Fractured Covenants: The Hidden Problem of Marital Abuse in the ChurchMarie O'Toole
Abuse of different forms has become much more prevalent in the United States over the last two decades. Unfortunately, Christian marriages are not immune to this dark reality.
Often part of a dynamic of control and oppression in relationships, extreme authoritarian teaching can set the stage for abuse to occur. Far too often, rather than being a haven for survivors of abuse, local churches enable perpetrators by maintaining a "code of silence" and shaming victims for speaking up.
In Fractured Covenants, Marie O'Toole identifies the many forms spousal abuse takes; alerts the reader to the signs of an abusive relationship; and offers practical advice to pastors and counselors on how better to confront abusers and help victims heal within complementarian environments.
Some of the questions this book answers:
- What is emotional abuse?
- Why do Christian women stay in destructive relationships?
- Can abusers change?
- Are men also victims of abuse?
- Is marital abuse ever biblical grounds for divorce?
- What does the Bible say about "ragers" and "revilers?"
- How does Christ heal abuse survivors?
The issue of abuse within Christian communities (and how it is often mishandled by the Church) is garnering an increasing amount of media attention worldwide as it reaches near-epidemic levels. With more pastors and victim advocates speaking out than ever before, leadership of seminaries and local churches need to reevaluate how they assess and counsel women in the unenviable position of a destructive marriage.
Writing from an insider's perspective as well as that of a biblical counselor, O'Toole sheds light on a painful subject often shrouded in secrecy and shame.