Dr. Piper’s Divorce, Remarriage, and Doing WHAT??

JPiperBlog2by Standerinfamilycourt

FEAR OF GOD:
(Ezra, Chapter 9) …the princes approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites.  For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy  race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.”   When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled.   Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me, and I sat appalled until the evening offering.  But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my ands to the Lord my God;  and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.”

FEAR OF MEN:
(John Piper, 8/16/2016)  “So, this is a question then for almost every Christian.   If the marriage that you are in was entered wrongfully, you shouldn’t have entered it. Should you stay in it?   That is the question.   And my answer is: Yes.   Repent honestly before God to each other and to him. Admit it should not have happened. Ask for forgiveness from each other and from God, perhaps from former spouses. And then keep your promises that you made to each other when you made your vows, rather than a second time breaking your word. And Lisa’s question is: Are there texts for that opinion? I mean, you are just saying that, Piper. What about the Bible?  And I want to say here: I could be wrong about this. I could be drawing inferences from texts illegitimately. But there do seem to me to be three or four or more pointers in this direction in the Bible, and I will give them to Lisa now.”       [ emphasis is SIFC’s]

We do admire John Piper’s courage in calling out remarriage adultery with unusual scriptural accuracy in this evil age.    Prior writings of his have been so bold as to agree with both Jesus and Paul that the “innocent party” in adultery, abuse, abandonment, etc. may not remarry while the spouse of their youth lives, no matter how humanistically unfair that seems.    We also admire his humility shown above in admitting, in response to a woman who wrote and challenged him,  that there are really no scriptural texts counseling people to remain in a non-covenant marriage sinfully entered while having a living, estranged spouse.    What we don’t admire is his ignoring several more relevant passages that make it abundantly clear that exiting those unions in repentance is precisely what disciples of Jesus Christ should and must do.

What’s wrong with the “support” Dr. Piper gives to argue for remaining in the ongoing state of serial polygamy, in light of the repeated warnings that no unrepented adulterer has any inheritance in the kingdom of God?     Let’s take a look:

Piper:
1) In Joshua 9 there is the story of the Gibeonites who, you may remember, hear about Joshua and the Israelites destroying cities, and they don’t want to be destroyed. So, they know they are going to be next on the list of destruction, so they pretend to be from a far away country, they lie to Joshua, and they get him to promise that he will not kill them, because they are not in his territory. And Joshua makes a vow and swears to them before God that he won’t kill them. And then he finds out that they were lying to him. And it says in Joshua 9:19, “All the leaders said to all the congregation, ‘We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.’”     There are two reasons why they shouldn’t have entered this vow. One is because the Gibeonites were lying to them and, two, is because it says explicitly that they did not consult God — and God explicitly intended for the Gibeonites to be destroyed (see Joshua 9:14, 24). And now they are keeping the vow they never should have made under horrible circumstances, thus, elevating the importance of promise-keeping or vow-keeping even when it was entered into wrongfully. And I am saying that perhaps suggests — I think it does suggest — that a vow you make to a person to be their husband or their wife till death do you part is not something to be taken lightly.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   From the beginning, Dr. Piper’s inference with regard to the binding nature of vows starts from a biblically-invalid presumption:  that man’s divorce unjoins the one-flesh entity (“sarx mia“) which God’s hand instantaneously and supernaturally creates upon the exchange of valid vows.    Dr. Piper presumes that an act of man rather than the death of one of the spouses breaks the prior covenant.   God’s word does not say that.   God’s word says that only God can unjoin what He has joined, “what therefore God has joined, let NO MAN separate.” – Matt. 19:6, Mark 10:8-9.   God’s word says that God covenants with that entity, unconditionally and irrevocably.   – Mal. 2:14; Num. 23:19.   God’s word says twice that only death releases the partners from their marriage bond. – Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39.

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.  Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?   –  Ecclesiastes 5:4-6

That being the case, if a prior vow to God, with which He still covenants, cannot be fulfilled due a subsequent vow which a party had no capacity to make without condemning himself or herself to hell in fulfilling it, is it not a false vow?

