Category Archives: morality

This One Keeps Coming Up Like a Bad Penny ….Anabaptist Error Revisited

Pilgrimministry.org2by Standerinfamilycourt

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
– 2 Timothy 2:15

For the second time this year, our Facebook page has been messaged concerning a false teaching that has been circulating in a branch of the Mennonite community.     In the first instance, a never-married woman had married a Christian man, but appeared to have grown disenchanted with him.     Since this man had been very briefly married after eloping on a lark to Vegas prior to that, and the prior civil marriage was civilly-annulled after a matter of days, wife #2 wanted our affirmation of her thoughts to leave this man and remain alone in her contemplated repentance from what she saw as remarriage adultery.   She cited Anabaptist materials she had been reading.

We told her it’s not that simple in her borderline situation, where there had been strong indications there was not really mutual consent between this prior pair to leave, cleave and form a home.    Hence, there was legitimate question whether an all-knowing God had joined this prior pair into a one-flesh (Greek: sarx mia) entity with which He would then covenant unconditionally.   Understandably, she received differing views from equally-committed. solid leaders in the marriage permanence community about whether or not her husband’s prior annulled nuptials in “Sin City – what happens here stays here”  constituted holy matrimony.    Most cases are pretty cut-and-dried,  but this is one of the rare situations that remain questionable, given the circumstances.   Ultimately, blessedly,  this extrabiblical  Anabaptist dogma, though briefly considered by the confused lady, didn’t influence a bad decision on her part.  The Holy Spirit ultimately convicted her to stay with her (likely) one-flesh covenant husband whose prior civil “marriage” just didn’t quite come together in Christ, but her own mutually-consenting, leaving-and-cleaving subsequent union entailed valid vows, sobriety, and Christian witnesses.   Praise be to God!

In the second instance, a lady told us she had repented and divorced out of a clearly adulterous first marriage with a man divorced from a covenant wife, after she became aware of the true biblical teaching.   She went on to marry a never-married Christian man and she mentions they have six children together, but she correctly acknowledged that this circumstance shouldn’t be the deciding factor.   She told us that a man in her Christian community is saying this covenant marriage is “unlawful” and she should leave it, which is why she PM’d our page, asking about an article by a different Mennonite or Brethren author raising similar arguments as the first article we rebutted earlier in the year.

Let’s take this second article’s more detailed claims point-by-point to test whether the major premise of this Anabaptist dogma is true, i.e., that someone repenting in fear of God from an adulterous remarriage is equally bound to both (or all) prior spouses, and may not return to any of them, but must remain single and celibate for the remainder of their days, rather than pursue reconciliation with their exclusive God-joined one-flesh partner (with whom God is still uniquely covenanting, per Mal. 2:14).

First however, let’s talk about what constitutes a heresy, because this one might fall a tad short of that, hence we are choosing to call it an error.    A heresy has often been defined as an unbiblical or extrabiblical belief or tenet that is so profoundly severe and misleading that if embraced and observed, it will send an otherwise saved person to hell.     That seems like a good working definition to “standerinfamilycourt”.     The “exception clause”, Pauline privilege” and “annulment” doctrines,  as well as “once-saved-always-saved (“OSAS“) are all clear-cut heresies that can and do send millions to hell from out of our church pews.    Observance of this Anabaptist tenet is similar to asceticism in the early church.    If embraced and observed, it hinders our walk with the Lord and might lead to the embrace of more serious heresies, but it is unlikely to send adherents to hell, in an of itself.   This one likely causes great tragedy in covenant families, because to an emotionally-ravaged victim of the Sexual Revolution who doubts the way forward, this one feels “safe” to adopt.    However, satan is still stealing from this person!May the Holy Spirit intervene, convict and correct, so that he doesn’t get away with it!    Others may disagree with this category, and that’s fine.    

This author begins by asserting:

“Many Mennonites would not tell her [the hypothetical, contemporary “Samaritan woman” who shows up at church] to marry the last partner and go on living with him. They have a different solution. Their answer is that this woman should reunite with her first husband.  “The one whom thou first hadst”,  they would say,  “He is thy husband.”

This logic is based on the following line of thought. The first idea is that only the first marriage was a marriage. When this woman and her first husband divorced, God did not recognize that divorce. These two were still married. When she found a second man, and went through the ritual of marriage, it was no marriage. God only recognized a second relationship as adultery. All subsequent marriages are only adultery. There is nothing to any of the divorces or remarriages. Therefore, if a person desires to be in God’s will, he will seek to return to the first marriage.

But what would Jesus say? “

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  The author is here referring to the conservative Mennonites,  but this author himself represents another sect within the Anabaptists, we note.    We don’t have to speculate what Jesus would say, because we know what He clearly did say, as well as what Paul said, corroborating Jesus and elaborating on what He said on the matter.    We also have the unanimous writings of the early church fathers whom the apostles discipled over the next 400 years after both Jesus and Paul were gone.    All of it vindicates those “many Mennonites” this author is disparaging for their absolutely correct view that the God-joined, one-flesh covenant spouse of our youth is the only spouse God recognizes, as long as both shall live.   Homosexuals “marry” these days, too.   That does not make their unions holy matrimony.   Only the exclusive one-flesh state joined by God under valid vows makes the union holy matrimony.   Only rebellious man “joins” subsequent unions, and the result in all such cases is satan’s counterfeit, (Greek:  hen soma).

So what did Jesus actually say?

And He answered and said,  “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  and said,  “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?    So they are no longer 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 been this way.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC: The man leaves his FATHER and MOTHER, not a prior living spouse (to whom he would still be inseverably joined, actually).   God took only one rib out of Adam for a reason.    The one-flesh (Greek: sarx mia) entity is exclusive and supernatural.   It is created only by God’s hand upon valid vows,  ahead of the physical consummation.   It can only be severed by God’s hand (through physical death alone).  To say otherwise is to slander God’s actions and character, to directly contradict His messengers such as Paul and such as Jesus Himself, and to deny what He has clearly revealed about Himself in the whole of scripture.  It is to suggest that Jesus the Bridegroom would take and keep more than one church as His bride.   FB profile 7xtjw

The author continues….

