The Significance Of Worldview In Thwarting Spiritual Formation, With Special Reference To Gender-Based Violence In South Africa And Beyond -- By: Rosemary J. Hack

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 31:3 (Summer 2017)
Article: The Significance Of Worldview In Thwarting Spiritual Formation, With Special Reference To Gender-Based Violence In South Africa And Beyond
Author: Rosemary J. Hack


The Significance Of Worldview In Thwarting Spiritual Formation, With Special Reference To Gender-Based Violence In South Africa And Beyond

Rosemary J. Hack

Rosemary Hack serves in South Africa and around the world as founding director of AIDSLink International. This article won third place in the student paper competition at CBE’s 2016 conference in Johannesburg.

Evangelical Christians often fail to live up to the biblical standards to which they ascribe. Unconscious and inconsistent behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs (recognized and unrecognized) are ever-present. Though striving to follow Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit, our behavior and attitudes fail to adequately represent Christ. This article addresses habitual abusive behavior perpetrated by professing Christian men (and sometimes women1) against women. Many of the men mentioned herein do not seem to think such abuse is inconsistent with their lives as Christians, and often as Christian leaders.2

Rachel is a petite yet stately woman. She is married with three pre-teenage children. However, despite her outer and inner beauty, she is broken. She rarely speaks, and when she does, one has to strain to hear. As a result of our relationship, she revealed to me that certain pastors of the church she worked at were raping her. She felt she had no right to refuse these “men of God.” This seemed like normal church life for her, in part because Rachel had been sexually abused since she was a young child. I have also observed that a man from the same church’s leadership team holds deeply prejudicial attitudes toward women, attitudes that were probably prevalent in the conservative culture in which he was raised.

Though I live in South Africa, this is not a purely African issue. Similar incidents around the world show that such abuse and prejudice cannot be written off as local culture or an anomaly. Indeed, speaking with women around the world I learn of many who have been sexually abused by Christian leaders. Further, there are many families in the church in which husbands, who frequently use the Bible to justify their actions, abuse their wives. The women in these varied scenarios often believe that they deserve such treatment and that the Bible supports it.

Many of these men are respected leaders of evangelical churches; they are people with whom we would fellowship, break bread, and from whom we would learn. They are men who would teach from 1 Cor 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit . . . ? You are not your own; you were brought at a price. Therefore honor Go...

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