‘the Almighty will not pervert justice’ (Job 34.12).

A few days ago, a distant pulpit rhetorically suggested the permissibility of husbands raping their wives during a sermon. During this now infamous sermon, the ineffable argument declared a heinous conviction that “the best person to rape is your wife.” This hermeneutical despondency is possibly the limited verbiage of an inherited, nurtured, and inept theological tradition – a tradition that has shown its face, more so as of late, in circles of patriarchal power, mischievous manipulation and homogenous proclivities of male headship within the church.  This detestable rhetoric has produced an unwarranted trigger – one of unhealed memories, creating tense and unimaginable pain for many of our sisters near and far. At Sligo, we condemn this behavior and any of its incendiary language that conveys any form of violence against women.

To all of our sisters at Sligo, to my wife, my daughter, my pastoral colleagues and our broader communities:  I am sorry there are corners of our denomination that speak despicably and shamefully of you. You matter to the Lord and you matter to us. We would be incomplete without you. When you are shamed, so are we. When you hurt, we hurt too.

I want to personally communicate to you how grateful I am for your courage, truth, inspiration and empowering presence. The Lord is working joyfully in and through you. Thank you for inspiring us all in service, sisterhood, prayer, support and love. You guide us to live graciously and faithfully in the service of our Lord.

Rest assured we believe in healthy marriages in which partners are committed to the Lord and faithfully work for the Kingdom of God as peacemakers. We encourage healthy marriages who mutually enrich each other’s values, dreams, and challenges whilst maintaining personal individuality. We encourage marriages whose homes are physically and emotionally safe and prayerful.  We encourage marriages who continue to nurture environments of love and human flourishing. We encourage marriages with non-competitive attitudes towards one another. 

Often, we do not address power language in the local church or in our homes. Surely, it pervades our subconscious and even assumed inherited values. Submission has for a long time become limited to circles of marriage, nullifying the ethos found in Scripture within the sphere of the church and its practice. When Christ is not the subject in faith discourse, language is dominant and manipulative. When Christ is truly the subject, the language of submission broadens its communal import and widens its service of love.  Our Lord does not pervert justice. 

your brother,

Alex Barrientos
Senior Pastor, Sligo SDA Church