Naghmeh Abedini files for legal separation

Saeed owes you no public report of contrition or repentance. It is between him and his wife.

For the record, I am more than happy to believe Naghmeh if I were her pastor. I would listen to her and talk to her. Be compassionate, etc.

But you and I are not privy to that information. We don’t know her and have never talked to her. Stop trying to try Saeed in public based off of Naghmeh’s twitter feed. Jeez….

Actually, Mark, if he hadn’t been ordained, Saeed would not have been able to spend a long time in Iran. Moreover, as I’ve noted above, the court order is most likely a response to the church authorities dropping the ball here. Not only did they bobble Matthew 18, but they also fumbled 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. OK, they’re going to protect her exactly how and why, and why should she trust them to do so now?

In other words, how and why Saeed Abedini got ordained has everything to do with this case, as it explains Naghmeh’s likely motivations. We need to pray that a bunch of guys apologize to both of them for the Hell they’ve been through and begin the long process of rebuilding relationships—and not just that of the Abedinis!

Moreover, it’s worth noting that some of the abuses Greg H. mentions (my grandmother grew up on land that had been acquired from a widow, I think for a song) were the origin of 19th century feminism. More or less, you blow it with current institutions, don’t be surprised when someone acts to change them.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Move on.

Now we are trying a missionary group based off of twitter feed gossip. Great.

Saeed owes you no public report of contrition or repentance. It is between him and his wife.

Abuse is criminal activity which is why the court docs are public record. This is NOT a husband wife issue. You once again are making this into a marriage issue. Abuse is about power and control over another person.

Graham has a large organization. I am sure someone there is a qualified counselor, NO. Or if not, they can hire someone.

Graham is overstepping his boundaries. He used Naghmeh for his personal gain in promoting religious freedom. Why is she obligated to seek counseling where he recommends? She is not. Keep in mind that Graham, too, minimized the abuse to a “marital issue” rather than one of abuse. It makes perfect sense why she would not feel comfortable going to someone recommended by Graham. She’s smart.

Do you not think the ACLJ does good work to promote freedom in the US? Or, is Jay Sekulow just a glory hound?

Based on the research I did and also the public response regarding the case after Saeed’s release, I believe he used the Abedini family to promote his political agenda (and possibly financial). Sekulow dropped the Abedinis like a hot potato after the abuse allegations came public and Saeed was released. Now, crickets.

Mark said:

The point is, whether Saeed is qualified for a pastorate is irrelevant at this point. The shocking thing is the behavior of Naghmeh. If Saeed is that bad, that she won’t even meet him at the airport when he comes home after years in prison…wow. Years during which SHE BECAME FAMOUS for defending him!

You are showing yourself to be uneducated on abuse issues. Most victims of domestic violence will defend and protect their abusers, sometimes for years or even decades before they finally come to the sad reality of the life they have been living. It does not dismiss the abuse. What it does show is the cognitive dissonance and the troubled state she was living in for years. It takes amazing strength to speak out about an abuser and even more strength to leave one.

It’s court records and the open statements of his pastors. I wouldn’t be making a big deal out of this if it were random Twitter comments.

And yes, Moses led Israel out of Egypt after a murder….and after 40 years in the desert. In the same way, David paid for his sin with Bathsheba with the lives of four sons and a brutal war, and Paul waited years before ministering publicly as an apostle. We should take a hint; yes, God removes the penalty for sin and such, but sometimes there are earthly consequences, too.

I’m not one who will claim a person never lies about this, or that it’s somehow less impacting to talk of marital issues than of abuse within marriage (marriage is after all our picture of God’s love for us, it’s a big deal), and I’ve got no idea whether ACLJ and the Graham group are acting in good faith or showboating.

But I do know that if I’ve got court records of an assault in 2007, I’m going to be really reluctant to ordain the guy in 2008, especially if his pastor says he’s got some other serious issues. And the fact that the mission agency and his church looked past this doesn’t make them look real smart. They more or less deprived the Abedinis of the chance to really transform their marriage by doing this.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

In 2007 Saeed pled guilty to abuse. He served his sentenced punishment, correct. After that has he been found guilty of anything?

WHO CARES. The fact is he was in prison for being a missionary (sorry you don’t approve of him doing that) and came home to a buzz saw.

So “abuse,” undefined, is that rare sin that you can only commit if you’re not a Christian, and we can therefore judge in advance of the involvement of the elders and the church per Matt. 18 that the accused abuser will necessarily be excommunicated — so we don’t really need the Matt. 18 process at all, do we? Certainly saves time. And conforms to the cultural tide, without examination. But I’m curious why none of this analysis is in Matt. 18 itself, or in 1 Cor. 6. Perhaps Jesus and Paul just couldn’t foresee our day and age; apparently there was no domestic violence in their day. You’ve also elided a rather significant issue: don’t we have to first determine whether there was any abuse at all, rather than something else (including a screaming provocation of a response that the wife mis-describes, intentionally or not, as “abuse”)? Oh, wait, I forgot — whatever any wife says about any confrontation with her husband is the gospel truth, and we don’t even have to know his version of events, right?