“Let us examine again the words of Jesus and the woman at the well in their conversation related to her marriage situation. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (John 4:16-18)

“Jesus’ teaching is simple. In essence He said,  “You have had five husbands, now you have none.  “Jesus did not tell her that her first marriage partner was her husband. He did not investigate who her first partner was who had never been married.  He did not inquire who she was married to last. He did not say “This is thy husband.”   Rather, after addressing the situation of having had multiple marriages and now living outside marriage, he agreed, “Thou hast well said, I have no husband.”  His answer clarifies that the way to holiness in a multiple marriage arrangement is to live without a spouse.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   We have previously debunked the abuse of the Samaritan woman narrative because it is also a favorite rationalization of the remarriage apologists who find it hard to resist the fact that contemporary translations appear to render all five men as valid “husbands”,  nor can they resist the urge to embellish where John is quite sparing with the details.   (This is called speculation.)    It should be pretty clear from the context that the indwelling Holy Spirit is not going to allow this woman to continue “shacking up”,  but neither is she free to marry the man, since the chances are so high of a surviving covenant husband with whom she is still joined.    The conventional argument goes that the account “doesn’t say” that Jesus ordered her to leave her live-in boyfriend.    That’s neither here nor there.   Immoral relationships always constitute the idolatry of self-worship, so we know that particular relationship she was currently in had to go, with or without civil paper.

Beyond that, we don’t know if her first husband was still alive, maybe so, maybe not.    If he was not, that broke the one-flesh binding relationship, but even if he was deceased, we don’t know whether she entered into an adulterous remarriage under Mosaic regulations before or after he died.    The argument that Jesus didn’t interrogate her for the circumstances is irrelevant.   She was born again, and then sat at His feet, where she no doubt subsequently heard Him teach the one-flesh and unconditional covenant principles.   Like all of us, the indwelling Holy Spirit led her to the truth, including the truth about the ministry of reconciliation which, since Jesus commanded, “what God has joined, let no man put asunder” should obviously begin with her one-flesh mate.  She would have learned about the requirement to forgive, and the requirement to leave her offering on the altar and first go be reconciled with her brother.    She had no husband under man’s law,  but we just don’t know whether she still had one under God’s law.    We’re just not told, and we have to live with that, without further speculation either way.

But, and if she does leave, let her remain (Greek: agamos – without a new wedding) or else be reconciled to her husband.”     –  1 Cor. 7:11

Pretty straightforward, actually.   FB profile 7xtjw

Author:

“How do people ever get to the point where they think a divorced and remarried person should go back to the first companion?”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   This is also straightforward.  See Paul’s clear instruction above.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.   What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate….”

Jesus was here not only saying that man’s divorce is immoral, He was also saying it is impossible in the case of those whom God has supernaturally, instantaneously joined as one flesh.    This is consistent with Paul asserting that only death severs that bond, not any other act of men.    

“.. from the beginning it has not been this way.

There is no Creation account of God establishing a provision for man’s divorce.    That was never any part of His metaphysical plan, despite the prevalence of wishful belief to the contrary.      Jesus should know, since He was one of the witnesses at the wedding of Adam and Eve.   He was there.  FB profile 7xtjw

This author continues from here with a mostly semantic argument that is the heart of his false belief that all “marriages” are morally interchangeable:

“This conclusion is reached after a person has begun to believe a few half-truths and to build conclusions on them.

“The first half truth is that “God never recognizes divorce.”   Once when an individual endeavored to support this he was simply asked, “In what passage do you find that taught?”  After thinking a while he had to admit it isn’t taught any where in the Old or New Testaments.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  See above.   We have just explained precisely where it’s “directly taught”, specifically, Matthew 19:6 and 8.   It is also indirectly taught every time Jesus called remarriage ongoing adultery — a sin that is obviously committed by people who are still married.    However, because the concept of “divorce” (purported “dissolution” of holy matrimony and purported “severance”, by other than death, of the one-flesh state) is entirely man-contrived, it cannot be true that God NEVER recognizes it.   If the “marriage” was never valid to begin with, due to the undissolved union with an estranged one-flesh spouse, or perhaps due to its sodomous basis given recent changes in man’s law, the civil divorce only has its effect for that reason and to that extent.   Otherwise, with a God-joined union, man’s divorce has NO kingdom of God effect. FB profile 7xtjw

“It is true that God hates divorce, read Malachi 2:16 for this teaching. But every where a person was divorced, the Bible calls it divorce or putting away, and if a new relationship was established it is always called a marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   A common error is to ignore the clear and obvious context of Malachi 2 so that it can then be claimed that God hates all divorce, and therefore God’s rebuke in this chapter applies to “all” legal marriages.   That idea gets a bit problematic when man’s law of marriage no longer reflects any aspect of God’s definition of holy matrimony, and when church leadership long ago showed themselves unwilling to demand church-state alignment as a condition under which they would continue to act as an agent of the state in signing the civil marriage licenses.    There is also a contextual leap from the ancient Hebrew concept of “putting away” (immoral abandonment), to the modern adversarial litigation we have today, which is designed to abuse the power of the state to repudiate obligations, confiscate assets and wither parental rights, and so forth, participation in which is a direct violation of 1 Cor. 6:1-8.

Before one can glibly say something like what the author has said about semantically calling both lawful and unlawful unions “marriage”, and biblically immoral (or biblically moral) severance of those unions “divorce”,  it is necessary to examine the original texts, as well as the context behind the text, before accepting the English translation at face value.   There are literally dozens of Greek and Hebrew words that get translated “divorce” in English.   The same God who is claimed to “hate” all divorce still commanded in the book of Ezra that more than 140 unlawful unions with foreign “wives” (who could very well have been mostly polygamous concubines), along with all the children from those “marriages” be “put away”.    In those unlawful cases, even though there were children, there was no union technically to “dissolve” and nothing but fornication or adultery to sever.      In the case of a biblically lawful marriage, “dissolution” is biblically impossible, and severance of the one-flesh state is accomplished only by death.

Just because a new relationship is established, it does not follow that God supernaturally joins it as described by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6.   The “wives” in Ezra are an example of this, mostly because the widespread practice of concurrent polygamy meant that most of these men were already God-joined to the wife of their youth, hence they could not be joined as  sarx mia by the hand of God to a second wife, foreign or not.   If there’s no sarx mia, there’s no unconditional covenant with God participating, and therefore no holy matrimony.   If there’s no holy matrimony, but a living original wife, the subsequent relationship is adultery, and remaining in that relationship is sinful.    Continuing to reject one’s holy matrimony union by ongoing abandonment is equally sinful.   God called it treachery and violence, warning that a lack of repentance would corrupt a man’s generations.   It was not the man-contrived paper, He was rebuking as treachery and violence, it was the actual abandonment.

