackgroundWhen CBMW was founded in 1987, its leaders wrote in the Danvers Statement that “We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern.” Among the items listed was “the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family.” (Rationale #6) At that time, CBMW leaders also committed themselves to work as a council:
- to bring healing to persons and relationships injured by an inadequate grasp of God’s will concerning manhood and womanhood,
- to help both men and women realize their full ministry potential through a true understanding and practice of their God-given roles,
- and to promote the spread of the gospel among all peoples by fostering a Biblical wholeness in relationships that will attract a fractured world. (Purpose #5)
In addition, the Danvers Statement affirmed that
- In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives. (Affirmation #6)
CBMW continues to grieve over the alarming rise in abuse in its many forms, and recognizes a need for a fuller, stronger declaration of our conviction that the Bible speaks clearly and forthrightly against abuse and that it speaks with equal clarity on the differing responsibilities of men and women in marriage.
Therefore, the Council has issued an expanded statement on abuse as part of a continuing effort to demonstrate that the biblical teachings on male headship in marriage do not authorize a man’s domination or abuse of his wife.
We hope this statement will encourage Christians to oppose abuse wherever it appears.
Adopted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at its meeting in Lisle, Illinois in November, 1994.
Statement on Abuse
- We understand abuse to mean the cruel use of power or authority to harm another person emotionally, physically, or sexually.
- We are against all forms of physical, sexual and /or verbal abuse.
- We believe that the biblical teaching on relationships between men and women does not support, but condemns abuse (Prov. 12:18; Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7-8; 1 Pet. 3:7; 5:3).
- We believe that abuse is sin. It is destructive and evil. Abuse is the hallmark of the devil and is in direct opposition to the purpose of God. Abuse ought not to be tolerated in the Christian community.
- We believe that the Christian community is responsible for the well-being of its members. It has a responsibility to lovingly confront abusers and to protect the abused.
- We believe that both abusers and the abused are in need of emotional and spiritual healing.
- We believe that God extends healing to those who earnestly seek him.
- We are confident of the power of God’s healing love to restore relationships fractured by abuse, but we realize that repentance, forgiveness, wholeness, and reconciliation is a process. Both abusers and abused are in need of on-going counseling, support and accountability.
- In instances where abusers are unrepentant and/or unwilling to make significant steps toward change, we believe that the Christian community must respond with firm discipline of the abuser and advocacy, support and protection of the abused.
- We believe that by the power of God’s Spirit, the Christian community can be an instrument of God’s love and healing for those involved in abusive relationships and an example of wholeness in a fractured, broken world.