Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

I can't write about domestic violence without a nod to my current context: I live in a small, impoverished country in sub-Saharan Africa where domestic abuse, including physical and sexual violence against women and girls, is rampant. Women have few resources for getting out, getting safe, and getting help.

One of my friends and colleagues—a minister in the largest Protestant church in this country—says churches are seldom able to address the issue. Domestic violence is considered more or less "normal," she tells me, and clergy are inclined to dismiss it either as unimportant or as something to which a God-fearing woman should submit.

Until I read Is It My Fault? Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence (Moody Publishers), by Justin S. and Lindsey A. Holcomb, I had no idea that the leading cause of death for African American women ages 15 to 45 is murder at the hands of a partner. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who has faced domestic violence (90 percent of the victims are women). As the Holcombs show, the effects of domestic abuse are wide-ranging, unpredictable, severe, and long-lasting, affecting both the women and their children. Boys witnessing domestic violence, for example, are twice as likely to become abusers themselves.

Justin (a pastor and adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary) and his wife, Lindsey (a case manager at a domestic violence shelter), answer the title's question with an unequivocal "no." They also acknowledge that while "many victims believe clergy have the most potential to help them," in fact "[clergy] are too often the least helpful and sometimes even harmful."

Indeed, years ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAndy Stanley: Assume People Are Biblically Illiterate (But Not Dumb)
Andy Stanley: Assume People Are Biblically Illiterate (But Not Dumb)
The North Point pastor says the way we teach Scripture can undermine evangelism.
TrendingIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
Editor's PickNo Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
No Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
How the church can help develop a 'we' culture for the next generation.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Bible's Unequivocal 'No' to Domestic Violence
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.