I almost knew Catherine Clark Kroeger. At the time she passed on to heaven—February 14, 2011—she was still lecturing and researching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary inMassachusetts. I live on the other side of the country, which may be why I never actually met her.
It was Catherine’s compassion for abused women that brought us together, though only virtually. She was a leader in the early evangelical women’s movement, and she accomplished this without budging on scriptural authority. One of my earliest books—In The Name of Submission—happened to be on that very subject. Catherine got hold of it and sold so many copies it went into two more printings.
In The Name of Submission was an odd book for me. At the time, I knew next to nothing about battered women. The project started out as a co-author deal with a therapist who dealt with domestic violence. Unfortunately, after I signed the contract, the therapist backed out. My feeling was: If he hits you and you don’t like it, leave. The End. But in the process of my interviews with victims, husbands, and ministers, I became impassioned about the subject. So when Catherine Kroeger called and asked to use my book in her lectures and classes, I was pleased. Even though I had no idea who she was.
As it turns out, Catherine Kroeger was quite somebody. Dhe exposed and condemned the sinful crime of domestic violence, and she refused to back away from those theologies that seem to portray God as an abusive husband—a perception of God laid out in some “Christian” books and expounded from some pulpits. It all sounds way too much like the warning signs of an abusive husband. Catherine spoke out against such teachings, and in doing so, she helped husbands and wives to see the true nature of God.
I almost knew Catherine Kroeger. I wish I really had.
“None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.”
Pearl S. Buck