The ‘Should we not be beating our wives?’ passage in David Garrison’s book, A Wind in the House of Islam (WIGTake Resources, 2014), provides a fine illustration of the good that happens when the Bible speaks today.
For his book on ‘How God is drawing Muslims around the world to faith in Jesus Christ’, Dr Garrison, a US evangelical Christian academic and expert on Islam, conducted interviews with 1,000 Muslim converts to Christianity across nine regions ranging from West Africa to the Arab world to Indo-Malaysia.
The following event took place in a mountainous region in either Afghanistan or Pakistan in 2008. A male Muslim convert to Christianity asked a female Western missionary: “Should we not be beating our wives?….What does the Bible say about this?”
The missionary then shared various biblical texts with him including Genesis 2v24, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh’ (NIV); Ephesians 5v25, ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’; and 1 Corinthians 13v4-7, ‘Love is patient, love is kind…It is not easily angered…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’
Dr Garrison described the impact of these biblical texts after Ahmed (the Muslim convert to Christianity) shared them with his fellow converts: ‘The next morning the two women (Western missionaries covered from head to toe in culturally sensitive attire) arrived at the retreat centre shortly after breakfast. Before they proceeded with their programme, Ahmed explained to them that no one had slept that night. “All night,” he said, “we were talking about these things that you sent to us. We talked about what Jesus was saying about women, and how we should change, and how we should treat our wives.”
‘After the men gathered in the training room, one of them stood up. He turned his head to one side, because it was against his culture for others to see the tears glistening in his eyes. He said, “I have made many, many wrong things with my wife, and I have been participating in the killing of women.”
‘When the other men heard what he said, they began to speak. One after another, they stood and said, “I will not beat my wife”…They said, ”After today, we will treat our wives with respect” (p194-199) .’
How could anyone seriously claim that Western military intervention or even money from one government to another is as positively transformative for the daily lives of vulnerable women in a place like this as Christian truth let loose?