Review of Ruth Tucker’s, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse

Review of Ruth A. Tucker, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse (Zondervan, 2016) 206 pages.

Ruth Tucker of Jerusalem to Irian Jaya fame, has penned a personal, heart-wrenching account of years of domestic violence at the hands of her “charming, articulate, and intelligent” husband and once beloved pastor. Her ex-spouse (who is never named in the book) inflicted untold physical and emotional horror on her and their son for years. Sadly, Tucker’s experience is not unique in the church. Women and their children like her and her son (Carlton) should not have to suffer in silence and alone. The church needs to read this book to be motivated to come along side others like Tucker.

What Tucker suffered at the hands of her husband was terrible and inexcusable. Her ex’s use of the Bible to cower Tucker into submission was not only violence inflicted on his wife, Ruth, but also abuse of the worst kind on the biblical text itself. And this is where Tucker does not differentiate between what the Bible actually teaches and what her husband inflicted on her based on his warped hermeneutic. For Tucker they are one in the same. Since her husband demanded total and unquestioned submission and would physically and/or emotionally make her tow that line, any male who supports and practices loving biblical submission (i.e. complementarianism) in marriage is like her husband.

While there is certainly a danger that the doctrine of biblical submission in marriage has (and will be) used as a vicious club (23), Tucker misses the point that God never intended this doctrine to be wielded in such fashion. Sadly, she also confuses the perpetrator with the teaching when she writes, “Yet the doctrine of male headship demands that an independent single woman turn into another woman—a woman under subjection” (53). Tucker’s horrendous experience was at the hands of her ex who had violated the biblical text long before he had abused her.

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