Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark has taken a leave of absence from First General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri, after delivering a sermon that counseled women they were biblically commanded to not "let themselves go" after marriage.
The sermon was built around a single Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 7:4, which is teaching the unity and equality of the marriage covenant.
"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise the husband also does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does," the passage reads.
Clark's message focused on the first portion of that verse, as he instructed husbands to display it on the headboard of their beds, telling them, "So whenever she's not in the mood, dig out your Bible."
Excerpts from Clark's rant quickly emerged online, causing a firestorm of controversy.
"Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go? Why is that? Why do they do that?"
"Men have a need for their women to look like women. Sweatpants don't cut it all the time. Wearing flip flops and pajamas to Walmart – that ain't going to work. Ain't nothing attractive about that. It' ain't. And men want their wives to look good at home and in public, can I get an Amen!
"Ladies, it's the way God made us. It's the way we are. Men are going to look. He made us to look. You want them to be looking at you. Don't let yourself go.
"Now look, I'm not saying every woman can be the epic — the epic – trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump. I'm not saying that at all. Most women can't be trophy wives, but you know ... maybe you're a participation trophy," Clark said as a photo of the former first lady appeared on screen. "I don't know, but all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen! Not everybody looks like that. But you don't need to look like a butch either.
"Let me tell you something. I have a friend. He has put a 'Divorce Weight' on his wife. That is how important this is.
"Listen ladies, we are not lust monsters. We're not that lust monster that chases you around the bed every night. We can't help ourselves. God made us this way. He made us this way. Listen can I just tell you this? This may never pass your mind when you're saying ‘I do,' but I'm going to tell you it does his. It's the main reason he married you."
Clark's sermon drew outrage from secular observers, but also from Christian circles that pointed out the content of the preacher's message ran contrary to the testimony of Jesus' ministry, which has historically been understood to liberate women from oppression.
The full message can be seen here: