Is Complementarianism Connected to Domestic Abuse?

Jeremy Bouma on March 14th, 2016. Tagged under ,,,.

Jeremy Bouma

Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) has pastored on Capitol Hill and with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan. He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at

black and white bible black and blue wifeBlack and white Bible. Black and blue wife.

These two word pictures offer an all-too-real account of what many women in the Church face: black-and-blue domestic abuse at the hand of black-and-white complementary-minded husbands.

Ruth Tucker should know. For 19 years she suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse while her husband quoted biblical texts commanding her to submit to male headship. She recounts her story in her new book Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.

She also uncovers an uncomfortable reality:

I have asked some of the dozens of critical unanswered questions that relate directly to women’s stories of abuse. Sadly, there is little evidence that proponents of male headship are seriously grappling with them and speaking out publicly, and most women in such marriages are not being correctly counseled on matters of domestic violence.

Tim Challies critiqued Tucker’s book, specifically her assessment of complementarianism.

Tucker responded.

Both pieces are very much worth reading. Read them to explore God’s intent for the male-female marital relationship — and the prevalence of domestic marital abuse among Christian women.

Then dig deeper: engage Tucker’s story and insights through her measured book. Do it, for the women in your life and congregation.

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

By Ruth A. Tucker

Buy it Today:
Barnes & Noble
Buy Direct from Zondervan

  • April Joy Ford 1 year ago

    Ah, no thank you…I think someone misread the context of their ‘authority’ and what ‘submission’ is in the Bible. God does not ordain for any of his daughters to be abused as ‘submission’!
    And this is coming from me as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse–the ripple effect of domestic violence in the household.

  • Holly T. Ashley 1 year ago

    Let’s not make this about doctrine, but rather about what it is. It is abuse of scripture – what I have seen, experienced and refer to as “twisted scripture.” As a DV/SA advocate, counselor and trainer, for over 30 years, it is what it is. A gross misinterpretation of scripture – but also one that is not limited to finding out post marriage- Listen up women everywhere – The Bible gives us a well defined description of the man that is to lead – He is found in Titus 2 and 2Timothy. Look for him, do not settle for anything less of him. If he is to be head of your household, make sure that he is a man that consults God on each and every decision he makes and that he loves you more than he does himself. Make sure this is a man who you can be “submissive” to, “obedient” to because he respects you so much that he would never cause you harm.
    Until we raise the bar and hold our future prospective marriage partners to God’s standard- BEFORE we say “I Do”, nothing will change. Abuse will continue and so will the devastating consequences of this epidemic.
    Holly T. Ashley
    Executive Director/Founder: R3 Domestic Violence Services and Training.
    (Redemption. Restoration. Recovery, a division of Cross Strength Ministries)

  • Donovan 1 year ago

    vintage faith? Ummmm….

  • Chelsey Greene 1 year ago

    In my first marriage I was a victim of abuse. In my second marriage of 30+ years my husband and I believe in and live by complementary Biblical principals. I have never felt more free or more loved in my life. Men who attempt to use complimentary principles to justify their abuse are allowing themselves to be deceived by satan. They will have to pay the price unless they submit to the blood of Jesus. In the meantime, women who are in domestic abuse situations, no matter what the justification, must leave. I, like most abused women, suffered alone and tried to hide the abuse, but somehow I got the courage from Jesus to walk away and start healing. It is hard to be that strong when you feel so worthless, but you must step out in faith and trust Jesus to protect you, knowing that leaving may mean your death.

  • Martha Brady 1 year ago

    The idea that abuse is taught in Scripture or is even part of a complementary view of a woman’s design is a crock! Can a verse be pulled out of context that could support mistreatment of your wife? Maybe. But that’s not how you read any book! The Bible is no different! The message of Scripture is that GOD came to redeem a people for Himself at the sacrifice of His Son!

    Everything about Jesus was the opposite of abuse. Anyone who uses the Bible as proof for their abuse of their wife is twisted and either unaware or blind to what it says about how to treat a wife! love her as Christ loved the Church? doesn’t sound abusive to me.

    I could go on but that pretty much summarizes it.

  • Cherry 1 year ago

    Like others have stated, you cannot throw away something that is sound Biblical truth because some sinful people misuse and twist scripture. You’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. Yes, I agree with this statement of “vintage” faith. Don’t try so hard to be relevant, it sounds really stupid.

  • Mary 1 year ago

    Misinterpretation can happen anywhere. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus and know who He is, abuse would not happen. His relationship with the church is the example for husband and wife.

  • beth franklin 1 year ago

    Should a Christian woman endure years of every kind of abuse that stops short of physical abuse?

  • Janice Yeager 1 year ago

    Abuse of any kind is a result of S.I.N., and the abuser will stand before the Lord to give an account for his actions.

  • Deb 1 year ago

    Critically important to know what you believe, why you believe it and how it looks when it’s healthy !

  • R H D 1 year ago

    My husband was a is still a pastor. I was also an ordained elder and had a small church plant that i had to give up because I left him due to years of emotional and psychological abuse. I’m starting over because one of the main women of the congregation im’d me and said i needed to have the women of the church pray over me because he wasn’t beating me. I have had to step out of ministry. Looking for my place in the world and church

  • Kendra Huffman 1 year ago

    Not to be simplistic but anytime a man speaks of his dominion over women as being scriptural sound I say yes….just as Jesus treats you so shall you treat me…And I also have to say that the man in my life puts my needs in front of his. Not all woman are so blessed. As a church we must stand firm on the subject of abuse in all its forms. Justice does not mean you use scripture to advance your private agenda. Nor can we turn a b!Ind eye .

  • Katie Martin 1 year ago

    Agree completely with Holly T. Ashley, could not have said it any better.