The Gospel According to David Servant (versus We of the “Divine Divorce Doctrine”) – Part 2

DServant2by Standerinfamilycourt

“…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.   For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
– 2 Timothy 4:2-4

I’m Living in an Ongoing State of Legalized Adultery with Somebody Else’s Spouse.   Can I Get Away With It?

We continue with our response to Part 2 of a three-part blog series  written by David Servant which denies that all non-widowed remarriage is, as Jesus repeatedly stated it was, an ongoing state of adultery which needs to be renounced to gain or recover one’s inheritance in the kingdom of God.     Our response to Part 1 of this series can be read on this link.     We find ourselves rejoicing that this post is only about half the length of installment 1, especially when we see that the first couple of paragraphs amount to nothing but demonizing ad hominem and substanceless sarcasm.

Our serial polygamy apologist makes this statement, after crowing for bit about how many folks have lined up to be told what their itching ears long to hear,

“There is, of course, a diversity of opinion within the body of Christ regarding divorce and remarriage, but Divine Divorce Proponents (or the “Marriage Permanence Community” as they refer to themselves) are definitely on the fringes.”

Indeed,  due to the carnality of so-called “Christians” and the torrent of false conversions in the body of Christ, there is quite a diversity of opinion,  but there remains only one redeemed path to the kingdom of God.    I defy Mr. Servant to name one Old or New Testament saint who wasn’t “on the fringes”, as indicated by their jailings, beatings, beheadings, crucifixions, etc.     There should not be this “diversity of opinion” nor any pridefulness  in it.   Servant’s boasting is not good.  Pastors should encourage Christ-following, not self-worship.    Jesus said, once the salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing except to be trampled under foot.     

The Comforter of the Covetous continues,

“The narrow way is apparently much narrower than most of us have ever imagined. And hundreds of thousands of professing Christian married couples are going to be very surprised when God casts them into hell for keeping their marriage vows…”

David, you’re not paying attention!   The reason there’s an issue in the first place is that at least one of those “maligned” parties isn’t keeping their marriage vows to their true spouse, and in a lot of cases, its both of them.   It doesn’t matter what they “profess” if they ignore God’s word and mock the blood of Jesus with the conduct their very lives.   And yes, because only a faithful handful of the saints are telling them the truth (and those don’t tend to run multi-million dollar mega media ministries), these people are going to be VERY surprised when they find themselves in hell as Paul warns (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4), and as Jesus warns (Matt. 5:27-32 and Luke 16:18-31).    Hellbound, unless they repent, for that matter, are their false shepherds who knew what God’s word plainly says, but still discounted it, and who made humanistic excuses while they went right on misusing the Lord’s name to perform vain acts,  namely, solemnizing adulterous weddings.   And yes, Jesus made it very clear that the teeming millions would be on the broad path leading to destruction, while only a few would find (or even be attracted to) the narrow path.    Following  blind guides almost guarantees this, unless here and there, the Holy Spirit convicts a person to listen to the dissenting minority voice long enough to be persuaded to do their own research.   The narrow way has at no time in history been any narrower than God’s word, and specifically no narrower than the words of Christ and Paul explicitly state.

As before, it’s necessary to cut through a whole bunch of myopic, self-serving Servant rhetoric.    Which isn’t difficult at all….

During conversations with Divine Divorce Proponents, I’ve actually wondered if I’m on Candid Camera. The conversations seem unreal. I can hardly believe I’m having a discussion with professing Christians who advocate that hundreds of thousands of Christian couples should divorce. Here is what one of them recently wrote in response to my claim that God hates divorce (as God Himself said in Mal. 2:16):

‘God does not hate the divorce that is a repentance of adultery. God loves repentance. The angels rejoice. By not being on the right side, you are labelling what God loves (repentance), as what God hates, you make yourself an enemy of the cross. Christianity calls for self denial and loving the truth even when it hurts. There are many who have a ticket to hell because they have remarried into adultery. Their destiny will only change if the adultery by remarriage comes to an end. Abandoning such adultery is an act of repentance, which God loves, not hates.’

“So, they claim, God sometimes loves it when Christians divorce and families are divided. In fact, the angels rejoice when Christians—who have been previously divorced—divorce again. Those who don’t agree with this view are “enemies of the cross.” One zealous Divine Divorce Proponent believes that great revival would come to America if all the Christians who have been previously married and divorced would divorce again.

“Divine Divorce Proponents actually believe that a person could be a believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense, even one who spends decades as a missionary to a remote region in an impoverished nation, but if that person dies in the state of being married a second time while his or her original spouse is still alive, that person will be cast into hell. Stranger still, if their original spouse dies one second before they die, they will go to heaven, as the death of their former spouse will release them from their “adulterous marriage.” If you are a divorced and remarried Christian, you not only need Jesus’ death to inherit eternal life. You also need the death of your original spouse at least one second before you die.”

As discussed in the previous blog, Servant rejects the authority and most especially, the application, of what Jesus stated in Matthew 19:6 and 8:

“So they are no longer [never again – by the present-indicative verb tense] two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let NO MAN separate…He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not [ever – by the perfect indicative verb tense] been this way.”

We shouldn’t take Christ’s words so literally, Servant says.   After all, He said a thing or two that were clearly hyperbolic,  that He didn’t actually mean to be applied, especially to our own lives.  That reduces what sounds like a commandment to any reasonable person, to merely a “design”, an “ideal”, a “purpose”, or “God’s best”  – a target that it’s OK to miss, in other words.    It’s easy to see how someone who denies that Jesus meant that a one-flesh (sarx mia, as contrasted with the hen soma referred to in 1 Cor. 6:16) entity, never again to be seen by God as two,  is supernaturally created by God’s hand as an essential element of holy matrimony….would therefore find it that much easier to also deny the three separate times Jesus flatly stated that any third party “marrying” the God-joined spouse of another living person under immoral civil laws, was REALLY entering into a state of ongoing adultery.      It would explain why Servant  would presume to think that God can be removed from that original unconditional covenant, and not only that, but why a holy God would turn right around and participate in a second purported covenant that by its very nature repudiates the first one.

Our guess is that David Servant rails against other non-marriages that are civilly legal, but does not cry in his (root) beer when those purported “spouses” legally and physically sever when coming to Christ, and as a consequence of repentence, those “families” are broken up.    You see, there’s repentance and there’s repentance.     Socially acceptable “Christian” sin isn’t supposed to be covered under 1 Cor. 6: 9-10, we hear.   We must make a distinction between adultery and adultery-lite, the purported “one-time act”, Servant tells us.   Heck, most contemporary English bible translations these days don’t even list adultery in Galatians 5:19-21 (even though the original manuscripts did), so the legalized variety “can’t” be all that soul-destroying.    “Christian” sin is different from unchurched sin, apparently, especially when legalized adulterers volunteer on every church project they can, and they give profusely out of their gratitude for the “grace” they’ve received.    Our guess is that a lesbian pair, if admitted as such to a grace-filled church, would give and serve even more than the heterosexuals, and the children of that “family” would suffer just as much initial emotional pain if their parents repented of the illicit union it is built upon.

We pointed out last time that divorce is an entirely manmade construct that is not only immoral, but equally impossible.…unless you reject outright what Christ said in Matthew 19:5-6, and 8 (the straightforward meaning of which Servant has stated in this blog series that he does indeed reject).   Servant insists that divorce is a provision from God for “hard-heartedness”, and claims that Jesus endorsed it for “sexual immorality”.    The preponderance of hard, objective biblical and historical evidence shows otherwise.

Hence, contrary to the emotional appeal above, the God-joined couple is only “divorced” in men’s eyes, and the subsequent faux couple is only “married” in men’s eyes.    Jesus would have no other basis for stating on three separate occasions, “EVERYONE who marries one who has been put away enters into an ongoing state of adultery.”     Paul would have no other basis for stating at least twice in his epistles, “So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.”  On the testimony of two witnesses, a fact is established.     Servant’s alibis cannot hold together based on scripture, so he has no choice but to twist scripture and appeal to emotions.     He behaves just like the legalized sodomy advocates in the harlot church do.

We demonstrated in the last rebuttal that the context of Malachi 2 is such that the cherry-picked verse 2:16, “God hates divorce” cannot be applied to the same sort of adulterous remarriage it is actually rebuking.   It would have been better if the spokesperson for marriage indissolubility whom he is taking to task had taken the time to point this out (and perhaps they did, but this part wasn’t quoted), nonetheless, it seems that anyone who runs a ministry, writes books, does recordings, and presumes to teach others, would at least do an honest enough reading of Malachi 2 to discern this for himself.   It’s not that hard.

“One zealous Divine Divorce Proponent believes that great revival would come to America if all the Christians who have been previously married and divorced would divorce again.”       This assertion sounds a bit misquoted.   Rather than mass repentance bringing on true revival, the enormous fear of today’s false shepherds is that the evangelical excesses of the past 50 years will be exposed and undone as a result of true revival, and the present trickle of repenting prodigals severing themselves from their adulterous unions will become a flood.    God’s mercy is such that it would have to be this way, but one who does not believe that this sin is sending millions to hell would never see it that way.    That fear, we would argue, is the core motivation behind this blog series we are rebutting.    The fact is, that no matter how many blogs are written on either side of the issue,  revival is in God’s hands, and no human force will stop what Servant fears.   A man whose record is clean (or repented) and whose confidence is in the Lord does not fear such purifying moves of God.

“Divine Divorce Proponents actually believe that a person could be a believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense, even one who spends decades as a missionary to a remote region in an impoverished nation, but if that person dies in the state of being married a second time while his or her original spouse is still alive, that person will be cast into hell.”

On the contrary, we scurrilous “DDD-ers” actually believe that such a person (“believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense”), when confronted with God’s true and plain word on this for the spin-less first time, has a heart to study it deeply for themselves, and has a heart for the eternal souls of everyone around them, including the faux spouse and watching family members.   We also point out that some people who spend decades on the mission field are not necessarily disciples of Christ.  Some words of Jesus quickly come to mind here (probably “hyperbole” which can therefore be safely ignored):

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?   Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:   he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.   But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
(Matthew 7:21-23;  Luke 6:46-50)

The kingdom of God is a place where the King is OBEYED.

SERVANT:  “If you are a divorced and remarried Christian, you not only need Jesus’ death to inherit eternal life. You also need the death of your original spouse at least one second before you die.”