Another reason that Dr. Piper’s “possession is 9/10ths of the law” human logic fails is that a Barna Group survey in 1990 determined that some ninety percent of the divorces with remarriage occurring in the U.S. church occurred after the parties professed Christ.   Hence, they had every opportunity to know what God’s word says about remarriage after divorce but they proceeded anyway, with Barna Group also measuring and  reporting the serial repeat rate.   Is this not mocking God by putting Him to the test?    Moses, too, stumbled when he tried to “manage” sin instead of eradicating it, and he was therefore rebuked by Jesus….”but I say unto you…from the beginning IT WAS NOT SO!” –  Matt.19:8

PreachRom7_3

Getting back to the Gibeonites,  suppose another pagan group also deceived or bribed the descendants of Joshua and company into subsequently vowing to kill the Gibeonites,  but they later discovered a scroll with the original vow.    Would that subsequent vow be binding on them, simply because it was spoken?  

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the Lord. And the Lord said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”  So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).  Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?”   –  2 Samuel 21:1-3

 

Piper:
2) Jesus talked to the woman at the well in terms that suggest pretty strongly that he believed she had five genuine husbands and one non-genuine live-in. He put it like this: “Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true’” (John 4:16–18).

Now, think about that. What does that imply?

It is true that the Greek — that includes this text here — does not have a different word for husband and man or husband and male. So, it could be translated: You have had five men and the man you now have is not your man. But even if you translate it that way, it doesn’t make sense unless you distinguish this sixth man from those other five in some way, because he says: This is not your man. Those were your men. This is not your man. This is not your husband. Those were your husbands. What was the difference? Well, the only thing I know to suggest is that they had somehow formalized the relationship in a ceremony in which they took some promises to create the relationship that was known as marriage — or husband and wife. So, it seems Jesus put some stock in calling those five men real husbands different from five live-in boyfriends that she never married.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   Oooh, just let me at this one!    What does that imply, Dr. Piper?    It implies that she was shacking up after the unilateral divorce system entrenched in Mosaic law up to that point  (which Jesus was poised to abrogate on many topics, including the sanctity of marriage) tossed this woman around like last week’s garbage.
We have previously blogged on What about That Samaritan Woman?”    First of all, kudos to Dr. Piper for being honest enough to admit that the meaning of the Greek “andra / andros ”   is fluid enough to range from God-joined one-flesh husband to her “old man” (shack-up partner), one of several other points we make in our blog.    Many a theologian we’ve read aren’t anywhere near as transparent when it comes to the various partners of this chick and how the language could have applied to each.    We’ve already shown where Jesus has rebuked and slammed as adultery various situations (for example, among the Pharisees) where the serial polygamists “somehow formalized the relationship in a ceremony in which they took some promises to create the relationship that was known as marriage”.

Okay, then, suppose Jesus walked in today on Justice Ginsburg or Vice President Joe Biden or  Rev. T.D. Jakes presiding over a legal civil wedding between two men.   Are they not repeating vows?   Are they not repeating vows that if fulfilled, “til death do us part”,  will cost them their souls and their inheritance in the kingdom of God?    Does God’s hand create sarx mia at that particular ceremony?   Are those vows to continue in a lifelong state of sodomy, therefore. “binding”?

 

3) Here is the third one. Interestingly enough, I was talking this over with all the team of the Together for the Gospel guys, and I won’t say who said it, but one of them, I thought, very provocatively pointed this out: Jesus does use the verb marry for what they should not do and do when he is forbidding them from doing it. Let me show you what I mean. “Whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32).

PiperBlogPic

He doesn’t say whoever presumably marries or tries to marry. He says marries. He doesn’t say presumes to marry or tries to marry — as if, yes, this is a real marriage being created. It should not be created and it is like committing adultery when you enter it. He says a similar kind of thing in Mark 10:11–12. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

So, if Jesus is willing to call wrongfully entered relationships marriages, then it seems to me that we should hold people to the expectations of holiness and permanence implied in the word marriage, till death do us part. I take the warning that remarriage involves adultery, “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery,” not to mean that sexual relations in a wrongfully entered relationship can never be sanctified through repentance and forgiveness, but rather that an unholy relationship involves unholy sex until that relationship is newly consecrated to God through repentance and forgiveness. That relationship remains tainted at every level.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   We’ve already dealt with the supernatural difference between God-joined covenant unions and all other types of unions legal under man’s amoral laws, but illegitimate under God’s law.   The other kind of joining is discussed by Paul in 1 Cor. 6:16, where it is contrasted with sarx mia.   It is called hen soma (one body), the carnal joining by the devices of man and only the inflicted, unwillful presence of God.   It is not only severable by men, it must be severed for the sake of holiness without which no man will see God.   It is not something God’s holy nature would ever covenant with (even on a “time-evolved” or “grandfathered” basis), because that means forsaking the prior covenant.    As Basil the Great said in A.D. 375,  “The man who has deserted his wife and goes to another is himself an adulterer because he makes her commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress because she has caused another woman’s husband to come over to her…the woman who lives with an adulterer is an adulteress the whole time.”   – Amphilochius 199 (a)

