Abusive Headship: a Review of Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

What is the relationship between the enforcement of male headship and spousal abuse?  This is the question Dr. Ruth Tucker – a well respected author, scholar, and speaker in the area of female equality in the Church –  endeavors to answer in her newest book, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.*


Through a combination of historical analysis, Scriptural exposition, and personal narrative Dr. Tucker presents a moving argument that in her life – and the lives of so many other survivors – the doctrine of male-headship inherent to complementarian theology played a significant role in her abuse.

Dr. Tucker’s personal story is absolutely heartbreaking.  In every chapter she relates shocking stories of vicious beatings, marital rape and sexual dominance, child abuse, and even the sexual assault of a foster child.  While many of the abuse stories are quite emotional, what stands out is the profound way in which Dr. Tucker tells her story.

Perhaps the most unique thing about this book is that Dr. Tucker has managed to create a juxtaposition between her personal experiences and the teachings of various well-known public figures and institutions of complementarianism. Her story becomes a vehicle for exposing the harmful rhetoric of gender hierarchy and ecclesial misogyny.  And in this way, she offers a careful, intelligent, and highly accessible critique of the systemic ways Evangelical headship culture perpetuates abuse within the Church.

Beyond her story, and her excellent critical skills, the part that spoke to me most was her words of hope and deliverance.  Dr. Tucker’s story is not only a story of abuse and devastation, but also of finding true love and healing in the mutuality she shares with her current husband, John Worst.  She transforms her story of brokenness, shame, guilt, and violation into a vision of hope, healing, and the faithfulness of God in suffering.

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife is simultaneously a deeply personal and harrowing story of abuse, a refreshing story of healing and love, and a scathing critique of complementarian doctrine within the Evangelical Church.  Dr. Tucker is not only a fellow advocate for abused women, she has lived the type of abuse I strive to expose on this blog. She is truly a brave and inspiring woman; I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife is published by Zondervan.  It is available for purchase on March 1, 2016, and can be pre-ordered here.

*For those unfamiliar with Dr. Tucker’s work, her full and rather impressive resume can e found here. http://ruthtuckercom.blogspot.com/p/my-resume.html?m=1

by Nate Sparks

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**Cover photo from https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DQqbSCb82lo/VrzIDfkyvxI/AAAAAAAAEHw/FZHw7aa0Xk8/s1600/B%2526W.jpg**

18 thoughts on “Abusive Headship: a Review of Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

  1. Mary Kassian (Canadian/”Christian”, darling of the Comp promoters/Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood/SBTS “distinguished professor” despite only having a degree in physical therapy) made nasty digs about Ruth Tucker.

    Kassian, it turns out, was described by a Canadian judge as not being credible or truthful in a scathing decision the judge wrote about her in a whiplash lawsuit that she started. Mary Kassian demanded 8-years of meals be paid by the defendant in the lawsuit because she couldn’t do her wifely duties, but she could shovel snow, rock climb, and go white water rafting.

    The Wartburg Watch has posted the Canadian judge’s legal document about Mary Kassian. Quite a read. Mary Kassian is quite the arrogant hypocrite. Pontificating like she has something worthy to offer everyone else, including her pronouncements about Ruth Tucker.



    1. As is typical in patriarchal systems, the women maintain or gain privilege and favor by policing other women. Sadly, Kassian is just a small cog in a much larger machine. She is dishonest and untrustworthy because she operates within an arena that awards those qualities as long as the elite get to stay in power. It is sad, it is despicable, but she is still the sad product of a system of injustice – injustice she has learned to live with as long as she gets to be atop the opposed and oppressed group of “lower” beings within the hierarchy of complementarianism.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And yet another piece of information about Mary Kassian that was just posted by someone from the United Kingdom on The Wartburg Watch:

      It looks to me that Mary Kassian is not qualified in Systematic Theology. Her qualifications only say “D.Th. (Candidate)” and she describes herself as having “studied systematic theology”. Given that she started a distance learning course in 1997 it would be reasonable to assume that her studies would have been completed by now, 19 years later. Her charity Alabaster Flask Ministries was dissolved a couple of months ago.


      1. In the court case, it specifically says she didn’t finish her studies. And in her bio it says she studied theology on a doctoral level, but specifically avoids saying she has a doctorate.


  2. Thanks for the review. I hadn’t heard of this book before. Sounds like one I ought to read. It will probably help me solidify my arguments against complimentarian marriage, and it will give me a resource to pass along to the next woman I meet in this situation…and because I share my own story everywhere I go, I meet them all the time.


Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback.

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