This little sarcastic dart almost does not merit acknowledgment because it shows so little fear of God.    However, there is a substantive misconception to be addressed for the benefit of the readers.     People occasionally contact our pages saying their original covenant spouse has died while they were in their remarriage.    They still don’t have peace, and they want to be right with God.    We always ask them if they’ve fully confessed their remarriage as being the  ongoing state of sin that it is, and a misrepresentation of Christ’s role as the Bridegroom before a watching world.   Quite often, they have even more to confess, even as church-goers, such as adulterous cohabitation before they legalized.  This confession must come from a chastened heart, which is not possible if they have believed a false shepherd who tells them the things that Servant tells them, especially the prevalent falsehood that Christ’s blood “covers” unrepented, ongoing sin.     It is the Holy Spirit who leads them to our pages if they are indeed born again, and they will say something like, “well, I’m seeing that it was wrong, but no, I haven’t been on my face before God.”    It’s important to understand that only sin confessed as sin, and then repudiated and ceased is forgiven.    Furthermore,  they are only coming to realize at that point that entering into a marriage Jesus called adulterous represents a decision to live in permanent unforgiveness and irreconciliation toward their sole and exclusive one-flesh.     Jesus made it plain that living in a state of ongoing unforgiveness sends a person to hell just as surely as living in a state of papered-over legalized adultery.     This, too, must be confessed and renounced even if it only comes after the death of that one-flesh, whom their own sinful attitude and example may have caused to die in legalized adultery.   Jesus said that the man who divorces his wife after consummation of the marriage (that is, all Gentile believers who do not practice kiddushin, Jewish betrothal) and marries another causes her to commit adultery.   Furthermore, they are not sarx mia with their current legal spouse until God makes them so, but only hen soma until then.   We advise that this requires new vows, and perhaps even a short separation for the sake of the watching children, as the previous (second) vow to repudiate the prior covenant vow with God and their true spouse was never valid in God’s sight.     One cannot validly vow to enter into and remain in a state of sin that will send them and others to hell if fulfilled.    Servant is here shamefully trivializing the process of repentance and restitution, and the facetious little anecdote he offered up next, suggesting murder as the perfect solution, couldn’t possibly indict him more as a mocker of God.   Woe to him if he does not repent on his face!

“Naturally, the churches and denominations that embrace Divine Divorce Doctrine do not admit into their membership anyone who has been previously divorced and remarried. Such folks who do seek membership are told that they must separate/divorce until their original spouse is dead. Obviously understanding what an awkward and dangerous thing it is to demand that people divorce to qualify for membership, it is interesting to read the attempts by Divine Divorce Churches to soften their official doctrinal positions. For example, the doctrinal positon of the Southeastern Mennonite Conference reads, “While the final decision to separate from an adulterous relationship [marriage] would be voluntary, God requires it for reconciliation to Him.” Translation: “Although it may seem that we require divorced and remarried people to separate in order to join us, in order to avoid lawsuits from people whom our new members divorce, here is our disclaimer: We don’t force anyone to separate; we only inform them that they will go to hell if they don’t.”

Given the full discussion above, it should be amply obvious why it is sinful for any church to take an adulterously-wed couple in as a couple, and just as sinful to perform such weddings to the desecration of their sanctuary and egregious breach of the third commandment.   Kudos to the handful of churches  who love the Lord more than they love the filthy lucre that causes most churches to throw souls under the bus   Whited sepulchers, Jesus called them, full of dead men’s bones!    What does Mr. Servant do when Adam and Steve show up on his doorstep flashing their wedding rings?   Do they do as one church in the Nashville area does, and onboard the mortal sin right along with the sinners?   Or does he deem the homosexual souls more precious and worthy of being told the truth than the heterosexual souls?   The latter would be our guess, based on what he’s professed in this debate.   While reasonable precautions should be taken against lawsuits that would lead to bad stewardship of resources, at the end of the day, ministries of God must not cower in fear of man’s lawsuits where eternal souls are on the line!    It is our hope that these Mennonite churches are not taking in legalized adulterers or legalized sodomites until they have fully repented.   Upholding the no-excuses sanctity of authentic holy matrimony typically isn’t a denomination thing.    There are liberal and conservative wings to denominations like the Mennonites and the Church of Christ.    There are individual Baptist, Congregational, Word of God churches and individual churches in other denominations, a small but growing number, whose God-fearing pastor  “goes rogue” in the eyes of the Pharasaical denominational establishment to be fully loyal to Spirit of God in this matter, taking the flak as necessary.   We’d love to have a comprehensive directory of them to hand out to longsuffering covenant marriage standers and repenting prodigals who find themselves without a church due to their courageous walks.    By contrast, we have megachurches bursting at the seams with people who were persuaded by the hucksters that they could come to Christ on their own terms.

Servant staggers off next into the very typical “look who agrees with me” argument.    He cites a 1990 book, Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views.     Did Jesus have four different views on this (or any) topic?   Believe it or not, there are still Spirit-led seminarians and scholars who publicly remind us of the uncompromised biblical view, even if it sometimes costs them their job.    Dr. Gordon Wenham, the late Dr. Leslie McFall, Dr. Wibur Pickering, Drs. John K Tarwater and David W. Jones, Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, to name just a few.   Come Judgment Day, the only valid question is, “who agrees with Jesus?”   The surest way to detect a counterfeit anything is to hold it up to the genuine article.

Servant trudges on:   “As you might imagine, Divine Divorce Doctrine is attractive to professing Christians who want out of their current, subsequent marriages. If they’ve been previously married and divorced, Divine Divorce Doctrine gives them the justification they need to, once again, break their marriage vows. Obviously, breaking one’s marriage vows makes one a liar, and one would think that Divine Divorce Proponents would be just as concerned that Scripture warns that all liars will end up in “the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:6) as they are that Scripture warns that no adulterer will inherit God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

“Obviously, if after a “divine divorce,” a Divine Divorce Proponent were to remarry yet another time prior to the death of his original spouse, that would indicate that he no longer believes his doctrine (or perhaps really didn’t believe it in the first place, but only utilized it to escape his previous marriage).

As we clarified in the first rebuttal, the only “divine divorce” (a purifying severance and sending away, rather than a trip through “family court”) is recorded in Ezra, chapters 9 and 10.    Believers are expressly forbidden by 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 from availing themselves of family court to “dissolve” a covenant marriage, which union actually constitutes a mini-church, whether or not there’s an unsaved spouse.   All divorce is manmade and cannot be termed as “divine” under any circumstances.   However, if immoral manmade laws got us into sin, it may be practical to use immoral manmade laws to get us out of sin, provided we are not availing ourselves of the unconstitutional aspects of those laws by forcing a petition on a counterfeit spouse we should not have “married”, rather than prayerful mutual consent and agreed petition, with permanent separation in the meantime.

There might be some limited, occasional truth to this charge of Servant’s that some might abuse the one-flesh and covenant principles to terminate an adulterous “marriage” on false pretenses, but the freedom thereby obtained comes at a very steep price — celibacy, or reconciliation with their true spouse, which may be many years in the future.   Even so, it’s far better for both souls that they are out of it, and God can always bring the motives into alignment later, in the rare instance where that’s needed.  While not personally in this repented-prodigal situation, “standerinfamilycourt” has met dozens of saints who have divorced out of adulterous unions in obedience to Christ.    To date, and to the best of our knowledge, all but one or two have remained celibate for many years or decades, and even the ones who would be in a position to remarry with no fault biblically, because they have never been part of a one-flesh (sarx mia) entity, are still in no hurry to do so.   These saints abhor the thought of even the appearance of immorality and the example it would seem to set.  One such lady (and probably the one quoted above by Servant), after publishing her testimony, has lived for several years in near-poverty while devoting her life to the sort of high quality scholarship needed to be an effective conscience to the pastors and seminarians who are beginning to come to conviction on this matter.    To the best of our knowledge, even the few repenters who have married righteously for the first time have only married a never-married person or a widowed one.

We have already addressed the sticky topic of “breaking wedding vows”,  and would reiterate that an adulterer’s wedding vows are no more valid than a sodomite’s, which if fulfilled, will constitute a ticket to hell.    One the other hand, God has this to say to the one who would repudiate valid, eligible vows, civil laws notwithstanding:

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

Empty, false vows yank God’s chain, and repudiated first vows are wholly unacceptable in His sight.

Anyone who is already breaking the 1st, 7th, 8th and 10th commandments (self-worshipping idolatry, adultery, theft and coveting) is surely breaking the 9th (false witness) by representing that the God-joined one-flesh spouse of another living person is their own.   This is precisely why a mere 60 years ago, no God-fearing shepherd would have performed such a wedding, and why Paul states twice that nobody in this sinful state is fit for a pulpit or for church leadership, in addition to forfeiting their inheritance in the kingdom of God.

“Interestingly, I was introduced to Divine Divorce Doctrine through a Facebook debate regarding a formerly-faithful Divine Divorce Proponent who recently remarried and is now being shunned by the faithful. I suspect their ranks are full of defectors who come to terms with the post-divorce discovery that God has not given them a gift of celibacy and that Paul’s words, “it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor. 7:9) contain some relevancy.”

So, this last remark indicates that Servant has only heard of our community within the last three months, and is shooting from the hip without much worthy study, which requires some considerable time and digging due to the suppression of unfavorable early church history, translation fraud and fraudulent commentary in most contemporary English bible versions, failure of pastors to teach their congregations the sound principles of hermeneutics, and other severe moral compromises in both the evangelical and Roman Catholic churches.    Someone who comes out of remarriage adultery based on the conviction of its immorality and eternal destination typically takes at least a year to study the topic before taking life-altering action, which is only prudent and God-honoring.

“Standerinfamilycourt” has firsthand knowledge of the prodigal and apostate to whom Servant is referring in this remark about a defector “coming to terms” with his presumed right to sexual autonomy despite the fact that he is not widowed or eligible to “marry” the wife of another man who is still living .    The covenant marriage community is grieved that satan persuaded him to sell off his inheritance in the kingdom of God for his bowl of pottage, crushing the faith of his bewildered adolescent children.  He is a relatively young man whose covenant wife (whom he now appears to be slandering as “unsaved”, rather than backslidden) unilaterally divorced him to adulterously remarry.    He did not divorce from her willingly, and as I understand it, he stood for about four years before caving to the flesh and very recently “marrying” another man’s estranged wife.  He found his excuse in the deceitful rationalization that God does not join pagan and mixed-faith marriages, despite numerous OT and NT instances to the contrary, even though he has falsified the underlying facts about the soul-condition of his true one-flesh (unless she actually got saved first).   There are some other things to be observed over a period of time about this man.    He continues to be a highly legalistic person, chastising the saints for things that are clearly not heaven-or-hell matters, like celebrating Christmas and (the women) for not wearing a head covering, which can’t be a very beckoning-home thing for his true prodigal wife.    While he was for a season a very articulate spokesman for the indissolubility of covenant holy matrimony, and had thousands of followers, he still never seemed to express any public anguish for the soul of his one-flesh wife or for her eternal destination, which should be the main motivation for standing celibate for one’s covenant marriage for as long as restoration requires.    Such a brittle faith was sure to crumble under pressure, especially in a relatively recent convert.    This kind of thing will happen from time to time, and naturally, the godless finger points there instead of toward the dozens of others for each individual falling away, who have stood celibate for decades under the right heart motives.    Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth.

Celibacy is never an innate “gift” to someone who remains part of an inseverable one-flesh entity, wrongfully estranged.    That said, God equips us to our kingdom assignment if our heart remains right.    But inasmuch as Servant is again bastardizing scripture to prop up the false Lutheran claim to sexual entitlement, it’s time to shine the floodlight once more on Servant’s sloppy hermeneutics in citing 1 Corinthians 7:9 as justification for the unwidowed “divorced” (that is, the physically and legally estranged) to be controlled by their flesh instead of walking in compassion for their true one-flesh estranged spouse, in obedience to Christ.

