Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife
by Ruth Tucker
Now here is a provocative title for a book: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife. The subtitle brings a measure of explanation: “My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse.” Ruth Tucker’s new book is really two books in one—it is her harrowing account of being married to an abusive man and, at the same time, her critique of complementarian theology and an associated call for full egalitarianism. In my assessment it succeeds well as the first book but falls prey to significant flaws as the second.
Before I go any further, let me pause to define those key terms. “Complementarianism is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.” “Egalitarianism asserts that there should be no gender-based role distinctions or limitations placed on women in the home, church, or society. According to this view, women can serve as pastors in light of passages like Galatians 3:28.”1 With that in mind, here is my review of Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.
In 1967 Ruth Tucker fell in love. She was at Word of Life Island in the heart of the Adirondacks when she met a tall, handsome young man who swept her off her feet. Romance blossomed and was followed by walks, talks, letters, and courtship. Even at this time she began to notice concerns, little warning signs that perhaps this man was too demanding and controlling. But in the blush of young love she overlooked his flaws and soon they were married. They settled into life together, she as an academic and he as a pastor. It did not take long before she was exposed to all manner of abuse—emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual. For 19 years she endured this marriage before she finally escaped. They were later divorced. She tells this biographical account throughout the book, pausing often to draw lessons from it.
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