Even the most casual reading of Malachi 2 shows on its face that God’s rebuke is to the priestly class who were putting away the wife of their youth, in order to enter into an unlawful union with a pagan woman under the guise of “remarriage”.   The fact that God expressly says “I stand as a witness between you and the wife of your youth…” shows that He did not accept this subsequent arrangement as a lawful marriage.   Nor did He consider the original marriage bond dissolved by either the illicit “get” or the formation of that other relationship.   It goes without saying that since the priest remained one-flesh (sarx mia) with the wife of his youth, a bond absolutely unsevered by man’s paper,  God did not join that second union, which was only (hen soma)  which is no better than the case with the common prostitute Paul speaks of in 1 Cor. 6:16.

God goes on to expressly refer to the cast-off one-flesh wife (post-that legal divorce)  as “the companion of your marriage covenant“, saying she IS (not “was“) so.    The Hebrew text for Malachi 2:16 shows that the “putting away” that God hates is actually the spiritual, moral and financial abandonment of one’s literal “rib”, of which there is just one, bone-of-his-bones-and-flesh-of-his-flesh,  along with the offspring from that union.    Saying that God hates “putting way”  (Hebrew: shalach) does not necessitate the view that God considers the union “severed” or “dissolved” by the “get”, otherwise He would not be “standing as a witness”, nor demanding repentance of this faithless husband before fellowship with Him can be restored.
What form does that repentance necessarily take if the moral offense is abandonment  of the wife of his youth only?    FB profile 7xtjw

“Some maintain that Jesus taught the second marriage is not a marriage but is only adultery. But they are the ones who put the “only” in the thought, Jesus never did. Jesus said when a divorced person marries again he committeth adultery. But he never said, He only commits adultery. Think about what Jesus was saying in the context. Jesus was speaking to persons who believed adultery was wrong because the seventh commandment says so. What they were confused with was “What is adultery?”   They had come to believe there were various legitimate ways to put away one’s companion and remarry.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Jesus did indeed not teach that marrying another while having a living, estranged spouse is “only” adultery, because that would be drastically understating the severity of the sin.   In addition to adultery, this sin also reflects idolatry (self-worship),  bearing false witness, theft and covetousness, not to even mention the ongoing state of unforgiveness of one’s exclusive one-flesh companion.      Instead of saying that non-widowed remarriage was “only” adultery, what He actually said was that this was ongoing adultery.     In each account of His saying this, the Greek text records that He consistently used the present-indicative verb tense, reflecting a continuous, ongoing state of sin, and not just an act of sin.     It seems apparent the only rogue insertion of the word “only” is by this author!

It doesn’t really matter to the context of the passage what His carnal, deluded audience had “come to believe”.   Jesus was there to set them straight, and was declaring a new order with heaven-or-hell consequences.   He was hereby raising the moral bar,  the religious leaders didn’t like it but were nevertheless subject to it, and that is the full context of the passage.    FB profile 7xtjw

“When Jesus dealt with the subject of remarriage after divorce, he pronounced a clear “This is adultery” to these people. Obviously He intended they realize divorcing and remarrying could never be acceptable in God’s eyes, all who did so were turned toward judgement. But Jesus never said it was only adultery and not a marriage. Every place the scripture records a person being joined to another after divorce he is said to be married. Read Mark 6, especially verse 17, and Romans 7:1-3, for some illustrations of this.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   This is repetition of the same semantic argument, where we dealt just above with the author’s insertion of “only”,  but pointed out that Jesus said something much stronger than that it was “only” adultery.     The further claim that Jesus “never said it was not a marriage”  is completely nonsensical.     A continuously sinful state of adultery is  mutually exclusive of the state of holy matrimony.    If Jesus  declared something to be red, one cannot very well argue that it could possibly be blue, just because Jesus didn’t explicitly say it wasn’t blue.    The author is trying to have it both ways,  claiming that a serially polygamous union can be adultery and “marriage” at the same time.   He needs it to be both ways to say (truthfully) in the first instance that the unlawful union needs to be separated from (because it is adultery),  and then prop up his false claim that the lawful true marriage must not be reconciled ( because he claims the adultery also a “marriage” which is then presumed morally equivalent to the holy matrimony union).    He can’t have it both ways!

Furthermore, the Greek language used by Jesus and Paul for God-joining and carnal, illicit joining was entirely different in every respect.
sarka_oneflesh2
If someone is already joined by God as part of a one-flesh entity, of which Jesus said they will never again be two (Matt. 19:6), that person is not available for God to join them to another until death severs the existing entity.    This is precisely why Paul echoed the same in the Romans 7 passage this author cites, and repeats the assertion in 1 Cor. 7:39.

Mark 6:17 refers to the unlawful serial polygamy between Herod, whose real wife was the daughter of King Aretas of Petra (whom the historian Josephus states that he divorced), and Herodias whose living exclusive one-flesh was Phillip.      The claim is that because the passage says that Herod “married” Herodias, the “marriage” was binding as such in God’s eyes.     Had the Apostle Mark been recording some point about the legalized nuptials between a pair of homosexuals, what alternative word would he have used to the word “marry”?     If Herod had instead “married” a sister or a natural daughter,  under wicked civil laws that permitted such,  would the semantic word for this have changed?     It should be painfully obvious in this day and age that not all “marriage” is holy matrimony, nor is it morally equivalent to holy matrimony.   FB profile 7xtjw

“So we see that God does recognize divorce, it just is never lawful. And God recognizes a remarriage, but it is an unlawful, or an adulterous marriage.

Therefore, since the second marriage is a marriage, and since the second marriage is not lawful, the only conclusion to this problem is  “Thou hast well said I have no husband.”   If we say this we agree perfectly with our Lord as he gently prodded the woman toward a life of fulfillment in Himself alone.”

 FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:    God does indeed recognize divorce–as a purely man-made contrivance that becomes a necessary step of repentance from another man-made contrivance called “remarriage”.     What God does not recognize is “dissolution” of an unconditional covenant in which He is an unconditional participant for as long as both original spouses live.     Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, 8 that divorce of holy matrimony is not only immoral, it’s impossible, because only death dissolves that covenant.    But holy matrimony only exists where God has created the one-flesh entity and has become a party to the unconditional covenant.  How can a holy God even be accused of covenanting with adulteryMalachi 2:13-14 makes it abundantly clear that He does not!