Any responsible reading of 1 Corinthians 7 takes note of the fact that Paul runs through a sequence of instructions for various marital status groups in the church.    Irresponsible readings hijack the instructions intended for one group and try to suture it onto a group whom Paul was not addressing at that point.    Responsible bible scholars point out that there is a symmetry that holds throughout 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul rhythmically addresses the male and then the female in each group, as follows:

All parties:  verses 1-2.  The reference to “own” is crucial here,
Intact holy matrimony according to Matthew 19:4-6:  verses 3-6
– Widowers and widows – verses 7 – 9.  
Note that “unmarried” does not refer to anyone legally estranged here.  There was no Greek word for widowed male, so the word “unmarried” (here appearing in  plural male form) was the closest word of translation to English for “widower”.    Paul clearly did not believe that man’s divorce dissolved holy matrimony, but only death does.   It is unconscionable that most contemporary commentators omit mention of this fact, nevertheless, many clergy have discerned it.
Distressed, intact holy matrimony, especially due to unequal yoking (but not limited to that distress) verses 10 and 11
– Estranged holy matrimony
(which would include today’s “divorced” but not the illicitly “remarried”) verses 12-16
– Betrothed, never-marrieds,
referring to the Jewish custom of kiddushin, contracted betrothal where a bride-price has been paid and legal status of wife already conferred on the unconsummated bride – verses 25 – 28

Note that there are no verses addressing anyone as though they have a permanently severed marriage, other than widowed people.    Paul regarded the “divorced” as still married, translation issues notwithstanding.    Even when he refers to the estranged wife “remaining unmarried”, he uses the term agamois, which literally means “without a wedding” in the Greek.   Since fornication was also banned, the best translation is “remain celibate or be reconciled to her husband.”       

The rhythm pauses here for verses 17-24 while Paul addresses all, but discusses vocations and religious trappings applying to all groups in the same contexts as cited in the verses above.   For example, a married (intact or estranged) or widowed slave or Jew are called to remain in the state they are called, but this does not mean that they are to remain in an immoral state that prevailed when they were called.   A prostitute, pimp or pornographer is not to remain in that state just because they were called while in it.   Neither is a serial polygamist (unforgiver and covetous person), nor a “married” sodomite to remain in those states.     Note that the only two instances where Paul is giving explicit permission to remarry  is to widows and widowers, and to marry for the first time to (and among) the virgins (never married), not the civilly-divorced whose true marriages are undissolved by death.    In particular, verse 15 refers to being free to follow Christ – dedoulotai (root word: douloo),  a condition that existed both before and after any estrangement from the departure of a one-flesh spouse, not “free to remarry” (not at all mentioned) presumed just because the marriage bond dedotai (root word: deo) is imagined to be severed before death.    Servant would interpret verse 7:8-9 in a way that distorts both content and context, and in a way that is inconsistent with other clear scripture on the same topic, and finally he would interpret this verse in a manner that conflicts with the unanimous practice and teaching of the early church fathers.   Sloppy, biased hermeneutics here.

Servant next reiterates his highly inaccurate claims about the foundations of the biblical marriage “doctrine” (God’s word rightly divided).    Sound hermeneutics rest on Comparison and Consultation as two of the five essential principles of rightly dividing God’s word.    Hence, Servant’s  narrow list of just four purported scriptures he claims this “doctrine” is “proof-texted”,  and by his NIV-regurgitated commentary on them (whose publisher Zondervan is also the proud publisher of the Queen James Bible, we note, a firm which sees fit to keep the NIV “culturally relevant” every few years), Servant gives the truth of God a very short shrift.  This was covered in detail in Part 1 of our rebuttal.   Sound hermeneutics relate OT scriptures to their NT counterparts, also to culture and historical events that give scripture its context, to Pauline epistles, and prophetic illustrations that relate back to what Jesus said.  Observations and analysis are made on word usage patterns, comparing where words were and were not used, and analyzing on that basis whether contemporary translations are as accurate as they should be.   In general, we find they are not, and we would argue that the only reasonably reliable contemporary English NT translation on the market today is The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken,  by Dr. Wilbur Pickering, first released in 2013.    The rest of Servant’s commentary flows from his rejection of the clear statements of Jesus and Paul that original holy matrimony is indissoluble by any act of men other than death, and that everyone who purports to “marry” a civilly-divorced person enters into an ongoing state of adultery.     There is no reasonable response to this emotional manipulation except to say, “bunk”, and he’d better pay attention to the warned eternal outcomes of his theories.

Next, Servant claims that Moses set a standard that Jesus “endorsed”.   This is a clear distortion of the sermon on the mount.   Mosaic law was fine so long as animal sacrifices could be offered up on a daily basis as the means of atonement, and obedience to God’s commandments could be deferred on that basis, rather than coming from a heart of obedience.    Clearly, this was not a moral standard worthy of the kingdom of God in several matters we see illustrated in Matthew 5 and 6.   Under the New Covenant where every truly regenerated person is indwelt with the Holy Spirit, a Person who is God, it should be clear that we’re done with Moses as our likeable, lenient “sheriff”.     I do not intend to get into a major debate here over the additional misguided tomes that Servant has written on this Moses topic – Proverbs 10:19.    We either obey God from the heart under the power of the Holy Spirit, or we hide behind Moses as our excuse not to.   This should eliminate any speculation over some sort of New Covenant “allowance” being made for the hardness of our hearts.    All hard hearts fall outside the kingdom of God, including those that would take their own revenge instead of forgiving.   It’s pretty clear where Servant is coming down.     All the true Christ-follower needs to know here, is that when Jesus was challenged on the indissolubility of holy matrimony, He chose to talk about the best part of Moses’ authorship, Genesis 2:21-24.    He purposefully elected to contrast a higher moral law that was “from the beginning” to Deuteronomy 24:1-4  the obscure regulation that had been so often hijacked and misapplied by the unrighteous–to the destruction of many souls, and this hijacking wickedness continues today.   Once again, a key principle of biblical worksmanship is to interpret unclear scripture passages in a way that shows consistency with the clearest ones, and most especially those straight from the mouth of Jesus.   We don’t know for sure what the “indecency” of Deuteronomy 24 was, but we have several strong clues that point away from post-marital issues,  and toward a condition that existed  both before and after the nuptials.   Therefore it is invalid to use Deuteronomy 24 as an excuse not to forgive and reconcile with our true one-flesh, and release the counterfeit spouse to do the same.     As stated in Romans 7: 1-3, we died to that Old Covenant (our “ex”, now deceased),  and we are to please and obey our new Bridegroom now.

In case anyone missed the importance of rightly dividing the usage of verb tenses,  we have this case-in-point:

“Thus, if the adultery that Jesus said is committed by some divorce and remarriage is to be understood as literal, physical adultery, it can only occur a single time when the second marriage is consummated.”

Without exception, every time Jesus says that “marrying” another person while our God-joined one-flesh partner lives is entering into a state of ongoing adultery,  He used the present-indicative verb tense / mood,   According to the source,

“The present tense usually denotes continuous kind of action. It shows ‘action in progress’ or ‘a state of persistence.’ When used in the indicative mood, the present tense denotes action taking place or going on in the present time. “

There is no scholarly support whatsoever for the popular evangelical notion that this is a “one-time act”, since in not one single instance of His discussion is the word “commits” captured by the apostle-author in the aortist verb tense.    In fact, logically, if this were the case, Jesus was blathering and wasting His holy breath on the thrice-repeated warning, was He not?   If there was no eternal consequence for this sin of “marrying” someone else’s spouse, as Servant and many other contemporary cowards suggest without supportable basis, why would Jesus imply that there was?   Why even talk about an infraction that is past, futile and not actionable?

Servant appears to foresee this scholarly shortcoming:

“Once we’ve arrived at a harmonious, coherent interpretation of how our unchanging, gracious and loving God views and has always viewed divorce and remarriage, there is much less of a need to engage in hair-splitting debates over Greek nuances, historical suppositions, technical analyses of similar texts, and strained theories about the indissolubility of marriage.”

In other words, “Bah, hermeneutics, schmermeneutics!  Let’s revert back to humanistic reasoning and emotions.”     This is a man who knows that his work has no integrity, rather than a man with limited knowledge of the principles.

Servant goes on to conclude this installment by making the usual hypergrace claims that “it’s all good”,  and that this scripture warning from the book of Hebrews (like the ones on hard-heartedness which leads to falling away) has no application:

“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.   How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?   For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’   And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”   It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 10:26-29

Christian political commentator David French recently wrote an article asking Can America Survive as a Post-Christian Nation?   He’s recognizing that due to the flood of false converts who populate, and even lead, many of our churches, much of the problem actually warms the pews with their posteriors every week.   Far from following the model of church discipline Paul outlined in 1 Corinthians 5, people were allowed to think they can come to Christ on their own terms:  “Come as you are, stay as you came”, and shepherds grew fat, Ezekiel 34-style as a result.    As French observes:

“Some would argue that American Christian culture is being replaced by a separate, feel-good faith called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism — a vague belief that while God exists, he’s not particularly involved in human affairs and mainly wants people to be nice and happy. It’s a common moral code that applies to the conduct of one’s personal affairs; it is utterly inadequate, however, when it comes to addressing real human conflict and substantial cultural clashes. It provides no systematic moral worldview, and it ultimately leaves judgment of right and wrong to the individual conscience. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Millennial culture is that the failure to be “nice” is often met with the most brutal of reprisals. It’s okay — mandatory, even — to be cruel to the cruel and intolerant of the intolerant.”    

Servant has been shown to be a blasphemer of  God (and has also been shown to come very close to blaspheming even the Holy Spirit, calling the inspired, straightforward, spinless word of God a “doctrine of demons”) in his zeal to keep adulterous unions together and have true spouses remain unreconciled and unforgiving  – a goal that satan himself shares with Servant.    This has a major heaven-or-hell consequence for many that this wolf is denying.   He has shown himself to be an exceedingly sloppy workman with God’s word in several instances, and at the end even claims that concern for this lack of integrity with God’s word is of no consequence.    Woe to anyone addicted to his ear-tickling!

Servant suggests in one of his three videos that the idea of holy matrimony being unconditionally indissoluble, and violations of this moral absolute being a hell-bound offense if not repented, is “entirely new doctrine” and was “never practiced before in the church”.    He then points to the Mennonites  (discussed above) who have always practiced it.   Until 1973, the Assemblies of God operated by by-laws adopted at the denomination’s inception that forbid its pastors from performing any marriage where either party had a living, estranged spouse, and forbid its associated churches from employing a remarried pastor, or one who had married a divorced woman.    Even the Anglican Church refused to perform weddings involving divorced people until 2002, notwithstanding the heretical, humanistic elements of the Westminster Confession that would have allowed it.   Servant links us to a “friend” of his who apparently runs a website on early church history, then makes the hollow claim that this friend knows of no instance where marriage indissolubility was practiced in the early church discipline.      This “friend” has apparently missed all of these writings from letters and commentaries by bishops of 1st through 4th century churches, while not providing a single example of a church father who recognized remarriage as holy matrimony:

Justin Martyr (151 AD) “Whosoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband commits adultery. According to our Teacher, they are sinners who contract a second marriage.”

Tertullian (200 AD) “Again He [Jesus] said, ‘They shall be two in one flesh’. . . not three or four.”

Origen (248 AD) “Just as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seems to be married to a man, while a former husband yet lives, so also the man who seems to marry who has been divorced does not marry her, but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her.”