 

[‘….as if, yes, this is a real marriage being created. It should not be created and it is like committing adultery when you enter it. “]

Dr. Piper, surely you know that Jesus never said entering an unlawful marriage was “like” committing adultery!   Jesus very forcefully stated on three separate occasions, each recorded by two different authors using the same present indicative verb tense in the Greek,  that marrying someone who has a living prior spouse is entering into an ongoing state of adultery.   Once again, to your credit, Dr. Piper, you stop short of resorting to the intellectual dishonesty of claiming this is a one-time act, as so many of your peers consistently do, but in light of all the points made above, we must still take strong biblical exception to your next statement….

I take the warning that remarriage involves adultery, “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery,” not to mean that sexual relations in a wrongfully entered relationship can never be sanctified through repentance and forgiveness, but rather that an unholy relationship involves unholy sex until that relationship is newly consecrated to God through repentance and forgiveness.

May we ask what other soul-forfeiting, ongoing state of sin mentioned in Paul’s two “lists” – 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21, may be forgiven and continued?    Will the unholy sex between the two civilly married “husbands” be “consecrated to God” through agreeing with God that it was wrong and repenting in their hearts (but not severing the relationship)?    That one shares the lists but isn’t mentioned as early in the lineup, or talked about nearly so much by  both Jesus and Paul as the heterosexual counterfeit for holy matrimony.    From this last point, may we then simply infer, as the gay apologists would like, that just because Jesus didn’t say “whoever ‘marries’ ,  ‘presumably marries’  or ‘tries to marry’ someone of the same sex enters an ongoing state of sodomy…”   that the partners may remain in that relationship and hope to “sanctify” it contrary to Paul’s repeated warnings?   How is either abomination “honoring God”?

May we ask, what does God’s word actually say about the modern day idol of sexual autonomy?

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.   – Hebrews 10:26-28

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?   For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,“I will dwell in them and walk among themAnd I will be their God, and they shall be My people  “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.  – 2 Cor. 6:15-17

We love what faithful shepherd and marriage warrior, Dr. Joseph Webb of Christian Principles Restored Ministries says, “no sin ever yet died of old age.”

4) One last thought. If this seems strange that a prohibited relationship can become a consecrated and holy one, consider the example — and there are several in the Bible — of the kingship of Israel. The people came to Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:6–7 and said, “‘Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.’” And yet, in spite of this evil origin of this new relationship of king and people and God, God made the kingship an integral part of his plan for Jesus to come as the King of kings and Lord of lords and as the Son of David.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   Now we’re really grasping, and it’s a really good thing this piece is wrapping up, at least from the defense of “sanctified” serial polygamy side!   An old Sesame Street thinking exercise (and tune) seems really apropos here.   “One these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.   If you guessed this thing  is not like the others, you’re absolutely right!”    Without the imperative recognition of God’s role in creating and covenanting with an inseverable one-flesh entity, there’s no way to detect that holy matrimony is not like the others.   It is distinct from everything else and cannot be replicated by men, ever.

That said, we can now get to the more obvious flaw in Dr. Piper’s reasoning:  in the clamor for a king over Israel and its resigned fulfillment by the Most High, there certainly was a relationship of evil origin, but there was no new vow, (at least not until the time of David)!   

Among the overlooked biblical examples that are, in our view,  a much more reliable biblical basis for discussing this topic of penitently departing an unlawful civil-only marriage, that do not support Dr. Piper’s position:

(1) Ezra, chapters 9 and 10.   Israel and Judah were ending their 70-year exile from the sacking of Jerusalem after both nations turned away from God, became idolatrous and greedy and made a polygamous mockery of holy matrimony.    God had given unmerited favor in the restoration of circumstances that had allowed the rebuilding of the temple and the wall, but had one more requirement before He would restore their sovereignty as a nation.    Beginning with the disobedient priests, they must purge their nation of unlawful marriages, even where there were children.    Concurrent polygamy still prevailed in Israel, so in many cases the foreign wives were not the covenant wife, hence there was no one-flesh entity.   These dependents were provided for and the relationships were severed.   There was no “repenting in their hearts” that was going to appease God or “consecrate” those unions that His hand never joined.

