Sunday, August 31, 2014

The IFB's Strange Woman? An Introduction

The concept of a “strange woman” is an unofficial doctrine** held by some Independent Fundamental Baptists concerning sexually abused girls: They become human garbage and things to be used, to be dispensed with in whatever way is convenient to those who have charge over them. Note that many doctrines in a high demand group are not formally documented but become part of the oral tradition or the hidden curriculum** of their culture and are often more powerful rules than the formally stated ones.

Williams offers a very lengthy sermon about this insidiously taught doctrine causing pastors confront occurrences of sexual abuse in their congregations and in educational settings. Because he packs so much material into the sermon, a series of posts detailing his beliefs will examine each of them and will include some refutation of those beliefs when appropriate.

The first in the series appears here and addresses the origin of the doctrines: The rabbinical text known as the Midrash. They are not concepts taught or supported within the Protestant Bible.

Full sermon transcript available HERE.
Audio available HERE.

Understand that the strange woman is the literal translation of the Hebrew Bible's term for a prostitute. That's where the terminology originates and why it is used. If you slap a King James label on something, it becomes instantly believable and true.

Williams' General Implied Presuppositions:
  1. Strange women are innately and intrinsically immoral and sensual by nature.

  2. Inference of superstition that seemingly routine behaviors of parents can unknowingly sexually corrupt a child (e.g., dressing an infant girl in any type of clothing without the outward appearance of a dress per Patti Williams)
  1. The daughters of strange women become strange women.

  2. Once a girl becomes a strange woman, she cannot truly be restored. She is DEFILED. God is impotent to help her.

  3. Strange women have limited value.

  4. The degree to which a strange woman can change will be determined by the number of children she produces as God blesses her restored worth through holiness.
  1. In hindsight, it is possible to retrace the history of a strange woman to find telltale signs that foretell her fate.
  1. If woman becomes defiled (loses her sexual purity), whether she has been sexually assaulted or not, she brings shame upon all of womanhood.

Characteristics of Strange Women According to Ron Williams
  • Attractive 
    • As a woman, it is better to be unattractive, for you will automatically get a consolation prize of good character. Attractive women have poor character. Young men had best marry a 'Plain Jane' to have a wife of good character and suffer their own lack of attraction to her for the cause of family. An ugly wife who is hated like Jacob hated Leah will make for more honorable children.
  • Sensual 
    • Sensuality is always evil, even in the context of love and marriage. Williams' spin doctor tactics dishonestly characterize sensuality. Sensuality is both a God-given blessing and a human need, but it is reduced into a sinful thing that should be feared, avoided, and reduced to pragmatism under the guise of honoring God. Marry only whom you spiritual covering (your parents) would have you marry. Suffering the loss of sexual enjoyment for this cause of pragmatism is salvific/redemptive.
  • Like to have fun (Avoid suffering which is redemptive)  
    • Godly women demonstrate character through suffering for the cause of family, gender hierarchy, and parents' wishes. Suffering for men or family or parents' wishes – no matter how unjust – saves a person and redeems them.
  • Friendly 
    • Godly women follow the doctrine of separation, so they are only truly friendly to those who merit their favor. They should only interact with those who share their value system in its entirety. Because of a lack of all discernment, the strange woman cannot discern to whom she can be friendly.
  • Loud and stubborn 
    • Godly women are quiet and have a gentle spirit. They do not offer their opinions to men, and they are demanding.
  • Curious 
    • Curiosity is contrasted with blind obedience to male authority. A truly virtuous woman will be completely satisfied from everything that she learns through the source of her husband or father, her male covering.
  • Dislike domestic work 
    • It is a virtue to be completely satisfied with only domestic chores and raising children. Women who dislike domestic work will wander far from home and are thus like the prostitute in Proverbs.
  • Require a “covering” (supervision and protection) 
    • All women seem to require a covering, but it seems especially true for the "strange woman."
  • Disobedient to parents 
    • Disobedience to parents is not only just a conflict within an important relationship. It is tantamount to rebellion which is no different in seriousness than witchcraft.
  • Have negligent parents 
    • Parents can raise strange women, and in particular, strange women beget strange women.
  • Empty-headed lack of all discerment 
    • According to IFB teachings, all women are easily deceived because Eve was deceived in the act of original sin. Adam is held accountable only because women aren't agents who are fully able to bear their own punishment. They also need men to make decisions for them and protect them. But it seems that “strange women” have even more of a difficult time with critical thought

Strange Women in Scripture
(used by IFB as negative examples)
  • Rachel
  • Dinah
  • Tamar (Daughter-in-Law of Judah)
  • Abigail

Posts to follow will document and demonstrate how these beliefs are applied to women, particularly those who have suffered sexual assault. And they are blamed for their own sin which defiles a whole family, not just the woman (or child) herself.