Question:

Hello,

I have a problem. The church that I am attending is very disrespectful to women and people of color, calling them second class citizens and that God put them on earth to serve men and nothing more that. They say women cannot be saved unless they give birth, that Jesus died for only white men and that women should not even be able to leave the house. My wife is the main target in this because she is a women and African-American. I'm Caucasian. We were not even able to get married in that church because the pastor did not allow it.

One day I confronted him about everything, and he showed me two verses in the Bible suggesting that women are inferior to men. The first one he showed me was in Corinthians and the second was Timothy (I'm sorry I do not know the exact verses). Being that my wife and I are new Christians and trying to follow God's commands, I let it slide because the Bible clearly read that women should submit and the pastor did apologize to my wife for the disrespectful comments to her. She forgave and everything was normal for a while, but then on a Sunday morning while I was in church with my wife and daughter, I received a call, so I step out for a brief moment. While I was gone my wife was speaking with other women of the church and the pastor came up to my wife and told here that she was not allowed to speak in church. She, being respectful, stopped talking but when my daughter (she was five at the time) started to cry during service and interrupted the pastor, she took her outside and the pastor followed her. Then he went up to her and slapped her and called her the N word, saying that she shouldn't talk when a man is speaking.

Later that night while we were still in church she, completely in tears, told me about this and I went crazy. I went to the pastor and punched him. I'm not proud of what I did, and I did ask God for forgiveness. I repented of my anger and wrath. It just hurt not only because of my wife but that my daughter witnessed it.

I don't know what to do. I want to leave the church, but I can't because I recently been laid off of work and the pastor has been lending me money. I'm not even getting by on that. I'm trying to provide a roof, but I can't have my wife being abused by a man who calls himself a Christian. Frankly I don't even know if I'm right. I mean the Bible does suggest that women should submit to men but to that extent of abuse? Why is God allowing this to happen to my wife and I? Now she's depressed thinking that God doesn't want her because she is a woman. I'm trying to tell her that's not true but the thing is I don't even know what to believe that's why I'm asking anyone at this point especially God but no answer.

Please get back to me. I feel like my family is in a hole without a way to escape.


Answer:

"And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Peter 3:15-16).

I'm puzzled why you asked, "Why is God allowing this to happen to my wife and I?" when you are the one who decided to continue attending a church that is clearly teaching false doctrine and which has a leader who is violent.

Let's start with the false notion that skin color makes a difference in a person's status before God: "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:35). How many nations are left out of "every nation?" Acts 8 records the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. Last I checked, people from Ethiopia are quite dark in color. If he is an example of who can be saved, then all people can be saved, regardless of skin color.

The two passages you referred to regarding women are I Corinthians 14:34-35 and I Timothy 2:11-12. The passage in I Corinthians 14 refers to the worship service, not the building in which the service is being held. The command is that a woman is not allowed to address the congregation during that time. See Let Women Keep Silent in the Churches. Notice that this false teacher attacked your wife but there were other women talking as well. I Timothy 2 is about authority and teaching situations. The word that is translated as "silent" in the King James and New King James is not the Greek word for absolute silence, but the one for quietness. See: Silent in the Churches.

That there is an order of authority for making decisions does not mean that those in authority can act in an abusive or dictatorial fashion. In fact, such behavior is specifically forbidden by Christ. "But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45). There is a reason leaders in the church are referred to as shepherds. Sheep willingly follow their shepherd because they know he cares for them. Sheep won't follow a shepherd who tries to force their compliance.

A part of the problem is that you don't really understand what "submission" means. At its simplest definition it means a willingness to follow someone else. For a thorough discussion of the topic, see: Submission. Submission cannot be forced, it has to be given.

It is past time that you lead your family. You are in a church that teaches false doctrine and ran by a violent man. That you continue merely because he is giving you money makes your inaction all the more wrong. Since when is any of this worth any amount of money? If you need help finding a good church in your area, please let me know, but staying in this corrupt church is not a viable option.