"The Heart of Domestic Abuse" by Chris Moles. A Review

The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the HomeThe Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home by Chris Moles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The signs are clear. He shouts at her often, sometimes smashing holes through the walls with his fists, then blaming her nagging ways for his outburst. He demands to know her every move, even placing tracking apps on her cell phone. He limits her "alone-time" with her friends because they're bad for her. Recently he took control of the family finances, even mandating that all earned income be turned over to him. Not only does he threaten to leave her and take the kids, but she found out recently that he tells the children he can't trust their mother and they need inform him whenever she does something they know he won't like. These are a few of the indications of domestic abuse. They may not be physically violent, but they are threatening, oppressive, and suffocating. If you are this family's pastor or elder, do you ignore it, or should you seek to intervene? Chris Moles, certified biblical counselor, batterer intervention group facilitator, and pastor of Grace Community Church in Eleanor, WV, encourages church leaders to intervene, and maps out a healthy way to engage abusive men in his 154 page paperback, "The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who use Control and Violence in the Home." This manual is "primarily for pastors, biblical counselors, and church leaders who may find they are working with a man who has used control and violence in home" (6).

"The Heart of Domestic Abuse" aims for heart-change in oppressive men. The book is not intended to be given to the abuser, but to aid the counselor in working them toward heart change. The vast majority of the content guides the pastor/counselor through the process of shepherding heart-change. The author also deciphers the ploys often used by abusers to side-step such changes. And he shows what real gospel-heart-change will look like: Pride and control are displaced by humility, violence gives way to gentleness, ridicule is overridden by encouragement, blame-shifting and denial bow before truth, shepherding and loving the children replaces manipulation, servant leadership triumphs over male privilege, and stewardship rises above financial abuse. "Right beliefs will foster right motives which will produce right behavior" (115).

Moles writes from a complementarian position, rather than egalitarian. Though the husband and wife are equal before God, in the home economy they fulfill different roles. Specifically, the husband as head of the family, etc. But the author rightly points out that in healthy complementarianism, the husband's responsibility is to use his strength and position "to serve our families rather than subdue them" (7). That means, when addressing abusive men, who often see their marriages as a hierarchy of power where he oversees his wife's behavior and controls her actions, they "would do well to see themselves as part of a hierarchy of responsibility, placing more emphasis on their position before God than their position above their wife" (71). I personally thought the way the author handled this perspective was heartening and wholesome.

"The Heart of Domestic Abuse" needs to be in the hands of every Christian minister. We minister's must take on domestic abuse, because God hates oppression, and the misuse of power over the powerless; "O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more" (Psalm 10.17-18). Please God! And we must be ready to take on domestic abuse because this wrongdoing is more than likely going on under the radar in most of our congregations. I strongly recommend the book!

You can easily obtain the book here: Focus Publishing

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