Once the claim is discredited that what Jesus called adultery is  in fact, “marriage” for kingdom of God purposes, it becomes no longer necessary to make the additional false claim that an estranged, rejected wife “has no husband” if she is not actually widowed.    Lying is never a solution to any inconvenient dilemma, especially one actually created by the cowardice of clergy.   In fact, Rev. 21:8 says that it could land us in the lake of fire if we make speaking falsehood our practice.    The life of fulfillment in Him alone applies to all of us regardless of our marital status, and regardless of the intactness of our true marriage. FB profile 7xtjw

Besides, Jesus was also speaking to a people who believed they could never return to their first companion. Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and Jeremiah 3:1 for this Old Testament teaching. Going back to the first partner wasn’t even in their thinking.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: The abuse of these two scriptures to support various marriage heresies has been addressed with hermeneutical rigor in our “Stop Abusing Scripture” series.      This author has not made much of a consistent attempt to justify his viewpoint hermeneutically,  which always leads to sloppy, unsupportable conclusions.     Once again, why is it relevant what Christ’s audience erroneously believed if the fact was that Jesus had come to usher in a much higher moral order than what had evolved under layered-on abuses of Mosaic law?     Does it matter what was in their thinking, when Christ’s mission was to change their thinking and give them the mind of Christ?    Their thinking was “eye-for-an-eye, and tooth-for-a-tooth”,  but Jesus was there to change their thinking to leaving vengeance to the Lord.     Their thinking was that living in a state of irreconciliation was “just the way it is”,  but Jesus said not to even try to worship or offer sacrifice, but to mend the relationship first.   FB profile 7xtjw

Churches who do not accept Jesus’ teaching on the matter, or are confused on the issue face a perplexing situation.  Let us try to follow their line of thinking and see what confusion it begets.  We will approach each case as if we believe what they teach. This is very complex so we shall use names that fit in the alphabet with the letter they start with.  Lets start down alphabet line with a name like Danny.

Danny is presently remarried to Evelyn. His first wife was named Carrie. Now if Carrie was married before, then according to this teaching, Danny should stay with Evelyn.  But if Carrie was not married before, then Danny should break up with Evelyn and seek to be remarried to Carrie.  Follow the logic?  Simple, right? Only the first marriage is valid according to this thinking.

Let’s take it one step farther. Let’s say Carrie was married before to Ben.   Ah, then Carrie and Danny’s marriage was not a marriage. But wait a minute, we didn’t check things out far enough. Ben was married before too. He had married Alice for one month, and divorced to marry Carrie.  Now his marriage to Carrie is not legitimate, then Carrie’s marriage to Danny was legitimate so Danny’s marriage to Evelyn is not!  And of course if Alice was married before to Zachary, then the whole cart is upset again!

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  Oh what a tangled web we weave!   Very well done, Bro. Ebersole!    You have described precisely the right approach:   identify the one-flesh joining between the first combination of never-married and widowed spouses, who therefore are not inseverably-joined to someone else still living.      A famous avoidance tactic of anyone who wants to substitute their own theory for the authoritative and unpopular truth, is to argue to the extreme or exaggerated case.   Godless liberals do this all the time to promote the perceived “necessity” of corrupt things like abortion and unilateral divorce.     Christ-followers should never sink to this level.   They should have far more fear of God, and faith in Him than to resort to this kind of emotional manipulation.    Do we not check title on the houses, cars and recreation vehicles we buy?   Why to do we do that?   Because there’s an outside chance the person selling those items to us is not authorized to do so, and perhaps has even stolen them.   We know the law in most places will then make us give them back, and if we didn’t, we’d be breaking the 9th and 10th commandments.   Why is the choice of our life partner with whom we hope for an indissoluble covenant, until death do us part, less worthy of this care and prudence in obedience to Christ?

The ultimate source of our human arguments against the clear word of God is actually satan.   Who of us truly wants to align with satan?    Yes, getting out of adulterous remarriages that never should have desecrated the sanctuary of God in the first place (considering who had full control of that, after all?)  is messy, disruptive and makes the church “look bad”.    Indeed, it should!   It’s not like these commandments were “sprung” on unsuspecting pastors who must now muddle through all this complexity, in order to “seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God”  — least of all, Anabaptists.  Whom was it who deliberately chose to fear men more than God?

This page has many people contact us with complex situations and seeking answers.   This is a great honor and not a burden, but it’s also not a light responsibility to be faithful to God’s word in those answers.     If those answers aren’t faithful to rightly-divided scripture, teachers are held to a stricter judgment, James warns.    In practice, however, rarely is the complexity of such a situation more than a couple of layers deep.    As mentioned above, one situation was borderline due to the length of a civilly-annulled union where it was clear there was no intent for a lifelong union with either partner, and cohabitation was taking place both before and a few days after the faux ceremony.    It was not borderline due to any chain of previous faux nuptials.

In the extreme hypothetical example given,  one can start at the bottom and work backwards (we’ll keep this skill in mind in case we do get a complex inquiry some day).    Alice was made one-flesh with Zachary by the hand of God, regardless of overturned apple carts.     They should have obeyed 1 Cor. 6:1-8 rather than go before a pagan judge for a piece of worthless paper.    Carrie needs to pray to reconcile and return to her one-flesh, unless he’s dead.  If he is dead, she is free to remarry a widow or a never-married person, but not someone else’s estranged spouse.    (A person is never-married only if God has never made them one-flesh with an eligible person who is still living.)  Ditto for Ben.   If it’s truly necessary to draw a picture in order not to defile one’s vessel and misrepresent the Bridegroom before a watching world, then do it!   Danny and Evelyn can then enjoy their supernatural one-flesh holy matrimony joining in peace and with a clear conscience, raising any non-covenant children with a biblically-explained righteous example.    That does frequently happen because God would rather restore families than send people to hell, and as with all sacrificial obedience to Christ’s hard commandments, it tends to work out a lot better for the next generation than, “do as I say, not as I do.”

This Zachary-Alice-Ben-Carrie-Danny-Evelyn picture is painted from pastor’s perspective with his own “inconvenience” in mind, but what of the responsibility of those contemplating marriage with someone?    Is it really that inconvenient to ask a couple of questions  first?   Questions like, is your “ex” still alive?   Yes?   Was she married to anyone else before?    No?  Then have you considered that God wants the two of you to reconcile?”    That’s called soul-care!    Do you love them enough to also love their eternal soul?   After all, since this is a metaphysical matter to which there are no “exceptions”, it is then not necessary to ask a “divorced” prospective spouse things like, did your “ex” commit adultery, abuse you, marry you while you were unsaved, (etc. etc.) ?   FB profile 7xtjw

“Do you see what we have? We have a situation where the validity of a marriage is determined by whether two persons in an entirely different situation happened to marry or whether they committed fornication over an extended period of time. We have a situation where that means more than the fact that Danny made marriage vows to keep himself only unto both Carrie and to Evelyn.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  We dealt at length with invalid vows in the first posting on this erroneous teaching, as well as in our rebuttals of Dr. John Piper’s similar views (i,e., that all vows are equally binding). but would here like to share verbatim what we told the lady who approached us with this Anabaptist article and with the torment of having a Mennonite person tell her that her biblically-valid current marriage was adulterous and must be exited just because this was her second civil husband, without the necessary “inconvenient” inquiry into the facts:

Dear Mrs. P,
It’s quite common, but not actually biblically-supported, to assume that all civil marriages are morally interchangeable and recognized equally by God. That can’t be true at all because nobody who’s ever lived has been joined as part of a one-flesh entity to more than one living person at a time, and God’s character is such that He’s never once cancelled or withdrawn from an unconditional covenant to which He was a party.

