Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4
Dear Dr. Brown,
This past week saw the Governor of Kentucky sign into law the bill inspired by Kim Davis’ five-day trip to jail last year, which now protects the right-of-conscience of elected court clerks not to affix their names to civil licenses that legalize sodomous unions. Mrs. Davis, in her third adulterous marriage, was widely quoted at the time (and with dead-on biblical accuracy) that this issue was to her a matter of heaven-or-hell. Last year you blogged extensively about Mrs. Davis and her right-of-conscience under the First Amendment, while this week you posted a brief teaching video on divorce and remarriage which drew a torrent of rebuke on your Facebook page from the marriage permanence community because of your reliance on 1 Corinthians 7:15 to deem remarriage by a deserted spouse not to be adultery, saying that such a person was “no longer bound” to their inseverable one-flesh state and their indissoluble joint covenant with God.
Although we wrote a scholarly blog some time back about the chronic abuse of 1 Corinthians 7:15 in contemporary evangelicaldom as part of our series on disciplined application of the principles of sound, basic hermeneutics, we won’t take you to task on that “understanding” of yours, nor on your underlying presumption that Jesus “allowed” one believer to take another into the family court system before a pagan judge, of which Mrs. Davis ran for election as her county’s official recorder of countless decrees that unilaterally shred families in violation of the right-of-conscience of roughly 80% of the civil case “respondents” and their children.
We know this issue has already been on your heart to a truly commendable extent, as you wrote in your blog, “Christians Have Been Hypocrites, So Now What?”
What we’d like to do is revisit another blog you wrote in September, 2015, “Why a Christian Blogger is 100% Wrong about Kim Davis”, specifically:
RE: “2) … He is right in highlighting the Bible’s strong condemnation of divorce (with rare exceptions), but he forgets that Kim Davis had her multiple divorces before coming to faith in Jesus, at which point she began a new life as a forgiven person.”
Respectfully, Dr. Brown, can you please direct your readers (and ours) to the scripture which confirms that coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ unjoins the one-flesh entity God formed with the covenant partner of our youth, despite Jesus plainly stating (Matthew 19:6 / Mark 10:8-9) that this God-joined entity will never again be two? Can you point out the scriptural support for assuming that either civil divorce or entering another civil marriage “dissolves” the unconditional covenant which God entered into with that supernatural one-flesh entity? Did He not rather say…”I stand as a witness between [Kim Davis] and the husband of her youth…”
(Malachi 2:14) , saying that the husband of her youth IS (not “WAS”) the companion of her marriage covenant?
Did Jesus not highly commend His cousin John the Baptizer,
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. “ Matthew 11:11-13
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and HE WHO MARRIES ONE WHO IS DIVORCED FROM A HUSBAND commits adultery.” Luke 16:16-18
…after John sacrificed his literal head to uphold the one-flesh holy matrimony covenant between Herodias and the husband of her youth when he told Herod, “it is not lawful for you to have YOUR BROTHER’s (divorced) wife.” (Mark 6:17-18)
In fact, the account in Luke 16 is only one of three separate occasions where Jesus voiced NO exceptions when He bluntly stated,
“…EVERYONE who marries a divorced person commits [enters into a state of ongoing, continuous] adultery.”
We know He wasn’t merely speaking of a one-time, past act because of the present-indicative Greek verb tense He used on all three occasions. We’ll grant that the divorces were past acts, but such talk is really only a deflection from the true issue, that of cohabiting under man’s paper with the one-flesh spouse of another living person. (If Mr. Everyone then “marries” Mrs. Deserted, is that “marriage” only half-adulterous under this ever-popular 1 Cor. 7 theory?)
Can you show us the scripture which says that baptism converts ongoing holy matrimony to a “sin” that can be washed away for the benefit of remaining in an adulterous union under man’s civil laws? Or the one that confirms that coming to Christ singles out serial polygamy as the only sin in all of biblical history that doesn’t actually need to be forsaken to be “forgiven”? As a consequence, will you counsel a lesbian differently who has come to Christ “married” to another woman for whom she has civilly divorced the husband her youth? Is the lesbian’s soul more valuable than that of the serial polygamist, or are you not being a “respecter of persons” ?
Not to attempt to speak for you, since you were silent in your blog about your scriptural justification for all this, we suspect you may be referring to the commonly-encountered abusive exegesis of 2 Cor. 5:17 while detaching and looking past verse 18. If this is the verse you had in mind when exonerating Mrs. Davis’ ongoing state of remarriage adultery, is this lesbian who is now a “new creation in Christ” equally exempt from the requirement to forgive her one-flesh rejected husband so that she will be forgiven, and from the “ministry of reconciliation” of the very next verse (2 Cor. 5:18) toward the companion of her marriage covenant, which Paul tells us is dissoluble only by death?
In light of the heavy reliance of evangelicals on the other side of this argument who insist, contrary to what Jesus and Paul consistently taught, that acts of men are sufficient to dissolve and terminate an unconditional covenant in which God is a covenanting party, Dr. Brown, we would like to direct your attention and consideration to a September, 2005 scholarly work by Drs. David W. Jones and John K. Tarwater published in Reformed Perspectives Magazine,
Paul reminded us at least twice that the only act of men that accomplishes this feat of dissolving a covenant in which God is a participant is his or her death, or that of their God-joined, one-flesh spouse. These authors rigorously examined all of the earlier scholarly works on this topic and brought forward the overwhelming support that it is as Jesus, Paul and Malachi all asserted it was, that God never breaks or abandons covenant, as an intrinsic part of His holy character, even when the human subjects do, and does not enter into a competing covenant.
Far from countenancing unlawful marriages and heterosexual disrespect for the sanctity and indissolubility of holy matrimony, Ezra chapters 9 and 10 demonstrate what church leadership’s attitude ought to be, and what God requires in terms of the personal holiness of those who would retain or recover sovereignty of a nation that God once favored but is now severely chastising!
We don’t bring these matters to your attention flippantly, Dr. Brown, but under the holy awe of God’s already-advanced judgment on this land…of His astounding sense of humor in working through a Kim Davis to make His point to a tone-deaf and stiff-necked bride who protests loudly against every conceivable encroachment to the First Amendment, while remaining oblivious and unconcerned about the oldest, most expansive and pervasive surrender of Constitutional right-of-conscience protections ever inflicted on American society, the enactment of unilateral divorce laws in all 50 states, the last as recently as 2010.
Last question: in her recent religious freedom victory, does Mrs. Davis still put her official signature as a blood-washed new creation in Christ on licenses that legalize the same serial polygamy in which she personally continues, with apparently no fear of God?
We’re not too sure that Chris Boeskool is necessarily a Christian blogger, but we’d like to propose that he is only 75% wrong about Kim Davis, in light of the biblical authority he legitimately brings to bear on the matter of how God sees the selectiveness of Kim Davis’ convictions and the status of her domestic arrangements.
Thank you for considering the perspective of the international community of covenant marriage standers in the matter, Dr. Brown.
Blessings in Christ,
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!