Although many try to misuse this passage as their proof-text that God allows Christians to drag their unsaved spouses into a pagan court (1 Cor. 6:1-8 and 1 Cor. 7:12-14 notwithstanding) in order to financially and spiritually abandon them with society’s and the church’s approval so as not to be “unequally yoked”,  the correct analogy is to the inherent unlawfulness of any subsequent union under God’s clearly-stated law while the true spouse remains alive.   (Obvious analogies can also be drawn to the current state of society and threat of foreign invasion in many western countries today where the indissolubility of holy matrimony has been steadily undermined since the Reformation, and most acutely in the U.S. in the last 50 years.)

(2) Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29.    The parallel accounts in two gospels of the beheading of John the Baptist for calling out the unlawful “marriage” of King Herod and his brother Philip’s wife Herodias after both had divorced their God-joined one-flesh (pagan) spouses and legalized their adultery under Mosaic law.    There’s a bit of irony in the fact that remarriage apologists dive for cover while miscasting the sin John was calling out as “incest”, for that acknowledges the unsevered (indeed, inseverable) one-flesh entity between Herodias and Philip, does it not?   John, clearly articulated that it was unlawful for Herod to have his brother’s wife.   This is after all the same civil paper was gathered to hide behind that we gather today.    In Matthew 11, Jesus forseeing John’s death, spoke the same words over John. as echoed in Luke 16, just before He said for the third time, “everyone who marries a divorced person is committing ongoing adultery.”   Jesus said of John:

“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.  For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (v. 11-15)

Luke 16:14-31.   This  sobering “truth sandwich” from Jesus, which the 16th chapter of Luke comprises, starts with a warning about preparing for hell if we are going to be in love with the world system and its unrighteous mammon.   In the middle is the commendation of John discussed above, then there was the scoffing by the Pharisees (who had become world-class serial polygamists now that Ezra had done away with concurrent polygamy), to whom Jesus responded:

“You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” (v 15)

Jesus then echoes His remarks about His cousin, John and the violence suffered in taking the kingdom of God by force, after which He makes HIs enigmatic and exceptionless statement about marrying another after divorcing from a covenant spouse creating an ongoing state of adultery, and immediately following this, He spends the next dozen verses graphically depicting hell.   Coincidence?
(Yes, Dr. Piper, we’d did just imply that if people in unlawful marriages don’t repent by exiting those unions while they still draw breath, they will perish in hell.  We think it’s reasonable to conclude that’s precisely what Jesus was saying here.)

Which brings us to a natural segue in considering the impact of Dr. Piper’s Calvinist background on his willingness to even consider the prospect of hell for a disobedient-to-apostate believer as they make fateful choices about marital holiness.   If you believe “once saved, always saved”,  and if you believe the “finished work of the cross” means Jesus died for all “past, present and future sins”, even a learned seminarian might be tempted toward the view of legalistically staying in a non-covenant union rather than go through the disruption, grief-giving and reputational damage of severing it to keep one’s true, undissolved covenant vow of holy matrimony.   If you don’t believe that remarriage adultery tends to take even believers to hell in pairs, why not counsel illicit couples to stay in their state of serial polygamy?    Why fight the civil laws that foster it, and why not sign immoral and intrusive civil marriage licenses as an agent of the state?

God keep our repenting prodigals away from the John Pipers of this world who are 99% correct in their theology, but the 1% they err in is the very difference between heaven and hell!   May the Holy Spirit speak louder than he.    Dr. Piper, outcome-wise, is just as dangerous as the thoroughly-heretical Dr. MacArthur to a prodigal trying to return to the Lord and trying to repent of his civilly-sanctioned  immorality.

 

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7 thoughts on “Dr. Piper’s Divorce, Remarriage, and Doing WHAT??”