However, if Jesus repeatedly called some of the “marriages” He mentioned ONGOING adultery, how can they possibly be holy matrimony at the same time?  God only took one rib out of Adam, not two, nor three, nor four. 

Would Jesus not say to the gays today “anyone who divorces his one-flesh opposite-sex covenant wife and marries his sodomy partner commits ongoing sodomy, and everyone who marries a divorced man for this purpose commits ongoing sodomy” ?? Jesus would have little choice semantically but to call legalized sodomy a (civil-only) “marriage”, but does that make that civil-only union holy matrimony, as both of these authors argue in the heterosexual case?  Are those vows to break the first valid vow really also valid, whether adulterous or sodomous? In other words, would God hold us to vows that dishonors our previous, valid binding holy matrimony vows, and at the same time, to our vows to remain in something that God’s law also says will send us to hell if we die in that state?

Wasn’t part of your vows in both cases to actually live with that person? If you go on living with another woman’s husband, you are interfering with their binding covenant, and with their God-ordained reconciliation. If you don’t go on living with the only man who made a valid and binding vow to you, are you not sinning by making it impossible to fulfill his vow to you?

Consider the unlawful marriages that were purged (with their children) at the Lord’s demand in Ezra, chapter 10. Presumably second vows were made there, too, but that doesn’t mean that they were valid or binding in His sight. In most cases, those were polygamous vows that intrinsically dishonored their concurrent holy matrimony vows. You vowed to your first “husband” to do something that God’s word is clear will send you to hell. That is not a valid vow. Your first “husband’s vow to you was also not a valid vow because he was vowing to not keep his original covenant vow, as well as vowing to do something that the bible says will send him to hell if unrepented. A God of justice and integrity just doesn’t operate that way. Only your second vow was a holy matrimony vow, and it is the only one to which you are morally bound.

Please pray and ask the Holy Spirit if I’m right about that. It’s what the Holy Spirit has shown me. OK?

“standerinfamilycourt”

(Note that the last sentence does not reflect any uncertainty about the response we gave concerning the obligation of vows before God, but an understanding that each person we counsel needs to “own” their own major life-and-eternity-altering decisions, and they must be owned on the heart conviction level, not just the “head’ level.   In this case, the lady still had significant doubt about the issue of vows that our explanation of the nature of one-flesh, of God-joining and of unconditional covenant where God is a participant  could not dispel.  In addition, there is always a soul-tie formed from an illicit sexual relationship that must usually be cast out at some point.    We recognize that she needs the space to work though all of this before she will be at peace and not be prey to compelling heresies.   We also would tell any unbeliever who comes to us for this kind of counsel to establish a firm saving relationship with Jesus first, and then we can talk about deeper, costlier matters of following Christ.)

Human reasoning substituted for God’s word is called “humanism”, no matter how much it tries to cross-dress as “discipleship”.     Failure of His shepherds to be faithful to HIs commandments hardly makes the resulting layers of iniquity “His fault” (or fault attributable to His commandments), as this humanistic reasoning behind the hypothetical situation implies above.    It certainly doesn’t merit an extrabiblical “solution” that contradicts the instruction of Christ and the Apostles, most notably, Hermes (A.D. 100).

HermasQuote

If scripture didn’t clearly tell us twice that  is a heaven-or-hell issue, this author might have a point in his hypothetical.    But it is a heaven-or-hell issue, so obedience to it is not debatable, and blame for the manmade complexity of human immorality it is not shiftable from men back to God.

It appears from the false instructions he is advocating (to come out of all the unions, whether God-joined or not), shows that at least this author fears hell and also agrees with true followers of Christ that this is a heaven-or-hell matter.   He also shows he further agrees that hell is a place where disobedient “Christians” can still end up. That’s certainly head-and-shoulders above the level of enlightenment among remarriage apologists in the harlot church as a whole, but it’s still erroneous for another reason.   Ongoing unforgiveness and lack of moral responsibility for the generations of one’s covenant family can also be a heaven-or-hell issue.    Hindrance of the same in the covenant family of one’s faux spouse (in this case, by setting a false example) is likewise sinful and harmful to the covenant generations of that other family.   Anyone who has come out of the bondage of a faux marriage should be encouraging that former civil-only spouse to reconcile with their one-flesh partner so far as it depends on them.

Overall, this erroneous teaching is a clever example of satan resurrecting an old trick (namely, asceticism) and tweaking it a bit to see if the church will fall for it again.   After all, the last time he trotted it out in the early middle ages, after failing to get it by Paul (see 1 Cor. 7, and don’t overlook the admonition that we are to keep our own spouse),  the natural overreaction and backlash to asceticism enabled the pollution of the Reformation with two heresies that have proven very effective in destroying the biblical family and progressively corrupting civil laws ever since (creating the vicious circle the author describes in his last point) :  the false belief that born-again people cannot harden their hearts and fall away from their inheritance in the kingdom of God, paired with the equally false belief that God-joined holy matrimony is “dissoluble” by acts of men based on “permissions” and “exceptions” rather than accepting the metaphysical reality that Jesus painted in Matthew 19:6 and 8.   This metaphysical reality makes subsequent marriages not resulting from widowed circumstances not ever interchangeable with God-joined holy matrimony.FB profile 7xtjw

“In conclusion, how would you answer the woman in Bluffton? Are you willing to gently lead her to the only source for fulfillment in life, and tell her what Jesus said, “Thou hast no husband”?  This answer is the only answer the Scriptures provide in order to give a person hope of eternal life.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  The woman in Bluffton should absolutely be shown how she’s been substituting all these serial relationships for a true relationship with Jesus Christ, and that no relationship is ever going to succeed until this matter is put in order.     Since her one-flesh is still alive, however,  to tell her that “she has no husband” just because Jesus said this to the Samaritan woman at the well would be an inexcusable falsehood.     It’s entirely possible that it was literally true in her case, or it might be that this woman was thinking that her 4th “get” (Hebrew bill of divorcement) “dissolved” something that had substance to be dissolved in the first place, or actually both circumstances simultaneously.     Jesus was perfectly willing to do the work to deal with complex, inconvenient situations, and walk people through them toward righteousness.   We, however, have no business telling anyone anything that conflicts the facts or with God’s true word.    God’s word is crystal clear that only physical death dissolves holy matrimony and everything else connected with subsequent unions where a one-flesh, God-joined spouse remains alive is adultery.   Adultery and holy matrimony are mutually-exclusive and cannot both exist in the same relationship.    For the sake of our souls and our partners’ souls, we always flee adultery.   We do not flee the responsibility of reconciliation of our covenant family.   It is wrong to attempt to superimpose an element of Hebrew culture over this situation as this author has done in an effort to make his extrabiblical prescription “fit”.