Basil the Great (375 AD) “A man who marries another man’s wife who has been taken away from him will be charged with adultery.“

Jerome (390 AD) “If she left him on account of his crimes, he is still her husband and she may not take another. . . . a second may not be taken while the first one lives.”

St Augustine (419 AD) “A woman begins to be the wife of no later husband unless she has ceased to be the wife of a former one. She will cease to be the wife of a former one, however, if that husband should die, not if he commits adultery.”

We mention this very briefly here in anticipation that Servant’s third blog (not yet published) might make this false claim, since it’s in the second video.    If so, we will provide more thorough links, sources and examples of these important facts of early church history in that rebuttal.

For every mocker is an abomination to the Lord, and his communication is with the simple.   – Proverbs 3:32

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

The Gospel According to David Servant (versus We of the “Divine Divorce Doctrine”) – Part 1

DServantby Standerinfamilycourt

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
– Revelation 22:18-19

This will be a response to Part 1 of a three-part blog series written by David Servant which denies that all non-widowed remarriage is, as Jesus repeatedly stated it was, an ongoing state of adultery which needs to be renounced to gain or recover one’s inheritance in the kingdom of God.   Indeed, why use a blog title that asks a rhetorical question, when the answer is repeatedly obvious to all on the most basic surface of God’s word?   Nonplussed, David Servant, a non-profit founder, former pastor and book author from Pittsburgh, PA, takes serious umbrage at all opposition to the popular notion that remarriage adultery is the only sin under the sun where cessation and renouncement was (allegedly) “not required” by Jesus or the Apostles.    Be forewarned that this will be a lengthy read, if only because the original blog we are rebutting is also quite a lengthy tome (over 40 pages in the print queue).

As the Proverb says,  When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,   But he who restrains his lips is wise.”

To maintain readability in this post, we must be selective in what we address and leave the Holy Spirit to correct in the heart of the readers whatever else grieves Him.  Hopefully in so doing, we can meaningfully respond to a 40+ pager in considerably fewer pages than that.

Although according to his biography, Servant is not personally involved in this soul-rotting sin of coveting and retaining the God-joined spouse of another living person,  it has become quite common in the past 50 years since enactment of unilateral divorce, for pastors like him to have performed many such adulterous ceremonies,  which are indefensible scripturally.   It is also not uncommon in the past decade or two, for such “blended families” to now dominate churches, financially and in every other practical way, since they are no longer burdened with the difficult situations that cause those they deserted to have struggle with day-to-day survival while endeavoring to remain chaste and pure in obedience to God.  Like “standerinfamilycourt”,  David runs a Facebook community page (called Discipling the Body of Christ) in addition to his own wall under his name, which appears not to be a nom-de-plume.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC Note:  As of the date of this blog post, only Parts 1 and 2 of this series have been published by the author, along with some related videos.   Possibly, Part 3 will be out in mid-January.  He has separately stated that a book on this topic is due out in January, 2018.    Servant appears to make at least some of his books available for download on this ministry site, and has third parties reselling them on Amazon.)    

David begins the first post, November 15, 2017,  I’m Divorced and Remarried – Am I Living in Adultery?  (Part 1) with an emotional appeal that is more typical of the liberal pagan enemies of the no-excuses sanctity of marriage, quite similar to appeals of those who advocate for preserving and defending sodomous civil-only unions where children have been obtained:

Imagine this:John is an unregenerate drug-user who, during a weekend fling in Las Vegas, falls for a flirtatious bartender named Lisa and marries her at the Little Neon Chapel. Their marriage lasts one week.

“Fast forward to 20 years later. John is a completely different man. He’s been born again and drug-free for 16 years, and he has been married for 15 of them to a devoted Christian woman named Karen. They have 4 beautiful children, ages 5 through 14, whom Karen homeschools, primarily because they want to make sure that their children are raised in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

“At work, John is befriended by a Christian man who invites him to a daily lunch hour Bible study, and John, hungry for God’s Word and fellowship with other believers, begins to attend. He is very impressed with the depth of biblical knowledge possessed by those who attend. Their influence over him grows.

“Fast forward six months. One evening, after their children are all in bed, John sits at the kitchen table across from Karen and tearfully tells her that he has filed for a divorce. He explains that he doesn’t want to divorce her—because he loves her and their children dearly—but he has learned that theirs is an “adulterous marriage,” all due to the fact that he was once married to a Las Vegas bartender for a week. John explains that, in God’s eyes, he is still married to Lisa, and until Lisa dies, his marriage with her (Karen) is adulterous….John quotes Luke 16:18, where Jesus said, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. “That is us,” John says. He also quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which declares that no adulterers will inherit God’s kingdom. Karen tearfully argues with him for hours into the night, but to no avail….”
[End of appeal]

Liberals just love to argue the extreme case, illogically claiming that Assertion X, fitted to that extreme case,  should therefore be the rule (never mind that God says Assertion X is an abomination).  Enemies of God’s undiluted word are addicted to emotional arguments because they have no way of rigorously disputing the objective facts.    Such is also the case with “Christian” humanists and situational ethicists who pose as God’s shepherds, while they do as Jesus sharply rebuked in their earlier counterparts in Luke 16…
And He said to them, “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.”

Such shepherds fear men more than they fear God, even if they themselves are not personally caught up in the abomination of remarriage adultery.   But let’s take a closer, more objective look at the straw-man example suggested by Servant:  percentage-wise, just how many divorced and remarried people actually have a drunken, drug-laced quickie Vegas wedding in the family history?    Aren’t the majority of adulterous remarriages among evangelicals (more realistically) sad arrangements where there are children from a combination of perhaps three or more legitimate and unlawful marriages, euphemistically called a “blended family” ?     Is the number of children at all relevant to what Jesus  had to say about it?  Does God care more about the needs of, and obligations toward, the children born of an unlawful marriage than He does the needs of and obligations toward the covenant spouse and covenant children with whom God-sanctioned faith was broken?   Malachi, chapter 2 is explicitly clear on this question.   The book of Ezra, chapters 9 and 10, should also point to a clear answer to these questions.  Four hundred years before Jesus arrived on the scene, God did not hesitate to command that nearly 120 unlawful unions contracted by priests just like the one described in Malachi 2,  civilly legal but biblically unlawful unions which He did not join, be renounced and purged.   God commanded that the adulterous and concurrently polygamous concubines be sent away with all of the non-covenant children, as a condition of restoring the sovereignty of Israel as a nation, starting with the rebuilding of the temple by men with clean hands.

Indeed, for every rare instance of a brief Vegas nuptial gone predictably awry, there have developed at least ten cases in the world of our profoundly immoral family laws (and morally lax, complicit churches who routinely admit the sin into their sanctuaries, right along with the two sinners)– of a 3 or 4-decade covenant union being squashed by a “family court” because some spouse-poacher couldn’t resist raiding that family’s godly wealth, unfettered as they are by a civil legal system that refuses even to consider clear marital fault in dividing the spoils.    In fact, so-called “gray divorce” is statistically the only growing category of civil marriage “dissolution” precisely because the savvier younger set is “just saying no” to inviting civil government into their homes under such terms and conditions, even if it means living in fornication or non-legalized adultery.     
A George Barna survey done in the year 2000 had a full 90% of the evangelical respondents admitting two things, as a matter of fact:

(1) their last “remarriage” occurred after, not before, they considered themselves “born again”
(2) at least one divorce had also taken place at their own initiation or mutual consent since their salvation experience.   

In the interest of full disclosure, SIFC blogged several months ago about a real-life recent convert who married a such a man as David Servant hypothetically describes.      In that instance, we advised this woman that her situation is quite “borderline” because in that situation, there was a swift civil annulment before a home was ever formed, and because consent to form a home and to enter into a lifelong commitment was very much in question.   We could not, therefore, tell this lady what to do when she asked about separating from this Christian man who became her first husband, while she became his second wife.      All we could do was relate to her what Jesus told us in Matthew 19:4-6 actually constitutes holy matrimony based on Genesis 2:21-24, namely eligibility, vows, witnesses and consent in the form of leaving and cleaving.    All elements must be present before God creates the supernatural one-flesh entity.   We told her that based on our understanding of the facts as she described them,  it seemed doubtful that the God who looks into the hearts of the bride and groom would have supernaturally, instantaneously and inseverably created (Greek:  sarx mia) the one-flesh entity with which He then unconditionally covenants  so long as both spouses remain alive.    Even so,  how does it possibly follow that this narrow and quite rare circumstance should be extrapolated to all situations where a true marriage and man’s divorce took place before one or both parties surrendered to Christ, and for whatever reason, Jesus’ and Pauls’ straightforward commandment not to take the spouse of another was ignored by both the parties and their pastor?

Hypothetical John,  meanwhile, if taught the biblical truth about how God creates the supernatural, lifelong inseverable one-flesh entity upon valid vows, should be able in his regenerated state to examine his own heart and determine whether this occurred between himself and the barmaid based on his firsthand knowledge of  their mutual  intent and consent (and her eligibility to vow).    But he doesn’t have a chance of doing so if all he’s ever taught is the evangelical heresy that all “marriages” are morally interchangeable and current possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Mr. Servant continues:  “This kind of doctrine not only can potentially destroy devoted Christian families like John and Karen’s, but it opens the door dangerously wide—for certain Christian couples who are struggling in their marriages—with a convenient justification to divorce. It can turn a treacherous sin—divorce between two Christians—into a holy obligation. It makes divorce, something that God hates (Mal. 2:16) into something that, in some cases, pleases Him. It forces those who do not have the gift of celibacy to pretend that they do. And it creates a lower, “unclean” class among those who have been cleansed of their sins by Jesus’ sacrifice, a class consisting of those who have previously been married and divorced.”

There are, of course, several problems with the above statement.

(1)  The “doctrine” came directly (and repeatedly) from Jesus Christ beginning with the sermon on the mount, and was repeatedly confirmed by the Apostle Paul, as well as by all of the early church fathers for the next 400 years after Jesus ascended, following His resurrection.  (We will provide historical examples in our rebuttal of the next blog in the series.)

(2) Truly devoted Christian partners care most whether they and their “spouse” will spend eternity in hell.    For that matter, they care whether their children, who are likely to emulate their parents some day, will also spend their eternity in hell.    There is a reason Paul repeatedly warned, “Do not be deceived…” when he twice warned that no adulterer has any inheritance in the kingdom of God.  If Paul also turns out to be the writer of the book of Hebrews, the same warning appears in chapter 13, verse 4.    One has every right to question whether a person who would choose to continue in a lifestyle of disobedience in which the 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th commandments are broken every single day, is actually a Christ-follower at all, despite the sullied label of “Christian”.

(3)  Servant’s crass appeal to Malachi 2:16 is completely misplaced when taken in reference to anyone, Christian or otherwise, who has coveted and retained the exclusive God-joined spouse of another living person in defiance of Christ’s commandment forbidding it.    The tell-tale sign of this is the willful disregard of what precedes verse 16, therefore ignoring the vital context of the entire chapter, which boils down to God’s sharp rebuke of a man who has abused the immoral laws of men to “divorce” the wife of his youth so that he could unlawfully  “marry” another.    God doesn’t buy it!   He says that fellowship is indefinitely suspended between Him and this priest(hood).   He calls the true but rejected wife “the companion of your marriage covenant” (which still stands, regardless of the “get” – certificate of man’s divorce -the woman who remains  “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh” was handed under the wicked hijacking of Mosaic regulation).  Further, the Lord says, “she IS (not ‘was’) the companion of your marriage covenant”     Hence, it is hermeneutically unfaithful to apply verse 16 to a counterfeit spouse with whom no inseverable one-flesh entity ever existed by God’s hand, and who may likewise have  been inseverably joined by God’s hand previously to a true living spouse on the other side.   The concubine IS the society-destroying problem;  she cannot possibly be the “victim” who merited God’s protection which was reserved for the true wife; the wife of the priest’s youth.