  1. Well done. It is not very difficult to see the illogical and erroneous thoughts on this man, and you have done a great job of making any reader see the truth. Men like John Piper can twist the word all he wants to, but the fact is marriage is a one-flesh covenant created by God which can only end in death. Even though he appears to be 99% correct in understanding one-flesh covenant marriage, he is 100% wrong in his understanding of one-flesh covenant marriage. He is no different than any clergy who officiates same-sex marriage ceremonies and calls these “marriages in the Lord.”

  2. I think Piper has it SOMEWHAT right, but he leaves people scratching their head. He teaches that NOTHING dissolves a marriage joined by God—not divorce and not remarriage —only death.

    Since he will not answer the contradiction to his teaching, maybe someone can explain it. How is it that a marriage endures UNTIL death(and that is what he teaches) and it also be ok to remain with another person? Does Mr. Piper believe in polygamy? Is that how he views a second marriage contracted while one has a living spouse?

    I find it interesting when someone teaches that a remarried person can never go back to their covenant spouse (speaking of Deut. 24:4), but they say Deut. 24:1 is no longer permissible/applicable. Can’t quite figure that one out. For one, it was written for the nation of Israel and as far as I’m concerned I am a Gentile believer. I do know of a lawyer who has a radio ministry that believes second unions are adulterous and that they need to forsake such unions, but…………..then he says such persons cannot return to their original mate. How does that work? One is bound for life to another, but they can’t be together? Piper has the same problem, only larger, because Piper teaches that people can stay in these adulterous unions due to God’s grace————–but don’t forget, he too uses Rom. 7:2-3 to say that marriage is LIFELONG and only DEATH severs the bond of marriage.

    You do understand that John Piper teaches the exception clause is NOT adultery, but pre-marital relations during the betrothal period, right? Piper does not believe adultery allows for a remarriage to take place. He teaches Rom. 7:2-3 in regards to the permanency of marriage.

    However, when it comes to actually dealing with those who have divorced and remarried, he contradicts all he has previously taught on the nature of repentance and his belief of the permanency of marriage. His end note nullifies all the previous things he has taught are truth. The fact to me, that he will not partake in the marriage of divorced persons, yet will stand arm and arm with those in leadership he believes are sinning by taking part of such unions, shows the compromised stance he takes. It seems he thinks as long as his own hands are not “bloodied”, he is ok. I’d like to ask him, at what point AFTER the remarriage, does he then think this couple is ok? And, what does he then believe about the original marriage which he teaches endures until the death of one of the ones God joined together?

    I hope that for Pastor Piper. I pray the Lord would show him his error in teaching that one who is “remaining unmarried” must remain unmarried because they are in covenant, yet the “remarried” who committed adultery by remarrying is A-OK. They can be in two different covenants while the first spouse lives, but the other spouse who remained faithful cannot. He is teaching a form of polygamy………..a very strange form of polygamy where one spouse is tied to the bond of marriage til death, yet the other one can have two or more spouses. It is a very strange teaching indeed.

  3. Dr. Piper, like so many others, fears the opinions of men more than he fears the wrath of God on the church. No doubt, the truthful 98 or 99% of what he teaches accurately has earned him the same degree of backlash that, say, a Dr. Joseph Webb experiences. No doubt he deeply fears what’s going to happen when real revival breaks out, and as a result, thousands of prodigals wake up to their hellbound condition of living in sin with someone else’s spouse. That’s going to be chaotic for the church leaders who created the mess with every adulterous wedding they performed and every “Divorce Care” class they sponsored.

    As insightful as Dr. Piper can be, he doesn’t actually understand the supernatural, instantaneous and exclusive nature of God-joining – synezeuxen συνέζευξεν resulting in sarx σὰρξ mia μία (one flesh). That’s how he can erroneously deem an adulterous remarriage as morally-equivalent to holy matrimony, once undertaken.

    Finally, as a Calvinist, Dr. Piper no doubt has a hard time believing that any born-again person can lose their salvation and go to hell if they die in certain sins. As Paul rightly said, “every other sin that a man commits is outside his body, but a man who sins sexually sins against his own body.” There’s raging spiritual warfare, evil soul-ties and demonic strongholds entailed in ongoing adultery, including the church-“sanctified” variety. Dr. Piper has a barrier to grasping that.