This woman should be advised to exit her adulterous relationship, not commit the further idolatry of “marrying” this man, and not enter another adulterous relationship for as long as she lives.   If her actual husband dies before reconciling with her, she is then free to marry a never-married man (as clarified above) or a widower.    Until then, she should encourage her “exes” to do likewise, and she should pray for the repentance and reconciliation of her one-flesh back to God and then back to her.   She may endure a long season of celibacy, and may die celibate and unreconciled.   If so, she has still been a purposeful lighthouse as she raised this non-covenant child.   If she is blessed with covenant reconciliation, she has been a purposeful lighthouse and redeemed the soul of her one-flesh.   This is the only answer that gives her (and everyone around her in this web of relationships) hope of eternal life.

At the time the first lady contacted “standerinfamilycourt”,  yet another lady appeared to be reading these materials and embracing them, in this instance while in the process of coming out of an adulterous remarriage, and suffering backlash from some of her children for it.   This erroneous teaching appears comforting while under that kind of horrific emotional turmoil, and while knowing that not every one-flesh covenant relationship is restored on this earth.   If someone becomes a covenant marriage stander who has themselves committed the sin of divorcing their one-flesh and “marrying” another, even though they’ve repented, somehow there is considerable doubt in their heart that God is capable of that big of a miracle of forgiveness and healing in the heart of their spouse.   However, since forgiveness is a heaven-or-hell issue in and of itself (Matthew 18:23-35). that is akin to saying that God willed our spouse to not inherit the kingdom of God.    We regularly share miraculous accounts of Almighty God moving mountains to mend a covenant family, sometimes after decades of man’s divorce.    If this Anabaptist theory is correct, then those covenant reconciliations that only the hand of the Lord could have brought about are a “sin” against all subsequent adulterous “spouses”.    Quite clearly, that cannot be the case.
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The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  –  2 Peter 3:9

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legalism, Fundamentalism…and Time-Limits on Almighty God

Psalm-32-9-Posterby Standerinfamilycourt

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
– Psalms 32:8-10

Is the following reasoning not true in the carnal estimation of our contemporary “me”-vangelical culture?

Legalism is the unpopular belief that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is immoral.   (Malachi 2:16)

Fundamentalism is the far more unpopular conviction that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is impossible.  (Matthew 19:8)

Anyone who has an unconditional love relationship with Jesus Christ, and who continues to be led by the power of the Holy Spirit, instantly sees the self-righteous fault in both of the above presumptions.    Those whose love of Jesus is merely conditional will eventually wear down and will go their own way, espousing both fallacious attitudes.     Are such people lost forever?    Mercifully, no, provided they live long enough to fully surrender to His rule and unconditionally repent.      If their conversion was false, they will have a much more uphill battle to true faith from apostasy, because the Holy Spirit only indwells those who truly did die to self when they once embraced Christ.   Both the false convert and the backslider are equally lost at this point.   If their initial conversion was the real thing, His indwelling Holy Spirit, now grieved and quenched, will make them miserable on a daily basis until they forsake all of their self-worshipping ways, including faux spouses.     Either way, God’s faithful chastisement can be counted on, despite external appearances.

Actual legalism can be observed in such people long before the outright apostasy manifests in their actions and choices.     This legalism can also ripen into actual fundamentalism if it continues to grow in the heart of such a person, and this can be readily observed externally in visible elements such as the mode of dress adopted over time.     Their lack of unconditional love for Jesus often either results in a reverted desire to become indistinguishable from the surrounding lost culture in all their ways, or it can swing to the other extreme of a loss of desire to be both salty and attractive in the culture, instead becoming a walking caricature.

Esh

There was a marriage permanence retreat in Ohio Amish country recently, coincidentally timed in the aftermath of one such highly visible fall from grace of a stander who was very prominent on social media.  This retreat  drew several leaders of our movement, and discussion of that overshadowing incident seemed to be everywhere in that gathering, despite a great move of the Holy Spirit that weekend.  The hosts for that annual recurring event are gracious people of Amish heritage who sensed that their former community did not uniformly consist of true Christ-followers.   Many had come out of those Amish communities (typically, being “shunned” in the process) in order to more fully follow Christ without the legalism or fundamentalism that it becomes so easy to hide behind as a substitute for that love relationship with Him.    For the most part, this coming out did not fundamentally change their mode of dress or their characteristic reverence for holy matrimony.  It did not change their wonderful ethic of ministering to others.     They formed churches around similar values, but with Jesus firmly at the center.   Here they made traveling to participate in this retreat affordable for standers of limited resources by putting us up in their homes, where they soaked our families in prayer.   Non-standers in the community spent hours preparing and serving the meals so that standers could focus on the retreat sessions.       Former prodigals and their standers from within that community were wonderfully transparent with us about their journey, and some of the waiting standers themselves are also from that community.    This was a truly refreshing time for emotionally-battered covenant spouses who bear the tremendous burden for souls in their own family members.     Legalism and fundamentalism have little to do with our outer circumstances, and everything to do with whom or what is sitting on the throne of our individual hearts.

Early on, people who eventually fall away adopt (and make highly public) an attitude that treats peripheral matters, such as the observance of popular holidays, the day Sabbath is observed, the name by which God is referred to (etc., etc.) as heaven-or-hell issues.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.   –  Galatians 5:1

They fail to “keep their powder dry” for the relatively few actual heaven-or-hell issues.     They use harsh language and subjective name-calling that should only be reserved for backsliding issues that harden hearts and pose a true danger of falling away, or leading others away.     If such a person is a covenant marriage stander, they structure their home in a way that is so drastically different from the best of what the home their prodigal once shared with them brings to remembrance, that returning and reconciling looks increasingly unattractive to their true one-flesh, especially in comparison with the material rewards that our culture (and church) heap on legalized adulterers.    As time goes on, the floundering stander become less and less Christ-like, less ready to go the distance with a suddenly-returned prodigal, and perhaps even eventually repelling their own children from faith as they come into adulthood.     At this point in the progressive hardening of their heart, they become actual fundamentalists.    This earned label, “fundamentalist”, is no longer a badge of honor for them, but a badge of dishonor.

