Bible doesn't condone domestic violence, says Coast pastor
A PROMINENT Sunshine Coast pastor used his key Sunday message to apologise if words from the Bible had been used to condone domestic violence.
Tim Lovell, the lead pastor of Buderim's Goodlife Community which has more than 1000 members, made the apology as reports of incidences of domestic violence within churches has made headlines across the country.
Mr Lovell said there was absolutely no excuse for domestic violence in any household and if he was aware of an incident, he would report it to police.
He strongly believed the Bible did not condone domestic violence or the demeaning of women and scriptures used to support it were taken "out of context".
Mr Lovell said he had planned to preach on the teaching of Paul in Timothy where he said women must "be quiet and in submission to their husbands" long before the ABC report on domestic violence in the church.
"I didn't prepare it as a response to the ABC report," he said.
"But (when I saw it) it struck me there were women in the context of Goodlife who had been belittled, controlled or even faced domestic, verbal, physical or spiritual abuse by men who had taken those passage out of context and felt self-empowered to do as they willed.
Mr Lovell did a study of the Gnostic teachings in Ephesus, whom Paul was writing to at the time and believed that explained the context of the passages.
"Always, we have to be willing to look at the cultural context of any of the times (Bible verses) are written otherwise we don't get a clear understanding," he said.
"Paul was addressing specific issues for a specific region. If we don't have an understanding of that, it is like trying to make the US constitution applicable in the Middle East."
Mr Lovell had a strong response from women and men in his congregation to his message.
"The reaction varied from women to whom it brought back to surface the pain from previous experiences who had never heard it taught like that before.
"There were women who just felt so validated and encouraged.
"And I had a number of men thank me for teaching it as it helped them understand their roles as husbands and men."
Mr Lovell said while he did not agree with some of the claims in the ABC report and others that followed, he was grateful the issue was raised.
"It has raised important issues in the church that should be raised," he said.
"Any domestic violence and demeaning of any other person shouldn't be allowed.
"If you read more of Paul's writings, it says submit yourself to the laws of the land. If you break the law, you should pay for breaking the law.
"We (the church) have done ourselves a tremendous disservice by hiding things away because we are afraid of the way they could reflect on the church."