    1. Hello,

      I was encouraged to find your blog because I have had difficulty locating believers who hold to the same interpretation of the “adultery/divorce/remarriage” Scriptures I recently received revelation on. I have many questions I am hoping you would be willing to take the time to respond to.

      Can you please comment more directly on what you’ve mentioned as “concurrent polygamy” and how this relates to Jesus, as our Law-Giver, redefining the moral bar when it comes to adultery? There is an adamant but growing Christian minority teaching that a man can avoid adultery if he avoids divorce and instead engages in concurrent polygamy (also known as “polyfidelity” with the other (unmarried) woman. These advocates of “Christian polygamy” suggest that since polygamy was regulated in the Law and practiced under the Old Covenant, and David or other biblical figures were never rebuked (with the one exception of David’s sin of taking an already married woman as a wife), that God condones such behaviour. It is acknowledged that it isn’t His “perfect” will as seen at the Creation but, they say, since the only time the number of wives ever specifically comes up in the New Testament is when it is addressed to those who wish to be in church leadership positions, then this state can be contrasted with God’s “perfect” will and understood as falling within His “good” or “acceptable” will mentioned in Romans. Jesus must not view polygamy as adultery, they claim, except in the case of putting away the first spouse before making and consummating a covenant with the second. I am eager to hear your thoughts on such positions.

      My understanding is that Mark 10:11 shows our Law-Giver explaining that He does not even acknowledge divorce and thus “remarriages” are ACTUALLY in fact polygamous relationships because in God’s eyes the man is still married to his first wife regardless of what state and church may say. The admonishment then, if God doesn’t recognize divorce or gender in the issue, would sound something like this “If any married person marries another person while their first spouse still lives, they commit adultery against their first spouse.” With the Master granting us this new understanding we must see that any union, even a legal civil or church-sanctioned one, that joins a man to another woman while his first wife is still alive is polygamy and Jesus is carte blanche explaining that Elohim judges such a relationship as adultery. In God’s eyes then, there is no difference between
      (A) if the man continued to maintain a marriage relationship with his first wife while concurrently having a marriage relationship with his second wife or his girlfriend/concubine (in the case of those in countries where bigamy is illegal and a marriage license is impossible to legally obtain) or
      (B) if that same man abandoned his relationship with his first wife and while she still lived he carried on a marriage relationship with his second wife.

      Logical inferencing and consideration of Jesus’ words in Mark 10 show that God sees no difference – both cases are polygamy, and under the Messianic Covenant established upon the words of the Master in the Gospels, polygamy in ANY form whether concurrent/consensual or serial, is actually now adultery.

      I would love to hear more about whether and how hermeneutics supports this understanding.

      Also, in the case of Ezra 9-10, can you share your sources that would support that these men had not only sinned by marrying Gentile women but that these were also concurrent polygamous marriages? Furthermore, some proponents of concurrent Christian polygamy claim that Ezra himself had two wives (https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/06/05/why-polygamy-is-not-unbiblical-part-1/) which seems strange if he abolished concurrent polygamy. Can you please share your source that chapters 9-10 abolished polygamous practices in Jewish history, both with foreign and with Jewish wives thus leading to the Pharisees in Jesus’ day being well-versed in “serial polygamy” instead?

      Sorry for the long response! I hope you receive this message since it’s been a few months since the last comment. Thank you very much for these posts and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

  4. Thank you, Jan, for taking time to read this blog and to reflect on it so deeply as you have. We cannot possibly respond to all your questions here without writing another blog, especially the twin (and conflicting) perversions of the so-called “Torah Observance” or “Hebrew Roots” movement. This has been on our radar screen for a while, and that brand of ear-ticking is gaining some unfortunate traction among wounded people, so please stay tuned until we can do the subject direct justice. In the meantime, please know that we have dealt with this topic indirectly in several past blogs. Please use the robust SEARCH box, right above Recent Posts to locate them. One in particular we think you will find helpful is “God’s Character and His Covenants”:
    http://www.standerinfamilycourt.com/?p=2510

    Apologies for not linking in the source for the decline in the practice of concurrent polygamy (noting that an official edict for this did not come until Rabbi Gershom in the A.D.). We first used it in an earlier blog last year, and are unable to bring it up now, but it was from the blog of a contemporary rabbi.

    1. Sorry, make that 10th century A.D. (And did you notice that the source you linked did not include any references from history or scripture for their claims about Ezra and Hosea?)

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