(4) The direct appeal to the flesh near the end of Mr. Servant’s argument is so blasphemous it’s almost humorous.   It slaps Jesus Christ in the face for all that He said in Matthew 19:12:

For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.

Jesus was not at all saying that those who find themselves estranged for whatever reason from their God-joined one-flesh partner who remains alive, have this “super-discipleship option” (should they be so inclined, as Mr. Servant might presume).    What Jesus is actually saying is that “he who is not able to accept thisforfeits the kingdom of heaven!    Jesus warned us to count the cost of following Him (Luke 14:28), warning us to enter by the narrow gate that few find, and to avoid the broad path that everyone wants to take instead, the one that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).    He warned us that if we love anything or anyone more than we love Him, we cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:26).   This false shepherd, on the other hand, parrots the foul advice of Martin Luther, that men are at all times entitled to a sexual relationship in order to allay worse debauchery.   This, quite simply, is idolatry and self-worship.   It neglects the underlying heart problem in order to appease the raw flesh.

(5) As for the next slander, “it creates a lower, “unclean” class among those who have been cleansed of their sins by Jesus’ sacrifice, a class consisting of those who have previously been married and divorced…“, we suggest that Mr. Servant take His complaint up directly with Jesus, for we have merely quoted Him, verbatim.    Another blog of ours deals with the popular false claim that Jesus’ sacrifice “cleansed” the “sin” of an unwanted holy matrimony covenant occurring prior to “salvation”.   The inconvenient truth for Mr. Servant is that God defended mixed and heathen (true) marriages as equally indissoluble for life in numerous examples in both the Old and New Testament.

That said, we’d like to ask Mr. Servant what exactly justifies his presumption that faithfulness to and (if necessary) chastity  in honor of our original holy matrimony vows constitutes “second class citizenship”?    Do we say the spouse whose one-flesh mate is serving in overseas in the military is a “second class citizen” because of the season of celibacy imposed on them?    Or whose spouse is in prison?  Or to the spouse of the cancer or Alzheimer patient, that they are “second-class citizens” due to a possibly permanent season of celibacy that the Lord commands?    Don’t we instead admire them for this kind of fidelity and invoke church discipline on them when fidelity is lacking in those circumstances ?

From Servant’s charge of “unfair second class citizenship” arising from the commandment to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Christ, Mr. Servant moves on to a commentary-parroting account of the classic battle between Hillel and Shammai,  while he chides the marriage permanence community for not buying into the popular contemporary commentators’ oft-cited claim that Shammai won that contest, “in Christ’s estimation”.    Like them, he seems a bit oblivious to the implications of what both Matthew and Mark tell us next:

In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again.The disciples *said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”   [ Mark 10:10; Matthew 19:10-11]

Following Mr. Servant’s reasoning for a moment, the disciples were, therefore, absolutely livid and aghast that they could only divorce their wives for adultery, an infraction that rarely occurred on the part of the wife in a consummated marriage, and when it did occur, the Mosaic remedy was stoning, not divorce (Deut. 22).   We’re to believe those disciples were left incredulous and flabbergasted that Jesus had just had the audacity to say they could not divorce their wives for burning the pita or inadvertently showing their ankles.    (They then went on, as copious historical accounts repeatedly tell us, to disciple their own converts during the decades that followed, that all remarriage was adultery regardless of what triggered man’s divorce.)    The unbiased contextual  fact is that Jesus disagreed with both Hillel and Shammai,  according to Matthew 19:6 and 8,  and left the disciples livid and aghast instead because Jesus said these two things which Mr. Servant conveniently ignores:

(1)  “MOSES allowed you to divorce your wives….. but from the beginning, it was not (ever) so.”    Matthew 19:8

(2) “Therefore, what God has joined, let NO HUMAN put asunder.”  Matthew 19:6

In other words, the disciples were left livid and aghast enough to momentarily consider swearing off marriage altogether, because Jesus has just said that divorce of the wife of one’s youth was not only merely immoral, He was clearly saying that man’s attempt to “dissolve” God-joined holy matrimony is, and always has been, impossible.    He was clarifying that all such attempts have always, in all cases, been a manmade contrivance that God never provided for from the beginning.     To claim that all “marriages” are morally interchangeable with original holy matrimony while a true spouse lives, is to slanderously claim that God also “joined” the unlawful union, being untrue not only to the covenant spouse but to His own holy character, and personally covenanting with what Jesus clearly and repeatedly called adultery.     It is a very good thing indeed for David Servant and his ilk, therefore, that Jesus made a point of saying this about blasphemy against God:

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. ”   –  Matthew 12:31-32

Speaking of the unpardonable sin, we observe that this false shepherd skates very perilously close at another point in his screed to committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to satan, as described in Matthew 12 ), in slandering the call to obedience to God’s clear, Spirit-inspired word as a “doctrine of demons”:

“I have no hesitation labeling the Divine Divorce Doctrine a “doctrine of demons,” the kind of which Paul warned would arise in the last days (1 Tim. 4:1). It is interesting that Paul specifically mentioned that those last-days demonic doctrines would be marked by “men who forbid (or hinder, as the Greek verb koluo is often translated) marriage” (1 Tim. 4:3). Again, Divine Divorce Proponents want millions of married Christian couples to break their vows and divorce. My advice is that you run for your life from anyone who is promoting this dangerous and destructive twisting of the Word of God.”

Serious bible scholars don’t make the shameless pretense Servant has just made that Paul wasn’t referring to the asceticism heresy (Augustine, Thomas and others) of the 1st-4th century church that also continued into the Roman Catholic Church.   Legalizing one’s adultery, on the other hand, is not “marriage” any more than legalizing one’s sodomy is “marriage”, and it’s grievously required God to allow the persecutions from the rise of homofascism to get the attention of a stiff-necked church to make His point.     The remainder of this rebuttal will make clear that the only one “twisting” the Word of God is Servant and his ilk.    Woe to him, and may God be merciful to allow repentance from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, in light of what he thinks he knows but does not.   
Let not many become teachers, for they will incur a harsher judgment.

The only reason millions of “Christian” homes find themselves in this predicament is because men like Servant have exercised a seared conscience in the decades since 50-state enactment of unilateral divorce, which they did nothing meaningful to even resist.    To lay responsibility for the abominable consequences of their own self-interested actions on the truth-tellers in the body of Christ is truly heinous.

Much of the rest of Servant’s defense of remaining in an adulterous civil-only union that God’s hand cannot join rests on two main arguments that amount to human speculation, with no further substantive swipes at hermeneutical principles or applications thereof, yet accusing the truth-tellers of hermeneutical “sins”.    We will address both of these two remaining arguments of his shortly, but at this juncture, it would be good to review Elliot Nesch’s  excellent work where he categorizes all of the arguments, devices and excuses of those who seek to discredit the no-exceptions indissolubility of holy matrimony.…

Nesch  breaks down all of the evangelical objections to the biblical doctrine taught by Jesus and Paul, that only physical death dissolves holy matrimony (the supernatural God-joining of a never-married or widowed man with a never-married or widowed woman, according to Matthew 19:4-6) into four categories:

(1) Redefinition of terms
(2) Ad hominem slurs
(3) Scriptural silence (what Jesus, Paul or whoever did not explicitly say)
(4) Hermeneutic / hyperbole arguments

(The audio link above is well worth taking the time to listen to.  The segment with Elliot’s discussion begins at approximately 9:30 minutes.)

God’s so-called contemporary “shepherds” will all go after true disciples on one or more of these bases which are all fallacious, and all do shameless battle with the clear commandment of Christ, as well as with the very authority of His word.     David Servant has lowered himself to resorting to all of them in his Part 1 blog, including the ad hominem.

Take, for example, the redefinition of terms, as Mr. Servant posits:

Notice that Jesus endorsed the Mosaic concession, “except for immorality.” Thus, immorality is a legitimate reason to divorce, and understandably so.[1] A marriage covenant is consummated by sexual union.[2] The adulterer, by his sexual union with another, breaks his marriage covenant. In that respect, adultery effectuates a divorce. The person who divorces his adulterous spouse only formalizes the divorce that has already occurred by the adultery. (Again, however, Scripture teaches clearly elsewhere that confrontation and mercy predicated upon repentance is the best route.)

As with his earlier quote, this statement is riddled with flaws of fact and logic.    Servant is here referring to Christ’s words in Matthew 19:9, which were likely spoken originally in Aramaic, recorded by the Apostle in Hebrew, and later re-translated by the early church into Greek.    A friend of this page has seen the Hebrew text which is held in archives in Jerusalem.   The Greek text, available online with its literal translation, shows the following:

μὴ                  ἐπὶ        πορνείᾳ
except         for        unchastity / whoredom / commercial prostitution (according to all concordances written before 1850)

The root form of  πορνείᾳ, “porne” means “to sell off”.    In the Hebrew culture it would have been almost unheard of for a consummated wife whose husband was living with her to be involved in commercial prostitution, notwithstanding Gomer, who was involved in it both before and after the prophet Hosea married her on the Lord’s command.    The penalty for this under Mosaic law is, after all, swift and sure stoning, not man’s divorce!   Similarly, Jerome used the Latin term “fornication” when he later did his translation from the Greek.  Also similarly, the root word is “fornix“, which were the Roman colonnade columns under which prostitutes entertained their clients.    It is no accident, therefore, that earlier lexicons didn’t generalize the term porneia.    It is also no accident that the post-WWII lexicons started to generalize it, as the divorce rate started to rise in the church.   Those earlier lexicons were being far more faithful to the history and context of the Matthew 5 and 19 texts than are the shoddy counterparts we’re left with today.

Liberal bible translation societies started generalizing and substituting terms in the mid 20th century because the more focused term discouraged divorce.     While there is certainly scholarly dissent, and there are examples of other bible passages where derivations of the term porneia does refer to a range of sexual infractions and immoral practices, there remains a good-sized cadre of reliable scholars who object to contextually construing “porneia” to include adultery “moicheia” in any passage where the two words appear together.     After all, why would the One who declared, “no more eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth”, who further declared “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.  My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart..” suddenly reverse course, exclusively in the case of two one-flesh partners and prescribe more adultery as the sanctioned remedy for adultery?    Is Jesus really that capricious, or is this another slanderous blasphemy of the Son’s character?

