- It is no small lesson that that the great missionary, William Carey, who labored to bring the Gospel to India, who translated the Bible into three languages over 40 furlough-less years, and portions of the Bible into some 30 dialects, also labored to end child-killing in India. The prolife legislation that finally outlawed the practice of throwing babies into the Ganges River to be eaten by alligators is called Carey’s Edict. The Gospel saves the innocent and proclaims good news to the guilty. They are not at odds with each other or Christ would not have pointed to the Samaritan and said, “Go and do likewise.” When we preach Christ and him crucified, we are proclaiming the extreme end to which God proves his love of human life; body and soul.
- I told them I was working on Titus 2:5 where wives are instructed to be "good housewives [and] submit to their husbands". I asked my sister if she lived this way; her response was a mumbled negative. I turned to my brother-in-law and communicated the idea of verse 6, "urge the young men to be self-controlled". This young man had a violent temper and the verse grabbed his attention. I then encouraged both of them to act in a manner that would not allow others to criticize their behaviour, prayed with them and extracted a promise to return to their village and work on their relationship.
There is a great deal of rant about not conceding to culture, but thanks partially to the influence of feminism, now the state presses charges against the violent spouse these days, not the indidvidual. However, I sat and listened today as a lawyer friend recounted to me the situation of a woman who just this past Christmas, in this city, was duct-taped wrists, ankles and mouth by her husband. On her rescue she began writing her statement to the police when she put down her pen and refused to continue. The police will not be able to press charges.
This incident will not be mentioned in the statistics. This particular husband was not a Christian, but an article in the Vancouver Sun last month refered to the fact that the Mennonites found that even within their ostensibly pacifist community, spousal abuse occurs at the same rate as among non-Christians.
Are ministers and missionaries aware that preaching submission means that some women are carefully monitored by their husbands, phone calls listened to, friendships limited, income restricted, authority over children denied and confidence undermined at every turn. The pattern of submission puts these women in a position where they will not tell others of physical abuse because they know that then they will have to leave abruptly and they lack the confidence to do that. They do not have the confidence to reconstruct a life in which they may not have adequate training, a job, a car, a credit rating, a bank account, a name of their own, and a pattern of self-sufficiency. The church may never know how many lives are ruined by the preaching of submission because it is usually beneath the dignity of either partner to reveal this information.
I have read William Carey's autobiography many times with great interest. Let's remember this tribute,
- His prolonged efforts for social reform led to the passage of laws prohibiting the heathen practice of infanticide, disposing of children for religious or economic motives; and abolishing the suttee rite of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Carey, who was a century ahead of his day in insights into co-operative Christianity, is beyond doubt "the greatest and most versatile Christian missionary sent out in modern times.