Equipping the church to resist domestic abuse and coercive control

Small Group Study Videos

A sensitive, important study guide for use by church small groups

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Created to work alongside Rev. Dr Helen Paynter’s book: ‘The Bible Doesn’t Tell Me So: Why you don’t have to submit to domestic abuse and coercive control’, these study videos aim to help small groups to become informed about, and respond to, domestic violence. If you are a leader, please email the Administrator to preview the full content.

About the book:
Domestic abuse is as common with church families as in the general population, but sadly additional factors may come into play when the abuse is taking place within a Christian home. In particular, certain portions of the Bible are often taken out of context by abusers to force their partners to put up with abuse. Sometimes churches, too, can be unhelpful, offering theological responses which are neither pastorally sensitive nor in line with a careful reading of the Bible’s teaching.

In her acclaimed book “The Bible Doesn’t Tell Me So: Why you don’t have to submit to domestic abuse and coercive control”, Baptist minister and biblical scholar Helen Paynter tackles these questions head-on, in an accessible work aimed primarily at those experiencing abuse.

Responses to the book:

“I couldn’t put this book down. Read it cover to cover in 2 hours starting from when I took it out of the packaging. Life transforming information aimed at Christian survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Should be read by all churches and any women suffering or who have suffered abuse.”

— Helen Greer

“A great book, not an easy read in terms of content, but really well presented. As a church leader reading it I had to step back and challenge my own assumption of the subtle ways that maybe I have to foster a better culture for people to speak freely. Once again Helen takes a deep biblical theme and brings it to life in a thoughtful, important and accessible way.”

— Tim P

“I have all too often seen the Bible I love weaponised by men to control and subordinate their wives. The sad truth is that domestic abuse is as prevalent in the church as it is in the world outside. I am deeply grateful for this book and Helen’s detailed study and balanced explanation of the texts that have been used throughout the centuries to “bash” women. It is an academically excellent book, which sheds light on the complex scriptures it covers, yet remains immensely readable… This book shows the Bible is liberating for women and challenging for some men, and I pray The Bible Doesn’t Tell Me So will become a core text for leaders as they learn to recognise and respond to domestic abuse within their churches.”

— Bekah Legg, director of Restored

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About the videos:

These study videos The Bible Doesn’t Tell Us So: Equipping the church to resist domestic abuse and coercive control offer a six-week course aimed at church small groups, to enable them to engage with the material in an interactive way.

Video format. The series is hosted by the book’s author Helen Paynter. Each video contains enough material for one small group meeting. After a short introduction to set the scene, there are two blocks of input, with contributions from invited guests, and witness testimonies. After each input block, plenty of time is allowed for the group to talk and pray together. The video finishes with some short concluding remarks.

A short study guide is available to support the videos, but it is intended that they will be used alongside the published book.

The study takes place over six sessions:

Session 1: Introduction. Provides an overview of domestic abuse: its presentation and prevalence in society and churches.

With guest Bekah Legg, director of Restored, an organisation which seeks to equip the UK and international church to resist and respond to domestic abuse.

Session 2: The Ideal Wife? Digging into what the Bible does and doesn’t teach about marital roles.

With guest Rev. David Batchelor, minister of South Street Free Church, Eastbourne.

Session 3: Trapped By God? What does and doesn’t the Bible say about divorce in the case of abuse?

With guest Rev. Dr David Instone Brewer, author of “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible“.

Session 4: Jesus Raging and Suffering. Looking at how the Bible in general, and Jesus in particular, views the suffering and the oppressed.

With guests Rev. Dr David Firth and Dr Jayme Reaves.

Session 5: Out of the Shadows. How can we cultivate an atmosphere in our churches that makes it easy for victims of abuse to disclose, and to believe that they will be taken seriously?

With barrister (legal advocate) Anna Vigars KC.

Session 6: Next Steps. How can we move forwards to make our churches safer for people who experience domestic abuse?

With Rev. Brendan Bassett, previously minister of Victoria Park Baptist Church, Bristol.

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A glimpse into the course

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How to run the study group

We recommend that the course is run over a series of six meetings, held weekly or every two weeks. Ideally, group members will have a copy of the book and will read the relevant section either before or after the relevant session, although the videos and accompanying study notes can be used alone if necessary. The course requires no specialist facilitation, but the group leader and members will need to be aware of the sensitivity of the subject matter, and the effect that this might have on group members. The study guide contains suggestions of organisations that may be able to offer support.

The videos and book come out of a UK setting, but we aim that they will be accessible and useful to church groups in any English-speaking setting.

The videos were made with the generous support of the MB Reckitt Trust.

Whilst we make these videos freely available, we request a donation of £3 per course participant*, on an honesty basis, using the donation link below (select ‘custom’ and input the amount). Once this has been done, please submit your details using the contact form to receive the password and access the content (check your junk mail if it doesn’t appear within a couple of minutes!). If you are a leader, you are welcome to email the Administrator to preview the full content.

*If this amount presents genuine difficulties for anyone, please get in touch to discuss your church’s requirements.

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    Once your payment is complete, please provide your details in order to access the course content. You will immediately receive an email with the password to access the Course Content.

    If you have any questions, please email reida@bristol-baptist.ac.uk

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