Our friend who has viewed the Hebrew text of Matthew likewise confirms that the word Jesus used corresponds to “z’nut”  from the Hebrew root “zanah” which also meant “playing the whore” outside of marriage.    (See our 2015 blog “The Great Granddaddy of Them All” for further links, and elaboration on this topic. )

Beyond that, Mr. Servant contends that Jesus “endorsed” the Mosaic concession regulating man’s practice of financial and spiritual abandonment of their families based on a unilateral piece of paper.    This claim does not logically follow at all from the preponderance of everything else Jesus unequivocally said on the topic, as should be obvious by now.    Servant suggests that it is sacrilege to infer that Jesus would not have been on the same page with Moses in all matters.    This is far from a novel argument, and it is just as far from a supportable assumption.    In fact, it’s another purely emotional and manipulative argument designed to distract from and devalue some of the harder teachings of Jesus that we don’t like, in our culture of institutionalized serial polygamy.    We know that Moses was a very flawed man (as we all are).    Even his wife Zipporah couldn’t resist rebuking him on one occasion when she had to intervene to protect her husband from God’s wrath:

Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met him [Moses] and sought to put him to death.  Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.”    So He let him [Moses] alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood”—because of the circumcision.    –  Exodus 4:24-26

We also recall the reason Moses was not permitted by God to lead His people into the promised land.    Moses occasionally responded to situations in the flesh instead of in the Spirit of God.    In fact, before Jesus ascended, and Pentecost followed, the Holy Spirit did not continuously indwell God’s servants, but He fell upon them at specific times.    At other times, He seemed to be absent, for example:

 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him;  and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”  Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.   But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”   Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.   –  Numbers 20:9-13

Having discredited the unsupportable notions that Moses was infallible and that Jesus had no authority or cause to ever differ with him, we also point out that numerous other instances of Mosaic teaching were directly abrogated by Jesus in the sermon on the mount in favor of His higher law which would now be obeyed, by those authentically redeemed, from the heart and would eliminate the option of daily ritual animal sacrifices as an available path to Kingdom citizenship.   Each instance where Jesus stated you have heard it said…..BUT I SAY UNTO YOU..”  is a specific example  of Jesus countermanding Moses because the moral standard was not high enough for the kingdom of God, on additional matters ranging from swearing oaths to taking our own revenge in lieu of forgiving transgressions against us.   It’s also quite true that rabbinic traditions had GREATLY expanded the ideas that were attributed to “Moses” in the centuries after the man’s bones were returned to the dust of the earth.    The expansion of the Deuteronomy 24 provision to legally end a marriage contract (“ketubah”) for a non-capital offense that would have been a defilement existing both before and after consummation of the marriage — to the list of Deuteronomy 22 capital offenses is a prime example of this trend over the centuries that unfolded between Moses and Jesus, as various conquerors deprived the Jews of their ability to carry out stoning.   The post-Moses “mission-creep” of rabbinic regulations had gotten so bad that Jesus replaced the 613 ceremonial regulations with just two commandments that distilled and retained the 10 Commandments:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’   On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”   –  Matthew 22:36-40

Since  Servant’s claim above that Jesus was not directly abrogating Mosaic regulations is not at all supportable, neither is his further extrapolation:  “Thus, ‘immorality’ is a legitimate reason to divorce, and understandably so.”     This vague and invalidly-substituted term “immorality” is meaningless because it is not specific enough in light of Christ’s assertion in Matt. 19:8, later confirmed by Paul in Rom. 7:2-3 and 1 Cor.7:39,  that God-joined holy matrimony is indissoluble except by death.    Hence, subsequent remarriage is always adultery, according to Jesus, following man’s divorce for a very straightforward reason:   the parties of the first part are nonetheless still married.    David Servant dismisses this  truth as though man’s law trumps God’s law, thereby denying what Christ repeatedly either stated outright on numerous occasions, or He inferred on numerous other occasions.

But Servant’s statement above directly contradicts Jesus and / or Paul in some other profound ways:

“A marriage covenant is consummated by sexual union.  The adulterer, by his sexual union with another, breaks his marriage covenant. In that respect, adultery effectuates a divorce. The person who divorces his adulterous spouse only formalizes the divorce that has already occurred by the adultery.”

While it’s true that sexual union consummates the marriage covenant, it’s also true that an eligible (never-married or widowed) bride and groom are just as inseverably joined, and the unconditional, indissoluble covenant is already in existence before the couple has departed the ceremony venue, according to Christ’s words in Matthew 19:4-6.    Sex does not do any of this, according to Jesus, because becoming one-flesh (sarx mia)  in the sense that Jesus spoke of it is an instantaneous, supernatural act of God, not a gradual, natural process of men.   We know this because the language both Jesus and Paul consistently used when referring to holy matrimony joining is completely different than the language Paul used in speaking of merely carnal joining, for example, in 1 Corinthians 6:16 (where the term is hen soma, even though sarx mia is mentioned by Paul for comparison purposes at the end of the verse).   Unlike with hen soma, Jesus says that a new entity is formed in that wedding ceremony moment….

So they are no longer two [note: by the perfect-indicative active verb tense – “no longer” should be rendered “never again”], but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Hence a new entity is formed which becomes the inferior party to the unconditional covenant, and the covenant is formed indissolubly because God is the divine superior party in that covenant.    The state of holy matrimony is, in all cases, indissoluble for life precisely because God has never once gone back on an unconditional covenant in which He is a participant, and man can do nothing at all (short of physically dying) to remove God from it.   Prior to these latter  “Days of Noah”, this didn’t used to be rocket science.  Even civil judges and legislators once used to respect this, out of the holy fear of God.

(FB profile 7xtjw SIFC Note:It was to the above set of concepts that this blogger expected David Servant to apply his coined-label “Divine Divorce Doctrine”–as opposed to applying it to the concept of full, physical repentance from remarriage adultery, as he has done     However, had he applied his moniker to this core foundational principle, it would have been an absolutely ludicrous contradiction in terms, since we’ve just proven that the only instance in which man’s divorce is “divine” is when it’s part of a repenting prodigal spouse’s restoration and restitution plan where only a faux marriage existed on man’s paper alongside the God-joined one, no different than a sodomous civil-only union.  Servant is better off simply calling it “Divine Indissolubility Doctrine”, in our view. )

From this point in David Servant’s quote, the extrapolation from false, unsupported premises goes absolutely off the rails:

“The adulterer, by his sexual union with another, breaks his marriage covenant. In that respect, adultery effectuates a divorce. The person who divorces his adulterous spouse only formalizes the divorce that has already occurred by the adultery.”

This is hardly an original thought (much less a truthful one),  but not because it originated with either Jesus or any of the Apostles.   Its originator was the smarmy 16th century Catholic homosexual humanist who did so much to corrupt the character of Martin Luther, namely, one Desiderius Erasmus.


What did Jesus say “effectuates” man’s divorce?   Nothing, since “from the beginning it was not ever so”.    What motivates it?  Man’s hard-heartedness  (Matthew 19:8).    Men like Servant tend to make the eternally-mistaken presumption that this hard-heartedness is some sort of ongoing “concession” (or that it demands such a concession),  but Jesus said “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”    The writer of Hebrews repeatedly warned that all such hard-heartedness causes disciples to fall away and, if not repented of,  miss their entrance into the  kingdom.    What did Paul say “breaks” (or ends) holy matrimony?    Death alone.    This is most consistent with the totality of what Jesus said, and it is also quite consistent with original Mosaic law concerning the necessity of stoning.

As pastors often do, Servant feels the need to toss in a quick patronizing word for anyone who might, perchance, be naturally inclined to obey God from the heart (rather than callously assume up front that he – Servant – will be forced to “rubber stamp” everyone’s abomination).    He concludes:  “(Again, however, Scripture teaches clearly elsewhere that confrontation and mercy predicated upon repentance is the best route.)”     Well, sir, which is it?   Did you not just insist that the practice of adultery is “effective dissolution” of the marriage?    Do couples then need to remarry each other to repent of fornication with each other as a result of one partner’s infidelity creating a de facto “dissolution”, as though God’s joining-glue is somehow just a little defective, and not at all as represented by His Son?

Speaking of remarriage, in his assessment of the “foundation” of true disciples’ opposition to serial polygamy, he makes this random statement:

“They also disagree on whether or not there is ever a legitimate reason to divorce, that is, a reason that would allow a person who initiated a divorce to remarry.”

We’ll set aside the first assertion because it is silly on the surface.   There is no disagreement among the saints that man’s divorce doesn’t dissolve anything, and God’s divorce is spelled D-E-A-T-H. Hence, there can’t be any “disagreement” in our community about whether there is ever a “legitimate” reason to do something that has absolutely no effect in God’s courthouse in the first place.     What Servant is doing is conflating two entirely separate issues, the humanistic fiction of “dissolution”, and the atrocity of consecutively polygamous unlawful union.    While there’s no denying that the pretense of marriage “dissolution” would have far less motive were it not for the lustful desire to enter into an immoral state under the fraudulent appearance of “decency”, the two are quite separate sins,  the first an act of sin, and the latter an ongoing state of sin.

Servant next takes dead-aim at the supernatural, inseverable sarx mia entity, conflating it with its transitory man-joined counterfeit, hen soma:
The usual argument is that a married couple are declared to be “one flesh” (Gen.2:24), and are therefore bound to one another unconditionally for life. However, this certainly burdens the phrase “one flesh” with more baggage than it will bear, since a tryst with a prostitute constitutes a “one flesh” relationship, according to Paul (1 Cor. 6:16), yet not necessarily a permanently binding one.

Apples and oranges, David!

Servant also gets into a very elaborate redefinition of terms when he moves on to discussing Paul’s varying instructions in 1 Corinthians 7 to various subsets of his audience in that church.    I believe Servant’s later blog installment might get into this a bit more, so we’ll only grab one example point here to illustrate:

Servant postulates, of the Apostle Paul:
Then, in a statement that summarizes much of his earlier advice for Christians to “remain in the state in which they were called” (see 1 Cor. 7:18-24), he advises the man who is married, “bound to a wife,” not to seek a divorce. Similarly, the man who is already divorced, “released from a wife,” should not seek a wife (“in view of the present distress”). However, Paul says, the already-divorced man, the one “released from a wife,” does not sin if he marries. And it is indisputable that he is speaking specifically to already-divorced men, because Paul continues in the same sentence saying, “and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.”  Clearly, from reading 1 Corinthians 7, Paul did not believe that the marriage covenant was indissoluble. Just as marriage is annulled by death and (often) adultery, it is also annulled by divorce. Paul did not believe Jesus’ words in the Four D&R Passages should be interpreted, “Whoever divorces and remarries lives in a continuous state of adultery that can only be remedied by yet another divorce.”

The redefinition of terms here is that everyone who is “called” while God-joined to a lifelong one-flesh spouse, with whom God Himself is in unconditional covenant, is “called” while bound to that spouse — even if they are simultaneously “called” while in papered-over adultery with another person.     That is the state in which they are called.    “Wife” is clearly being redefined in this proposal, from someone a man is joined to in sarx mia until death, to his concubine to whom he has immorally joined himself in hen soma.  That said, someone called while a single prostitute isn’t to remain in that state, are they?   Why then, should Servant speculate that anyone called in a state of serial polygamy remain in that state?    This is no trivial point,  given the inexcusably sloppy hermeneutics of applying a passage that refers contextually to vocation (slave) and religious trappings (circumcision) to the supernaturally-created state of holy matrimony (or its counterfeit), while claiming this “proves” that Paul did not consider holy matrimony indissoluble – verses 7:11, and 39, in the same passage, notwithstanding.    Servant claims this passage is speaking to the divorced and remarried (both states being purely fictional before God),  but the fallacy here ought to be obvious to all.  The rest of Servant’s remarks again directly contradict a vast amount of instruction that came directly out of the mouths of Jesus and Paul, not to even mention the practice of generations of early church leaders who followed, as documented in their historical commentaries, letters and other writings.    We dealt in great hermeneutical detail with other common abuses of 1 Corinthians 7 in two earlier blogs, the one  most relevant to Servant’s comments can be read here.   

