home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > May 3rd > WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID NUMBER 55

AUSTRALIA’S NATIONAL CRISIS

Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not. While the Albanese Government’s announcement this week that will commit $925 million to combatting “gender-based violence” is laudable, if the history of attempting to resolve this crisis is any indication of its future success, it is likely to achieve little. Why don’t these expensive government responses work? What can be actually be done with historical support for its success? What, or who, needs to change in order to solve this national crisis? How should Christians and particularly church leaders respond to this crisis? And what does the ancient wisdom of King David’s Psalmic literature give a template for a proven model for societal transformation benefiting the fatherless and single mothers, and women in general?     

FAILED REMEDIES

In Prof. Nancy Pearcey’s book, The Toxic War on Masculinity, she highlights the research which shows that most government behavioural-change programs do not solve the root cause of male abuse of women.

“What is the root cause of domestic violence, then? People who work with abusive men say the cause is a particular belief system—and these men will not change their behaviour until they change their beliefs.”
Nancy Pearcey. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (p. 239). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is why most programs to ‘reform’ abusive men, do not work – unless it changes their beliefs about the value of women. Interestingly, based on one of the largest studies of its kind, Pearcey reports, of the three groups of men surveyed (secular, nominal Christians, and regular-church-goers) by far the least likely to abuse women were the committed regular-church-going Christian men (p. 14-15).

Many people assume that most theologically conservative men are patriarchal and domineering. But sociological studies have refuted that negative stereotype. Compared to secular men, devout Christian family men who attend church regularly are more loving husbands and more engaged fathers. They have the lowest rates of divorce. And astonishingly, they have the lowest rate of domestic violence of any major group in America (chapters 2 and 3). This research is largely unknown, and even Christians are surprised to learn about it. The evidence shows that Christianity has the power to overcome toxic behaviour in men and reconcile the sexes—an unexpected finding that has stood up to rigorous empirical testing.
Pearcey, Nancy. The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes (pp. 14-15). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Of all the solutions offered by governments to deter oppressive male abuse of women, prison is by far the least effective. My discussion with a defence lawyer this week confirmed what most of us suspect. If you put an abuse man in a prison with dozens of other abusive men who demean women that man is likely to imbibe even greater abusive tendencies! 

 

WHAT (OR WHO) NEEDS TO CHANGE?

The former Victorian Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, and Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon (University of Melbourne, School of Law), wrote in The Age last week (April 27, 2024) that what needs to change in Australia is men’s beliefs about women. The secular script that men are indoctrinated with through the sexualisation of women in advertising, Hollywood, and the so-called multi-trillion dollar “Porn Industry” must be exposed as fuelling an evil attitude in men about women. We can no longer ignore that around 90% of gender violence involves men abusing women. Prof. Pearcey points out that in the rare cases where it is a woman abusing a man it is commonly an act of self-defence.

Who needs to change? I am suggesting that Australian male pastors need to change. I would urge my pastoral fraternity to recognise that we must do what we can to model, teach, rebuke, exhort, and correct the men in our pews about their attitudes toward women by highlighting how our Lord Jesus the Christ was the Archetypal (the True) man to whom all men should aspire to resemble. Note the following facts about the Christ:

  • He protected women against the violence of men (John 8:2-11).
  • He never raised His voice to a woman (Isa. 42:2).
  • He would not treat a woman as an object of sexual gratification (Matt. 15:19).
  • He chose women to accompany Him and His disciples under His guardianship (Matt. 27:55).
  • He ordained that it should be a woman to be the one honoured with making the announcement that He was risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-10).

Jesus did more for the dignity of woman than anyone else ever did!  

 

WHAT DOES THE ANCIENT WISDOM OF KING DAVID’S PSALMIC LITERATURE CONTRIBUTE TO SOLVING THIS CRISIS?

I encourage you to read Psalm 55 written by King David. He knew what it was to be confronted as the leader of a nation with a national crisis where violence and strife (Ps. 55:9) was rampant and the vulnerable were being oppressed, ruined, and defrauded (Ps. 55:11). To his horror, much of this oppression and abuse was being carried by men whom he had thought were his trusted friends (Ps. 55:12). In a passage eerily prophetic of what Jesus would experience from one of His most trusted followers (Matt. 10:4; 27:3), King David was shocked as to who his betrayer and underminer was (Ps. 55:13-15). After all, this man was charming. He had many friends. He was well-spoken of by all (Ps. 55:20). “His speech was smooth as butter – soften than oil” (Ps. 55:21) David sighs, “yet war was in his heart” where “he harbors animosity in his heart” (Ps. 55:21 NET). In her book, Prof. Pearcey gives example after example of women who were being abused by their husbands and went to their pastor and elders in desperation for help, only to be told that she was lying about her husband being an abuser. It seems that King David was not only one who was charmed by a man who could present himself as a sweet, charming, gentle and godly man – all the while, and secretly, living a double life in his home as an abuser of the one/s he was supposed to be loving, protecting and providing for. It was from King David’s own experience that he could say to the single mother and the fatherless the beautiful words of Psalm 55:22. What do these charming male betrayers deserve according to King David? Certainly not a godly wife who tolerates her husband’s secretive ungodly behaviour! If you to read what King David thought, then check out his extremely strong imprecatory words in Psalm 55:23. This should help us to understand just how seriously GOD feels about those who abuse women and children.

As I prepare to conclude my pastoral ministry at Legana I have endeavoured to foster an emerging generation of young men who will not model their manhood on the secular cultural script of a man is, but will, instead, chose to be counter-cultural and model their manhood on the traits of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels. And perhaps it is this small initiative of ours that will set an example for other young men to follow as well. It is my pastoral prayer for our church that no woman would experience verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, abuse from her husband; and, that the men of our church would model their manhood on the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, this is my prayer for our nation!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

3 Comments

  1. Mike Sladden

    Thanks Andrew

    Entirely agree that we must raise a generation of counter-cultural men who model their manhood on the traits of Jesus.

    Throwing huge sums of money at these kind of problems does not work.

    We desperately need a change in culture with Jesus, the perfect man, leading the way.

    Brother Mike

    Reply
    • Dr. Andrew Corbett

      Thank you Michael. It is my hope that the Church in Australia can lead the way in responding to this crisis.

      Reply
    • Elkanah

      I couldn’t agree more; men modelling their manhood on the traits of Jesus Christ is surely the solution to this ‘national shame’.

      Thank you, Pastor Andrew.

      Reply

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