Sunday, June 18, 2023

Following Bruce Ware's Primrose Path to Domestic Abuse (Part III: CBMW and Bruce Ware are no different than Shiny Happy People)

We've considered when Gender Role Evangelist Bruce Ware relied on cruelty to win ideological debates. 

All's fair in Christian love and culture war these days, right? 

Some of that I understand in light of the dominating milieu that CBMW created to help them win their war. We've also considered some possible negative progressions and consequences that stem from his definition of women as the indirect image of God. 

I'd hoped to wrap up an analysis of Ware's June 22, 2008 sermon in this single post to explicate the primary errors that I see in it. I find them so glaringly obvious that a short treatment of them seems reasonable. I would not have marked this past event if not for that graduate student who contacted me in February to wake me from slumber. I planned and blocked my calendar to write about the Ware sermon, partly to remind people of these days of darkness past, for they are many! I'm also writing for my personal growth and healing. What I didn't see coming were those Shiny Happy People and that docuseries (#SHP), and I definitely did not anticipate how triggered I would become. It changed the momentum of my new spurt of growth and healing.

With all things Quiverfull so fresh in my experience, I've changed my plans and decided today to stroll more slowly down Ware's primrose path as I "exegete" the manipulative tactics he uses and his flawed arguments. But here's the twist that emerged as I started to write a few days ago: Bill Gothard and the elements of what so many recognize in #SHP differ little, if at all, from those in Ware's sermon. Both share the central themes of submission and abuse.

How does a family of Baptists who homeschooled their children turn into such a path of pain and suffering? It's the same process by which Ware gets up to talk about Creation in the Book of Genesis and turns it into a hypothetical dilemma that forces a man to consider hitting his wife as the only viable means of escaping the sin of blaspheming and mocking God's Identity.

So I am going back to the drawing board for a deep dive. 

Mark the sad anniversary on Thursday, fifteen years after Bruce Ware turned every Christian man into Sin's Helpless Slave to violence as he declared wives to be man's True Adversary. As Solomon lamented, remember the days of darkness, for they are many.

You can read a good sermon overview here at Good Faith Media.

You can listen to it here on the Internet Archive.

Bob Allen at Good Faith Media quoted what I'd written then about the fate of the wife who does what Ware says and how her life can become so toxic and dysfunctional as she struggles to survive in such a marriage. I drew a great deal from Patrick Carnes' Betrayal Bond and the compulsive helplessness he describes when a woman resigns herself to that kind of system. I also describe the plight of the Second Generation Adult who grows up in a high-demand group.

This time though, I will focus on Ware's sinister tactics and the errors he makes to take Christians down a path to domestic violence that I think no Christian should ever follow. All of these errors appear in and parallel the religion of Bill Gothard in the lives of #ShinyHappyPeople.