This concludes the lengthy discussion of the tactic of redefinition of terms, and we now move on to address the remaining two highly predictable tactics Servant launches to water down Christ’s commandment in his Part 1,  namely speculative claims about the silence of scripture, and misplaced red-herring discussions of “hyperbole”.   We will also continue to point out where and how application of rigorous hermeneutical principles was given the short shrift or ducked altogether.

Servant makes the shallow and false claim that faithful Christ-followers base their convictions of the lifelong indissolubility of original holy matrimony  on just four scripture passages in the synoptic gospels, namely,
Matthew 19:3-9
Mark 10:1-12
Matthew 5:32
Luke 16:18

More accurately, the exhaustive list of evidence of the universal indissolubility of original holy matrimony is as follows, since the role of Jesus Christ the Bridegroom and His one inseverable bride, the church,  is woven through almost every book of the bible:

Genesis 2:21-24
Deuteronomy 22:13-29, with particular emphasis on verses 28-29
The Book of Hosea, in its entirety
Jeremiah 3:8-14, with particular emphasis on verse 14
Ecclesiastes 5:4-6
Ezra, chapters 8 and 9
Malachi, chapters 2 and 4, with emphasis on 2:13-16 and 4:6
Matthew 5:27-32, with particular emphasis on verse 32b, “whoever marries a divorced woman enters into an ongoing state of adultery.”
Matthew 6:15
Matthew 11:11; Luke 16:16
Matthew 14:1-12, with emphasis on verses 3-4
Matthew 18:23-35
Matthew 19:4-6 and 8   (here bolded because it is the crucial core passage to the indissolubility of holy matrimony and God’s full definition thereof.   Verses 6 and 8 are especially hated and downplayed by apostate shepherds.)
Matthew 19:9b (KJV, because this crucial phrase is omitted from every contemporary English bible due to fraudulent 20th century translation practices.  This phrase is identical to Matt. 5:32b above and is the 2nd of 3 times Jesus repeated it without exceptions.)
Matthew 19:12
Mark 6:14-27
Mark 10: 5-12 (we don’t think the events triggering the conversation are as materially important as Servant claims, due to the centrality of Matthew 19:6 and 8 to what Jesus said here).
Luke 14:26
Luke 16:18-31 (KJV here, to get rid of the distracting artificial heading that was not part of the original text.)
Luke 22:14-20
John 14:1-4
Romans 7:2-3
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
1 Corinthians 6:1-8 and 16
1 Corinthians 7, with particular emphasis on verses 2, 10-11, 14 and 39
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Ephesians 5:28-31

Why is this much broader list important?   Two reasons, really.
First, the saints on the narrow path who do not carnally dismiss Christ’s commandments, and who believe both Jesus and Paul that obeying these commandments is a heaven-or-hell matter, are very careful to validate crucial details like Greek verb tenses and analyze word usages, also to apply other hermeneutical points of rigor that would not be possible unless one of the five essential principles is not neglected, namely, comparison with all related scriptures on a given subject so that a comprehensive unity of scriptural content is established.   Indeed, David has falsely levelled this charge of omission against our community, and has done so out of his own ignorance and cowardly bias.    After all, our community is not just a bunch of self-righteous busybodies who don’t have anything better to do than go around aimlessly pointing our fingers at people who have been ear-tickled into remarriage adultery by this generation of unfaithful shepherds who think nothing of misusing the name of the Lord to perform a vain act that NEVER would have been allowed to desecrate God’s sanctuary only 60 or so years ago.   Indeed, pre-1970’s doctrine in many Protestant denominations forbid it for sound biblical reasons, from the denomination’s inception.   Curiously, the Anglican church which was birthed expressly for the legitimization of serial polygamy, was the last to officially cave in this regard, in 2002.

Most of us either have an estranged prodigal spouse who is in severe danger of forfeiting his or her soul for their lustful faux “marriage” (while our children watch and might possibly follow them in emulation), or we have come to the conviction of truth and exited our unlawful unions.    A few have blessedly restored holy matrimony unions after an intervening adulterous home was dissolved, often after many years and the birth of non-covenant children.    Except for this latter group, most live celibate lives until the Lord brings redemption.    Far too many of us wind up receiving the “left foot of Christian fellowship” by our threatened churches, and pastors who are afraid of their sin in performing these “weddings” being exposed to the congregation.   Some of us were pastors fired by churches who would rather have an adulterously-re-wed shepherd than one who refuses, after being divorced by a prodigal wife, to live in the adultery of marrying another.   An encouraging few are convicted pastors with intact, lifelong covenant marriages and intact congregations across a growing variety of denominations.   We’d better know whereof we speak as we advocate for a very inconvenient and embarrassing ignored truth, and do so with as much studious rigor as we can possibly muster and communicate.

The second reason the exhaustive list of related scriptures is important is to dispute the typical false claims of “scripture silence” such as David Servant (and many others) have alleged.     Our serial polygamy apologist asks:

“I ask: Where is this Divine Divorce Doctrine found outside of the Four D&R Passages? Surely if Jesus expected every divorced and remarried person to divorce again as a requirement for salvation—no small thing—He would have said so, and especially during those times He was talking about the very subject of divorce and remarriage to crowds that were full of divorced and remarried people.”

Our answer:  “divine” divorce is found only one place in scripture,  Ezra, chapters 9 and 10.    However, all divorce and / or “putting away” is strictly man-made, not God-ordained, so we have to be very careful how we throw around the term “divorce”, which meant different things over time in different cultures.     The actual idea to render unto Caesar what previously belonged exclusively to God was Martin Luther’s, and he would not have done so except for the clamor for fig leaf “cover” to financially and spiritually abandon one-flesh partners and children with an air of “respectability” that the church quite rightly refused to grant out of care for eternal souls.    The civil legal contests as we know them, therefore, date back only to the 16th century, and only in Europe do they go back even that far.     Ancient societies had unilateral self-issued paper, including Hebrew and Graeco-Roman societies that later collapsed morally, and this was the evil that Christ came rebuking when He said, “from the beginning, it was not ever so.”     In the case of unlawful foreign (typically, concurrently polygamous) wives described in the book of Ezra, there was a sending away with material provision, which constituted repentance from the immoral relationships.  God commanded this, and He did so because He had created no sarx mia in any of those instances.   Those children were born of satan’s carnal counterfeit, hen soma.   This is the identical situation to remarriage adultery and sodomous unions today, but due to the illegitimate and immoral jurisdiction of the civil state, civil dissolution is necessary to end the legal obligations so that the covenant moral vows and obligations can be fulfilled before God.   Ideally, this eventually leads to the obeying  of 1 Corinthians 7:2, on both sides of the former illicit relationship, now repented:

But because of immoralities, each man is to have [possess – echetO G2192] his own [heautou G1438] wife, and each woman is to have [possess – echetO G2192] her own [idion G2398] husband.

This was never a legal concept, but a metaphysical one, according to Jesus.   Speaking of scriptural silence, Jesus never spoke of the necessity of civil sanction or documents of state regulation when He described the first wedding as the model for 1st century holy matrimony, and neither did the other Apostles.   It was clear from Christ’s description “from the beginning” that God alone did the joining (or declined to, due to prior joining).   Correct understanding  hopefully leads to obeying some closely related commandments:

to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own [idiois G2398] husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.    (Titus 2-5)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each of you know how to possess [ktasthai G2932] his own [heautou G1438]  vessel [skeuos G463] in sanctification and honor,  not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
(1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

Christ-followers are not to possess (covet and retain) someone else’s one-flesh lifelong partner, but only their own.   According to Paul, they are to release what does not belong to them back to the only one to whom God’s hand joined them, and they are not to forsake, abandon or live in unforgiving estrangement from their own one-flesh mate.

David Servant makes much of claiming that neither Jesus, nor any of the Apostles ever told anyone to divorce a “second” time who was living in sin with someone else’s God-joined spouse.    This is not entirely true.    John the Baptist called out Herod and Herodias, both of whom had divorced their God-joined spouses to “marry” each other, saying to Herod, “it is not lawful for you to have your brother Phillip’s wife.”  (Mark 6; Matthew 14).   The bible tells us that John, like Jesus, was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, and Jesus lauded him, calling him the greatest of the prophets born of women, and connecting him with the kingdom of God which the violent take by force.    John knew that unless this civilly-legal but Kingdom-unlawful union was renounced and ceased, the destination for this pair would be hell.    He, John, was ready to meet his Maker, but they clearly weren’t.   Jesus discussed this in the presence of His disciples, two of whom recorded it in the gospels.

Then there’s the episode of church discipline being applied in 1 Corinthians 5 at Paul’s command to the man who had taken his father wife (probably his stepmother, following either the divorce or death of the father).    The scripture does not state that he “married” her, but there are three immoral possibilities:  (1) the father was dead and they were cohabiting in fornication, or (2) the father had civilly divorced her and the son had civilly married her, or (3) the father had separated or divorced her, and they were cohabiting in adultery.   Since the man was still in the church body whom Paul had to rebuke, (1) and (3) seem less likely than (2).    What we do know is that Paul felt strongly enough that the son’s soul was on the line unless the church excommunicated him (“turned him over to satan that his soul may be saved”).   While everyone wants to claim that the issue is incest here, since it’s not his biological mother involved, there’s no basis for calling it incest unless an intact one-flesh relationship still existed between the living father and the father’s wife.   It appears that we have an overt church discipline situation being carried out on an instance of divorce and remarriage, and if the relationship was not renounced, another pair of legalized adulterers was headed for hell.

It also stands to reason that if neither Jesus nor Paul considered holy matrimony dissoluble as they both directly state more than once, the second “marriage” would not be valid to begin with, nor would the first “divorce”.   There was no elaborate civil court system to purport to “dissolve” any marriage until the apostate aspects of the Reformation took shape in the 16th century, so severance of an invalid, unlawful union in the 1st century would simply consist of separating and returning to one’s true spouse.    This was also true in Ezra’s time.   Further, Jesus was quite clear that living in a state of permanent unforgiveness toward anyone, much less one’s God-joined one-flesh mate was equally a heaven or hell matter (Matt. 18:23-35; Matt. 6;15).   Paul was equally clear that only death dissolved what God has joined (Romans 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39)  and that Christ-followers are charged with a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19).    Our sealing with the Holy Spirit should mean that we come to conviction of all of this by His say-so, based on a changed heart and Spirit-led scripture illumination.

Servant argues (falsely):

“Furthermore, there is no evidence any of Jesus’ apostles ever interpreted His words about divorce and remarriage to be a requirement for divorced and remarried couples to legally or functionally divorce. Their initial reaction to His statement to the Pharisees in Matthew 19 revealed they only thought that, in light of Jesus’ endorsement of one-wife-for-life, it might be best if people never married. They did not come to the conclusion that divorced and remarried people needed to divorce again. In fact, it is much more likely that they were wondering if Jesus was advocating the stoning of all divorced and remarried people, since that is what the Mosaic Law prescribed for adulterers.”

