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Setting the Captives Free: A Christian Theology for Domestic Violence Paperback – November 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Setting the Captives Free' should be required reading in every seminary! Ron Clark's knowledge on the dynamics of domestic violence, including the power and control issues surrounding the cycle of abuse is essential for clergy and Christian Counselors alike. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about how they might better assist victims of domestic violence in the faith community."
--Patricia Riddle Gaddis,MA
Director & Founder of The Family Peace Project
Author of Battered But Not Broken: Help for Abused Wives and their Church Families and Dangerous Dating: Helping Young Women Say No To Abuse.

"Every few years a book comes along which opens the eyes of the church to a critical spiritual need in the world and the alarming gap in our theology which has closed our eyes to that need. "Setting the Captives Free" is one of those books. Just as Barna's books have done concerning the lost, just as Sider's books have done concerning poverty, so Ron's book does concerning domestic abuse. Ron opens the church's eyes to the dark world of domestic abuse victims and the gap in our theology which has kept us blind to their needs. After reading the book, I feel to my knees in repentance for not leading our church to minister to these victims. Ron gave me the tools and the theology to begin talking to our congregation about these needs."
--Dr. Chris Altrock, Minister, Highland Street Church of Christ, Memphis, TN
Author The Cross: Saved by the Shame of It All and Preaching to Pluralists

"This is a groundbreaking book that is well worth reading. It really grasps the issues of abuse and provides practical, spiritual answers to anyone who
has been impacted directly, or indirectly."
--Bettie Williams-Watson, Founder, Executive Director of Multi-Communities
(M.I.C.), Seattle, WA.

About the Author

Ron Clark is the preaching minister and lead church planter for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, OR. Ron teaches adjunct at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, and has his doctorate in ministry from Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis. He has authored numerous articles and chapters in theology and abuse, ministry, as well as Greek and Hebrew studies journals and publications. His books include Setting the Captives Free, Emerging Elders, and the triology Freeing the Oppressed, The Better Way, and Am I Sleeping With the Enemy. He referees high school wrestling and loves the outdoors. He has served on the Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans, and local domestic abuse committees. He and his wife Lori work together at Agape to address abuse, homelessness, sex trafficking, and ministry in their city. They have been married since 1987 and have three sons.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597524247
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597524247
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,037,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ron Clark has been in ministry for over 25 years. On Easter 2007 he and his wife Lori led a new church plant in downtown Portland, the Agape Church of Christ, committed to addressing social justice and empowering the oppressed in the name of Jesus. The church has grown from 15 to over 100 and work in Portland with the homeless, addiction and abuse recovery, human and sex trafficking agencies, as well as university students and other community agencies. Agape has also launched a new campus in Gresham, OR, (Agape Rockwood Campus) and has partnered with AS IS Church, in Milwaukie, OR, to launch their new community. Agape's vision is to begin 40 churches by 2020.

Ron has his Doctor of Ministry from Harding Graduate School in Memphis, TN. He is a member of local domestic violence councils and the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force. He leads the clergy training for Community Against Domestic Violence and is also a faculty instructor and adviser for D.Min. students at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of the newly released The God of Second Chances: Finding Hope in the Prophets of Exile and also Setting the Captives Free, Emerging Elders, numerous articles on abuse, theology, and Hebrew/Greek studies, and the trilogy Freeing the Oppressed, The Better Way: The Church of Agape in Emerging Corinth, and Freeing the Oppressed. He also co-leads a committee on abuse and the church for the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion.

Ron and Lori Clark have been married since 1987. They have 3 sons Nathan, Hunter, and Caleb.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Your Still Small Voice on February 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I would encourage pastors and Christian counselors who want to help women in abusive relationships to seriously consider reading this book. I would also encourage women who suspect they may be in an abusive relationship to read this book. I say `suspect' because the woman in that life cannot openly admit it or else she couldn't understand herself for staying. She lives in the lie, the shame filled lie of existence. Dr. Clark has done a remarkable job writing what I couldn't find in any books available in the Christian community in the '70s and '80s when I was overwhelmed in my abusive marriage. The usual methods of counseling are not applicable in these marriages, but everyone seems to try. Because `I' hurt, the burden fell on me to read, counsel, pray, to fast and intercede, forgive and somehow even forget, and when it didn't work, it was I who was the failure. Christianity is a great hiding place for abusers because of distortions concerning principles of submission for women, forgiveness, and of accepting that a husband's role may include exerting power over the wife rather than in sharing mutual power and living like equals. Christian women who want to be pleasing to God can be set up to take the blame for the problem of their husband's anger. Too often, the woman is asked what she did to make him angry. It is not about his anger as much as it is about his need to control and the pattern of tearing down any sense of her self-esteem. That is why his repentance and tears are not safe. It is part of the dance to control. Dr. Clark writes to my heart as he describes the cycles and patterns of this family in distress. His validation is healing.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Celebrating Yahweh on August 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Clark presents a sound biblical perspective on marriage as a model of God's covenant and a biblical response to domestic violence. The authur's view is well documented by Scripture and by those who deal with domestic violence. An eye opening read on domestic violence and how the world (especially the abused and counselors of the abused) sees the church as perpetuating domestic violence. This is not the typical wives submit to husbands period, but a godly view on the role of the husband as caretaker of the wife who models Jesus to her and their family through addressing her needs with compasion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you Mr. Clark for telling my story! My copy of the book is filled with notes in every margin. It's also a little worse for wear for being thrown across the room a few times when the story being told was so clearly my story that it was as if Mr. Clark had been in the room with me while it was happening. Coming out of a church setting where 'worldly' counseling was considered evil, the only place I had to turn to when the domestic violence in my household got too bad, was the church and the preachers. Most of them would tell me that he would 'talk' to my husband and things would get better. He did. And sent my husband back home to me with more anger than when he left. Towards the end of the 10 year marriage, one preacher even told me to go home and apologize for being a bad wife. (The refrigerator had broken!) Mr. Clark presents the stories, the typical responses and a clearly thought out and researched doctrine that is missing in Christian training, colleges and seminaries. Thank you Mr. Clark, for the healing your book has provided for me.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Anderson on July 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will talk about just one example where this author is insulting to women. On page 145 he is generalizing about the battered wife, but he is inserting the reader (you) as the first person. "You go home to a house that your husband has trashed. Your favorite pictures have been broken, and he left a note over the old wedding picture, "Please forgive me!" The deputy who accompanied you suggests that you change the locks and notify the neighbors so you can be safe. ("That's great," you say, "now everyone knows we can't keep our family together and I can't even change a light bulb, much less a lock")" Ok, so how many women are too stupid to change a light bulb? I know that some might not be able to due to disability, but most women these days at least know how to change a light bulb. I've known how since childhood. Also, many abusers do not even ask for forgiveness, but will instead blame their victims. I wondered after reading this if this man really knew anything about domestic violence. I have seen far more than he has apparently, because most I've encountered never resembled what he described as typical.

The author also infers and implies that God is okay with women divorcing their husbands who abuse them. Then the author discusses how government agencies are given authority by God and that God gave government the right to intervene in marriages/families where women and children are being abused. If this is true, then God also allows abuse to continue in situations like mine where the government is on the side of the abuser due to male versus female bias and/or bias where those in the government know the abuser on a personal level. Splitting up families involving violence is not supported in scripture from what I have read, and I have been searching for that for years now.
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