Sadly, such people may have tens of thousands of social media followers when they finally, publicly fall away from heart-driven obedience to Jesus, potentially taking many with them into apostasy.   Ironically, these people lose (or never actually had) the only valid motive for standing, aside from loving obedience to Jesus….deep care and burden for the eternal soul of their prodigal spouse and children.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.     –  James 3:1                 

Those of us who love Jesus, without any reservations or conditions, will learn from witnessing this fall…in an edifying way that sharply contrasts with those who follow them into apostasy.     “But for the grace of God, there go I. “

The heresy adopted in any particular case that becomes the deceitful rationalization for “marrying” another’s spouse must be uniquely creative, because if it is not highly subtle, the appearance that their own personal standards of holiness have not slidden cannot be maintained, and outright rebellion against God’s word must then be admitted.     A good rule is that any rationale for “remarrying” while having a living, estranged spouse which departs from the unchangeable principle in Matthew 19:6, 8 is automatically a heresy which results in what Jesus repeatedly called adultery.     However, there are clever ways to attack this foundational truth, and satan will not hesitate to use them.     The current popular heresy is that what Jesus said in Matthew 19:6,8 “does not apply to unbelievers”, claiming that “God does not join” those marriages into an inseverable one-flesh entity if one of the spouses was an “unbeliever” at the time of their vows.     Ironically, there is a mountain of biblical evidence against this claim in dozens of Old and New Testament couples who illustrate God’s recognition of their state of holy matrimony – without applying any religious test.    Logically, this assertion would require intact one-flesh spouses to repeat their vows after they both come to Christ, in order to not be living in “adultery”.  We see no illustration of such in all of scripture.     Only lust and idolatry make this theory appear “valid” – we readily believe what feeds our flesh if Jesus isn’t everything to us; if He isn’t truly sufficient for us.

Those of us in the marriage permanence community who stand firm should not be surprised or discouraged by any of this.    First of all, the battle is the Lord’s.    Secondly, satan’s intensified rage that we’ve recently witnessed is a testament that light always overpowers darkness, and not the other way around.    The very reason that Jesus likened us to “salt” in the first place is because salt is a preservative, of society, of our covenant families and the of the church.    As nice as a lengthy vacation from Ephesians 6 might seem to most of us, satan is not going to take his ball or his bat and go home until Jesus comes back for the third time.    We all know he is actually going to gain power for seven years after Jesus comes back for the second time.   If we don’t learn this while dealing with various and sundry apostates in the movement today,  including the high-profile ones, we can’t expect to learn it in time to be effective when our repenting prodigal suddenly returns home to our families.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.   And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.     –  Matthew 7:24

 

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
– Hebrews 10:35-38

www.standerinfamilycourt.com
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

 


One-Flesh: Preaching / Teaching Only the “What” of Marriage Indissolubility Isn’t Enough!

AugustineOneFleshby Standerinfamilycourt

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.    The Lord God  fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.   The man said,

This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
–  Genesis 2:21

To our post-1970’s divorce culture these words, spoken by Adam and penned by Moses, aren’t too controversial, so long as everyone agrees that the “become-one-flesh” part is a human, sexual, gradual, “natural law” process.    That way, any number of “ribs” are perfectly interchangeable, even though the Lord saw fit to take only one rib out of the man.    But living spouses aren’t morally interchangeable!   Jesus didn’t agree at all that becoming one-flesh (sarx mia) was a gradual or even a primarily sexual process.  He came along and said a whole bunch of things in one short, controversial passage,  Matthew 19:5-6, that strongly suggested this process is not at all natural, gradual or interchangeable as the humanists would like, but supernatural, instantaneous, individually God-accomplished–ahead of and  independently of the physical consummation.…and (therefore) inseverable.     Then Paul followed along to confirm twice that only death severs this God-created one-flesh entity,  going so far as to say in Ephesians 5…

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.   This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

This topic has been urgently on SIFC’s heart over the past several weeks due to a trio of recent events.     There is a Thursday night conference call arranged and hosted by one of the “standers” as part of his ongoing ministry to other covenant marriage standers where typically someone gives a detailed testimony, then the call is opened up to questions from others on the call.     One recent Thursday, the featured speaker was a pastor with a congregation who teaches the biblical truth that man’s divorce does not dissolve holy matrimony, and that remarriage after man’s divorce is almost always adultery–other than the rare instance where the divorce was a repenting divorce and where only one of the partners has a living, estranged true spouse.     On the same call was also a second marriage permanence pastor who joined in to the question period.      SIFC took the opportunity to commend both pastors, but was concerned about all the crazy, heretical teachings out in the “marketplace of (evangelical) ideas” that compete with the biblical truth, even among the stander community,  and asked,

“Praise God that both of you courageously preach the truthful ‘what’ of marriage permanence.    But it’s one thing to speak of ‘permanence’ and quite another thing to more precisely speak of ‘indissolubility’.   Do you ever have occasion to preach on the concept of one-flesh, or the ‘why’ behind Jesus calling remarriage adultery?”

There was a long moment of quiet as thoughts were gathered by the two preachers on the call.    SIFC asked if they understood the question, and realized that this might actually not have occurred to either one of them before.    They both said they understood, but SIFC clarified that the question was based on Matthew 19:6, and Jesus describing a supernatural, instantaneous process by the hand of God, and that the New Testament speaks in several other places about the implications of that truth — so, do they ever speak on that topic?    Both preachers on the call said that they didn’t think their congregations could “handle” that kind of packaging, saying… “we try to bring the hard truths to our people as gently as we can, without running them off.   There are people in our congregation who would be offended due to their loved ones being remarried.”     (Therefore, due to the sensitivities involved, those congregations only get the “what”, but at least they get that much of the truth, which is better than the silence or false teaching that most congregations get.)