The great flaw in any “silence of scripture” argument is that it can always be turned around on the debater.    For example,  where does scripture ever mention anyone who is divorced and remarried in the churches after Christ’s ascension?    Where does it explicitly mention any civilly-orchestrated divorces in that 1st century era taking place?    Estrangement is discussed simply as “departing”, and the commandment was to leave the door open to reconciliation, which of necessity precluded remarriage.   There is no account of any of the Apostles or their disciples ever performing an adulterous wedding after the mention of Herod and Herodias.     Regardless of whether scripture was “silent” on this, it is clear that the historians of the era were far from silent.    As just one example, two of the early church fathers who were direct disciples of the Apostle John (Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and Justin Martyr) both wrote extensively of the invalidity of remarriage while one’s original spouse remained alive.  Over the next 300 years, there’s good reason to believe from the extensive writings of church leaders across the region of Christendom who followed them, that there was no remarriage in the early church at all, based on the unanimous statement condemning it and requoting Jesus and Paul in the very context that Servant so hotly disputes.    This biblical faithfulness didn’t just spontaneously happen — it was carried as a firm and universal conviction out of the house where the disciples had questioned Jesus, who spoke of becoming a spiritual “eunuch” for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Whereas stoning was not lawful under the Roman occupation since slightly before Christ’s birth, Servant’s baseless claim that the disciples were preoccupied with stoning as a horrible remedy to terminate all the legalized adultery is misinformed and ill-studied on the author’s part.    The better explanation is that they realized Jesus was invalidating the scope expansion of Mosaic regulation under rabbinic tradition which had compensated for the Roman (and earlier Persian) frustration of the hard-hearted ability to dispose of unwanted “ribs”, as though God had taken a whole slab of them out of Adam.

Servant goes on to insist:  “Nothing can be found in the New Testament epistles that supports the idea that those who are divorced and remarried are “still married to their original spouse in God’s eyes” or that they are “continually living in an adulterous relationship of which they must repent by divorce.”

Apparently the direct, unequivocal words of Jesus, repeated on three separate occasions, constitute part of the alleged “nothing” of which this blind guide speaks.   It should be obvious to most that just because something is asserted, does not automatically make it true, but it seems that this gentleman who is attempting to pass himself off as a scholar either doesn’t understand Koine Greek verb tenses, or finds them inconvenient to his argument.    He is not alone in this omission.   None other than  Dr. John MacArthur gets caught doing it all the time!     Expert linguists point out that every time there is a synoptic gospel account of Jesus speaking of divorce and remarriage as “committing adultery”, including the three separate times He spoke of an otherwise innocent man “marrying” any divorced woman  (Matthew 5:32b, 19:9b, Luke 16;18b)  He consistently did two things:

(1) Used the all-inclusive term ὃς ἐὰν   (hos ean) or Πᾶς ὁ  (pas ho)   –meaning, whoever, whosoever, EVERYONE, in various translations, with no exceptions.    The term used in John 3:16 is likewise  Πᾶς ὁ.

(2) Without exception, was recorded in the present-indicative verb tense / mood on each occasion.    According to the source,  the effect of the author or translator selecting  this verb tense  while capturing the words of Jesus is:   “The present tense usually denotes continuous kind of action. It shows ‘action in progress’ or ‘a state of persistence.When used in the indicative mood, the present tense denotes action taking place or going on in the present time.

In light of this, there are two things that are logically impossible:

(1) That someone can be in ongoing adultery against a “severed” spouse to whom they are no longer married in the eyes of Christ (and therefore God).
(2) That a subsequent “husband” can be in adultery by reason of marrying a still-married woman, but the woman is not in adultery (due to some claimed “exception”) when she marries the man–a “half-adulterous” marriage, in other words.

We herewith rest our case concerning Servant’s allegation that there is “no evidence that supports the idea that those who are divorced and remarried are “still married to their original spouse in God’s eyes” or that they are “continually living in an adulterous relationship “,  since we have proven both directly from  the scripture passages.

What remains, however, is Servant’s last “silence of scripture” assertion….“of which they must repent by divorce.”    Actually, scripture requires that they must repent by cessation and renunciation of the illicit relationship without addressing the civil legalities that came about later in society as a fabrication of men.   However, since the civil state has no delegated biblical authority over the creation, regulation or dissolution of holy matrimony,  the only purpose of civil divorce in such an instance to clean up their legal life and make restitution as best they can to everyone around them that they’ve harmed by their idolatry and lustful choice to disobey God’s word.     Technically, there’s nothing to dissolve in the kingdom of God, but like the thief who must stop stealing and return what he’s stolen, or the prostitute who must find another profession, or the murderer who must stop murdering, or the sodomite who must terminate that immoral and unlawful relationship, the adulterers must stop committing adultery and set a decent example of obeying God in front of everyone watching.    Sometimes to prove this from scripture we must exert ourselves a bit in the instruction of the Holy Spirit (the Teacher), and make a holy linkage between a couple of unlinked scriptures in the spirit of holy fear and obedience.     After all, nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus or any of the Apostles explicitly insist than anyone must cease using pornography or cease buying lottery tickets, either.   For example, linking to Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b and Luke 16:18b the following admonitions from the Apostles cannot be shown to be inappropriate in light of the final outcome of dying in this state of sin, unrepentant:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.   For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”    
James 2:10-11

“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.   How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?   For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’   And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”   It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 10:26-29

We move on to briefly discuss the final tactic of the enemies of God’s truth, misplaced claims of “hyperbole”.    In this case, Servant refers to hyperbole, but also terms this, “reasons to limit literality”.     It is the classic serpent’s question, “Psssst….did God really say?’

Servant claims, a bit ludicrously:  “….students of Jesus also know that, when they endeavor to interpret His words, they should not only consider context, but the fact that Jesus indisputably did not intend that all of His words should always be taken in their most literal sense.  For example, everyone agrees that Jesus does not really intend that we pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands if they “cause us to stumble,” or even that our physical eyes or hands can actually “cause” us to stumble.” Yet that is what Jesus said in Matthew 5:29-30 ”    (Very good, David – we don’t literally act on Christ’s hyperbolic statements.    But that does not mean that we project this understanding to all other serious commandments in a way that makes obedience to them optional, as he soon goes on to suggest.)

Neither does it mean that we can shrug off the important points He was making with His hyperbolic statement, including:
(1) Hell is real, and purportedly “saved” people to do go there
(2) The lust of our eyes and the covetousness of our hands make us prone to addicting acts, which then leads to entrapment in states of sin that can send us to hell
(3) Preemptive action tends to work a lot better with less pain than corrective action
(4) Sometimes extremely drastic action is needed to avoid God giving us over, due to wicked hearts and deceitful rationalization (may not be the severance of a limb, but it just might be the severance of an immoral relationship that the bible makes clear is unlawful.)
(5) Matt. 5:32b, marrying a divorced woman creates a state of adultery that will send a man to hell if he does not flee.

Servant continues his rhetorical derailment:  “No one claims that Jesus expects some men to literally castrate themselves for the sake of God’s kingdom, but within a few seconds of one of the Four D&R Passages, Jesus said “there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:12).”

Um, Paul said something about wishing Judaizers would castrate themselves because they wanted to circumcise Gentile converts, but it is quite clear that Jesus never said anything, hyperbolic or otherwise, about anybody castrating themselves.    He did say in Matthew 19:12 that involuntarily-estranged spouses who voluntarily submit to their season of celibacy rather than violate their holy matrimony vows and defile their one-flesh union are advancing the kingdom of God.    Under today’s unilateral divorce laws, we have many who should be doing this, and relatively few true disciples who actually are obeying Him in it.    Servant apparently regards this obedient containing of our vessels as “castration”.   (The eye and hand reference was hyperbole, by the way, but the eunuch reference is not at all hyperbole in its usage, but rather a very straightforward analogy, with Servant still managing to see it as “hyperbole” with his jaded, humanistic eye.)

The next suggestion is interesting, indeed:   “None of us think Jesus actually wants us literally to “hate father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters” (Luke 14:26) if we hope to be one of His disciples.”
Apparently our author friend acts like he has never encountered the Hebrew idiom before, whereby “hate” needs to be interpreted as “not love x more than we love Jesus”.      That doesn’t change the truth that if we DO choose to love an “x” (including this life) more than we love Jesus, that’s called  idolatry, and idolaters indeed cannot be His disciples.   Servant would shamelessly suggest, just as Lucifer the serpent would, that this creates justification to not feel bound to obey Christ’s clear moral teachings and commandments.    The Serpent’s question is:  “Did God REALLY say??”    The gospel according to Servant is that when Jesus is speaking of adultery, we are not to take it as a literal damning sin if there is a piece of civil or church paper claiming it’s OK, because He might not have “literally” meant it.

Perhaps when all a supposed bible scholar can say is, “perhaps”:  “perhaps” this, and “perhaps” that, he is speculating and doesn’t have anything authoritative to say at all.    Perhaps, if he made an honest attempt to comprehensively apply all of the core principles of sound hermeneutics, including Context, Context, Culture, Comparison and Consultation,  instead of mentioning one or two of them in shallow passing (and misapplication) he would be instantly exposed as someone contradicting Jesus, just because he rejects His authority to define moral absolutes, but is who is perfectly willing to offer up the lip service.    (Perhaps.)

There is one small point on which SIFC and Servant are in agreement, even though there is no such thing as a “Christian” who is “married” to someone else’s God-joined spouse.   One can be a Christ-follower or one can be an ongoing adulterer, but one cannot be both at the same time.   There is no such thing as a  “Christian” marriage to the spouse of another living person (much less “millions” of them, no matter how “heartless”  this truth is painted as being.)   It is a sure pathway to hell, just as Jesus and Paul repeatedly warned it was.    That said, the moniker that the integrity-of-the-biblical-family movement (a.k.a. “Marriage Permanence”) has taken on is indeed a bit imprecise.   As Servant puts it,

The tragic irony of the Divine Divorce Doctrine is that its adherents often identity themselves as promoters of “marriage permanence,” yet they are helping to destroy Christian marriages, and if they had their way, millions of married Christian couples would divorce as they repented of their “adulterous marriages.” It seems bizarre to identify yourself as being an advocate for “marriage permanence” when you hope to convince millions of married Christians to break their vows and divorce.

SIFC agrees wholeheartedly with the first sentence above and has made this same argument many times to peers and leaders in the narrow-path movement.     Every covenant usurper hopes their purloined “marriage” will be permanent — unless, of course, jobs are lost, flowers are no longer purchased, somebody gets fat or “comes out” as gay.   The civil divorce rates are substantially higher for legalized adultery than holy matrimony, and mercifully so, in light of what the bible repeatedly states are the eternal consequences of dying in that state.    The alternative term this page advocates in place of “marriage permanence” eliminates all ambiguity — marriage indissolubility.    But I return to the point that “marriage” has to be properly defined according to both of the non-negotiable elements of Matthew 19:4-6 according to Christ, one of which is lifelong indissolubility, and the other is complementarity.   We will defer discussion of the issue of “vow-breaking” to the next rebuttal of Part 2, since the topic is germane there.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.   For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.  –  Matthew 7:12-14

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