Growing up Independent Baptist, I got to hear a lot about slippery slopes.

Mainly I heard about them regarding music. “If you young people start listening to that Christian rock, before you know it you’ll start dancing around a devil fire.” Or something like that. In other words, if you start listening to Christian music “with a beat,” you’ll proceed bit by incremental bit downhill into flagrant sin and degradation. Here’s a sermon about that. (link.)

(For anyone reading this without a background as a fundamentalist, that’s what’s meant by the slippery slope argument.)

Same thing with associations and lifestyle. Lot was the example here. He started out in the valley, but ended up in the vile and wicked city of Sodom that was destroyed. What happened? He went down the slippery slope of compromise. Here’s a sermon about that (link).

The same claim is made about doctrines. Some have said that acceptance of various perhaps-seemingly-benign doctrines is the beginning of the slippery slope to abandoning the truth of the Bible. Here’s an article about that. (link)

When I was trying to come out of fundamentalism, one by one everything that wasn’t super clear in the Bible I put on the table for re-examination. One of them was the concept of the “slippery slope.” Is it real? I asked. Or is it made up, like so many of the fear-mongering teachings I experienced?

It stayed on the table for some time, years maybe.

I began to see how the “slippery slope” applied in some ways the fundamentalist teachers of my past had never mentioned. For example, a Christian wants to earn a lot of money so he’ll have a lot to give to the work of the Lord. But then when he DOES begin to earn a lot of money, bit by bit his heart is pulled away to the material things and the power and influence money can buy. His heart slides down the slippery slope from amassing money into loving money. Sin.

Or a pastor or teacher who started well and loved the Lord and walked in the Spirit becomes more and more popular and bit by bit it affects him in ways that can hardly be adequately explained. He becomes full of himself. His heart slides down the slippery slope from being well-loved to self-exaltation. Sin.

Then in recent years I became aware of another one, a very troubling one. It cemented in my mind that the slippery slope argument, at least in one case, is definitely true.

It is in a certain form of the submission teaching.

Obey your husband in everything, they say, except when he’s asking you to sin. If he’s the only one that’s sinning, then you still obey, and God will deal with him.

What if my husband speaks in a degrading way to me?

Well he’s not asking you to sin, so you just endure it. God will deal with him.

 What if he drags me by my hair down the hall to the bedroom?


Well, he’s not asking you to sin, so you just endure it. God will deal with him.

 What if he ties all four of my limbs to the four bedposts?

Well, he’s not asking you to sin, so you just endure it. God will deal with him.

 What if he brings a woman into the bedroom and wants to have a “threesome”?

Oh, whoa, wait a minute, that’s wrong. That’s sin. The marriage bed is for just you and your husband, so you need to say “no” to that.

Oh whoa wait a minute yourself.

How can you tell a woman she should obey her husband in everything except when he tells her to sin, if all the previous obediences have been silencing her, stripping her of any dignity, defiling her conscience, and ultimately leading up to that sin?

An abuser’s demands to sin almost never spring up out of the blue, in isolation from everything else. By the time it comes to demanding “sin” of her, the sin on the abuser’s part has often already been so egregious that her voice has been completely taken away from her.

If the slippery slope argument ever applies anywhere, it applies here.

Instead of telling a wife to wait until her husband tries to get her to sin, the church of Jesus Christ can be telling wives that they can stand up against their husband’s sin.

Don’t let women go down the slippery slope of losing their voices in one sinful situation after another, until ultimately they’re being forced to do things that they would never have chosen to do, would never have dreamed of doing.

Encourage them to speak and stand for what’s right. Encourage them to live lives of dignity and respect.

Encourage them to refuse to ignore the sin in their homes, even if it is “only”  the sin of their abuser.

Don’t let them go down the slippery slope.

 

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