About the author


Jane Gibb

Jane and her husband Steve ministered at Trinity Baptist Church in Cairns, Australia for fourteen years before moving to serve as missionaries in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Jane has a bachelor of education. Jane is active in ministry in Vanuatu as well as being a busy mother of six.


  1. avatar


    Jane – I haven’t been following the current thread of posts on this topic too closely, but to me it is an absolute no-brainer. If a woman is being physically or sexually abused by her husband we should be doing all we can to get her out of that situation. If a woman is experiencing ongoing serious verbal abuse or financial neglect then there is also a strong case for doing the same. (I can’t believe other Christians would have a different view!?)

    I would note here that there is a difference between separation and divorce. Whatever you believe about divorce, it is certainly different from a wife ceasing to co-habit with her husband for safety’s sake.

  2. avatar

    Jane Gibb

    PJ, if you don’t believe that there are some Christians who won’t protect abused wives, take a look at this:

    While the Pearls completely reject divorce on any basis, they also give the woman no option of separation ever unless the man is arrested and put into prison. Then the separation is brought about by the law not by common sense or the loving intervention of a church family. There is absolutely no mention in this article of the church supporting and helping a family that is struggling with abuse. This is the mindset that helps oppressors and leaves the oppressed to go it alone or risk the wrath of God. What kind of fruit can that thinking bear?

  3. avatar


    Unfortunately Jane, I have to agree with you.

    I believe it is ‘moral pride’ – rather than the heartbeat of God – that seeks to keep abusive marriages together. Male leaders often invest so much energy into building their church ministry (or household image) that when the reality of sin creeps into their midst, self-protection tempts them to sweep issue under the carpet.

    Each of us will have different degrees of experiences with this phenomenon, but for me these issues resonate close to home.

  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    I appreciate PJs comment. He’s right. It is a no-brainer. But unfortunately, helping the oppressor at the expense of the oppressed is all too common in Australian Fundamentalism. I’ve come across it over and over again. Besides the things mentioned above, I think some additional factors that can play into it are:

    -Interposing cultural stereotypes for biblical principles. For instance, I remember Jack Hyles giving an illustration about how two boys are fist fighting and he pulled the car over… not to stop the fight, but to watch the fun. He’s taken biblical ideas of masculinity and courage and carelessly equated them with “John Wayne machismo” to emerge with something that looks strikingly similar to biblical, but is actually just culture. You can imagine how such carelessness will play out in the marriage/home context.

    -Careless exegesis or plain old eisegesis. For instance, many believe that women are inferior. We’ve seen that in comments here at InFocus recently. This is a terribly careless treatment of Scripture, but that is all too common in many churches. So here are men who are “counter-culture” not in commitment to biblical truth, but in self-serving carelessness that secretly believes that women are inferior. Such beliefs can only be damaging.

    -The “boy’s club” dynamic is far more powerful than we might like to believe. For instance, I’m thinking right now of a pastor in Australia who put a family member on his pastoral staff knowing full well that the family member had a history of sexual abuse of minors. While he *may* have believed that the family member had gotten a handle on the problem, the desire to protect the “in” person resulted in a pastor going to jail and many young lives being deeply damaged.

    -The unbiblical mentality that we need to maintain a “good testimony” makes it seem quite rational to deal with things in house at all costs. This results in huge reluctance to notify authorities and compounds the crimes committed.


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