The following statement was given by Dr. Hayes Wicker during his message from Exodus 20:1-3, May 26 & 27, 2018 concerning domestic abuse:
Recently there has been much concern and controversy due to remarks by a prominent Christian leader in our Southern Baptist Convention. As your pastor, I need to address larger issues and affirm the position of our church.
All people are uniquely created in the image of God. This affords each individual - male and female - dignity and worth. Since each are valuable to God, this informs all that we think, do and believe, particularly how we interact with one another. We stand with scripture affirming that women and girls are to be treated with dignity and respect in all arenas: in the church, the workplace and especially the home.
On issues of abuse, these actions are grievous to the heart of God and sinful at the core. It is ungodly for an individual to strike, control, coerce or use force of any kind against another individual.
The policy of our church leadership, as well as our practice over the years, is to encourage action when a woman is found in a situation of physical abuse. According to Proverbs 22:3, it is “prudent” for her to be away from that threat as quickly as possible.*
We have provided aid for women in these challenging situations and continue to do so. We believe in reporting to police officials as soon as this comes to light and calling the guilty person to repentance.
While scripture charges husbands to willingly and lovingly sacrifice for their wives and women to lovingly respect their husbands, this is not an excuse to violate biblical standards of kindness, gentleness and service. Pray that all of us will speak and lead with wisdom and discernment and that the Lord’s purposes will be accomplished in our church and Convention.
* Dr. Wicker also provided a more thorough exegesis of Proverbs 22:3.