Contrary to your suppositions about the Abedinis’ church completely dropping the ball and leaving her defenseless against terrible abuse (from 9 years ago) that justifies all of her behavior today, isn’t it just as likely that the church leaders were aware of the criminal case AND of the full facts of the underlying confrontation, that they shepherded both parties through reconciliation, repentance, Saeed’s court-imposed anger management classes, Saeed’s ministry call, etc. and concluded, as only the local church can, that the situation had been dealt with and Saeed was qualified (not perfect, but qualified) to go forward with the work he was doing, and that the marriage should continue as well? Not even Naghmeh has claimed that she sought (further) help from the church but that the church ignored her so she had no choice but to go public to trash her husband, refuse offered counsel from the same people she had been working with in the campaign for Saeed, and take steps to divorce him rather than to attempt to heal the marriage. And now you’re indicting Saeed based on the “abusive society” he’s “coming back from” (that is, from a prison cell in that society) — another supposition that not even Naghmeh has suggested. Also, if I understand you correctly, you’re now contending that his travel to Iran to further the orphanage he was establishing there constituted abandonment that gave her grounds for divorce. Incredible.

So where do you come up with your spin on this whole situation? I submit it’s pure bias, which I think is clear from your several comments. If you’re not willing to think about that, there really isn’t much point to further discussion.

As for your endorsement of feminism, you clearly don’t understand what you’re talking about. I don’t think I need to elaborate that for anyone else here, and I don’t think elaborating for you will be any more than a waste of time.

Julie Anne: You are not qualified to be commenting here. You have an overriding agenda, as is clear from your blog, which clouds your perception and your reasoning so substantially that you are incapable of rational or biblical discourse. You have misrepresented my position and my beliefs. You have concocted a conspiracy tale and impugned ministries that have tried only to help a persecuted brother and then had the gall to say you’ve provided factual support when you quite clearly have not. Your blog entry regarding the Abedinis should never have been cited here. You have no credibility on this specific situation. I will not participate in giving you any further excuse to be here to spew. I hope you’ll withdraw, but if you don’t, I won’t be interacting with you any further and I’d suggest to everyone else that they ignore you as well.

But I do know that if I’ve got court records of an assault in 2007, I’m going to be really reluctant to ordain the guy in 2008, especially if his pastor says he’s got some other serious issues. And the fact that the mission agency and his church looked past this doesn’t make them look real smart. They more or less deprived the Abedinis of the chance to really transform their marriage by doing this.

Michael Newnham reported that Pastor Bob Caldwell was aware of porn issues and Saeed was put in church discipline for it.

dmyers said:

Julie Anne: You are not qualified to be commenting here.

What gives dmyers the authority to tell commenters they are not qualified to comment here? Is he a moderator? Jim, I think you are a moderator. Can you please clear this up for me?

A few points:

1. Even if abuse is present in a marriage, the couple are still married and subject to Biblical teaching about marriage.

2. Abuse is serious and the one being abused must be protected, as well as others in the family affected by the abuse.

3. Abuse is not unique to our time. Marriages in the 1st century had abusive relationships. This means that Christ and Paul were certainly aware of abusive relationships when they discussed marriage and divorce. Therefore to advise someone who is being abused that it’s OK to divorce is problematic (especially in light of #6 below). Separation for the purpose of protection and safety is certainly wise. But to say this automatically justifies divorce is a big step.

4. Experience is not a reliable guide to belief and practice. Just because an individual has never seen an abusive person repent and develop a transformed life does not mean that such change cannot and does not happen. Remember 1 Cor 6:11 “such were some of you”.

5. As this discussion illustrates, abuse is an emotional issue where Biblical teaching seems to take a secondary role.

6. More than a few who marry abusive people know before they marry that something isn’t right, but they proceed with the marriage anyway. Some even know that the person they are about to marry is abusive, yet marry anyway. Does this not minimize, at least to some degree, the “innocence” of the one being abused? Nevertheless, the one being abused should get help on a variety of levels.

7. Any man seeking ordination who has been abusive in the past should be willing to be examined THOROUGHLY by the church. The church should take plenty of time in considering such a person. If the candidate shows impatience or anger at the process, that would be a basis for church refusal to ordain. But again, remember 1 Cor 6:11.

8. Abuse is a criminal issue, but if the abuser is married, the issue is also marital and family.

9. This situation illustrates the complexity of trying to analyze someone else’s marriage and problems without personal knowledge of the people involved.

Wally Morris
Huntington, IN