The second incident relates to a certain brother in the permanence movement who seems to be growing weary after a few years in his stand for the rebuilding of his covenant family,  and he seems to be “re-evaluating”.      He and others are currently embracing an extrabiblical theory, that God only joins two believers in this inseverable one-flesh state,  therefore believers shouldn’t be “unequally-yoked” with unbelievers, and furthermore, God would never so “yoke” them.     This seems to be the “heresy-du-jour”,  such as satan brings along every few months, seeking whom he can devour, perhaps even supplanting, for now, the pair of wicked Judaizing heresies we were so fiercely wrestling with a few months ago.    We standers live daily on the fierce front line of spiritual warfare, fighting with all our might for our families, and giving satan a major black eye every day.   Our lives are filled with wearying conflicts with many others in our world, including other believers whom we love and respect.   The emotional exhaustion makes any one of us a prime target at any time for falling into deception.  This man knows his bible well,  and the Good Book is chock full of historical examples in both the Old and New Testaments against this false notion, so we can only pray the emotions and urges he is suffering will subside, and this brother is refreshed in the Lord again soon.   Until then, may our faithful Father place dense thornbushes in this brother’s path to keep him from walking out the deception.
(Update: this man has now apostasized and entered into an adulterous “marriage” with another man’s estranged covenant wife.  Willful, unrepentant adulterers forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God, and, losing their freedom in Christ, they come under the dominion of satan.)

Most marriage heresies are quite easily discredited with a firm and steadfast understanding of the biblical one-flesh concept because most such heresies ignore or violate this truth,  but in this instance, satan seems to be whispering (Pssst…did God really say?)  against even this core truth, by falsely claiming that God only joins a certain few (believers only)  in that instantaneous, supernatural inseverable entity.
MarriageHeresy
Therefore, as this carnal reasoning goes, the battle-weary stander should be able to remarry after a valiant effort at standing, without Jesus calling it adultery if their unbelieving spouse civilly divorced them.     By this same logic, however, most marriages that ever existed throughout all time in any culture have been mere fornication under civil-paper unions, including Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar, Ahab and Jezebel,  Herod and the daughter of Aretas,  Herodias and Philip,  and Timothy’s parents.  Under this logic, John the Baptist only laid down his head on the executioner’s block for the sin of “incest” (since supposedly God did not join either of the pagan unions involved), and Paul was urging believers to remain in a fornicating civil-only relationship in the hopes of evangelizing a spouse who wasn’t born again…

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.   –  1 Corinthians 7:12-14

Sanctification without an authentic, supernatural one-flesh joining in place, and without God covenanting with that entity?   Not likely!

The third incident happened to SIFC at a recent weekend retreat held by the womens’ ministry at a former church, where Day 2 of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s  “Revive 17” conference was being simulcast to remote audiences.     This year’s  theme was Titus 2, which begins….

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Various segments of the excellent day-long presentation featured speakers who each addressed some aspect of verses 3 to 5 of Titus 2:  Reverent behavior, Self-Control, Loving husbands well,  Being a worker at home, Submission,  and….Purity.    Each segment was preceded by a clever skit to set the tone for the speaker.    Just before the lunch break came the segment on Purity, and that skit unfolded thusly:

Two young married ladies were meeting up in a coffee shop at the request of one of them (Girl #1)  in order to talk about her unhappiness with her covenant marriage, and the (married) man she had just met who, of course,  was “wonderful in every way”, unlike the toad she was married to.    Girl #2 listened attentively, then attempted to bring a reality-check into the situation by asking various questions.    Girl #1 finally figured out that she was not going to get any approval for her plans to pursue an adulterous relationship, so she lit into Girl #2:  “it’s all easy for you to say, since you’re married to Mr. Perfect-and-Wonderful.   You think I don’t deserve to be happy just because I made a mistake in who I married.”     A moment of heavy silence, then Girl #2 says “There’s something I have to tell you.    Steve is my second husband.    I committed adultery like you’re thinking about doing, and my first husband divorced me.    It was only by the grace and the mercy of God, who brought Steve to me.” [END].

The conference participants were then called to prayer with their tablemates…while sitting right next to SIFC was the church secretary who had two years ago “married” a divorced man for the second time (her first had unfortunately passed away in his state of sin, but had been a loyal elder in the church.)    SIFC prayed aloud for sound doctrine to land in the session, based on what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-32, so that everyone would be able to see that there are actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit, and not just one.   This skit and prayer was then followed by a presentation by Dannah Gresh, where the main theme was that biblical purity is accomplished by the “grace and mercy” of God in our lives.    When the lunch break was announced afterward, the two leaders of womens’ ministry called SIFC outside for a “sisterly admonition”, details of the severity of which will be spared here.

SIFC responded to these two women’s ministry leaders that charges of “legalism” are not valid when a heaven-or-hell issue, according to biblical instruction, makes clear that real souls are at-stake.  Since Titus 2 begins with a call to “sound doctrine”, it was not “inappropriate” in an audience that included impressionable teenage girls (their own daughters, as a matter of fact), for Christ’s directly relevant teaching to bring the skit back into alignment with the scriptural truth.    One of the two pleaded that the remarriage(s) in question were not adultery because the original marriage(s) and divorce(s) occurred before some of the parties got saved, so nobody’s going to hell due to “God’s grace”.   It ended with “an agreement to disagree”, and was followed up two days later with a rebuking email to SIFC from the senior pastor of that church, who levelled a charge of “disrespect for leadership”, to which SIFC responded, in part:

“I am well aware of your close friendship with C___ and G___, and perhaps it was even you who performed their wedding (hope not), but if you really love them and want to share eternity with them, I urge you to study a lot more on this topic before you jump to the conclusion that I and a growing number of pastors (now found in quite a variety of denominations), are “wrong”.   I deeply regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to speak with C___ before that wedding as I did have an opportunity, but at the time I was still honestly questioning whether “not inheriting the kingdom of God” was the same thing as going to hell….Remarriage adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at a minimum, if not physically repented before death.  There is an excellent book written in 2007 by Joe Fogel called “One Flesh” that I just gave away my last copy of to the board of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in response to The Nashville Statement.   I will be ordering more copies for the work I am now doing full time, and would like to bring you a copy when my supply is replenished.   It does an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind all of this in an impeccably-scholarly manner.  It needed to be of this high caliber because each of those board members is a PhD seminarian.”     ( A brief “bible study” was also engaged on the oft-hijacked topic of The Unpardonable Sin in that email.   These leaders all insisted they were “not going to debate” with this blogger.   Both this pastor and Nancy D-W will be receiving a letter this week about the skit, with a complementary copy of Joe Fogel’s book.   The letter to Nancy will be covered in a separate blog post. )

The readers can readily notice that the conflict in incidents 2 and 3 are both based on the same extrabiblical premise, namely, that our vows and resulting covenants “don’t count” if they happened before we got saved.    “Standerinfamilycourt” dealt with that abusive notion in one of the blogs in the “Debunk Series” in 2015.

How did Jesus get around the “black hole” of excuses, exceptions and permissions when He had to take the same wildly unpopular stand in order to usher in the kingdom of God?    Matthew 19  and Mark 10 both tell us….He deliberately skipped past Moses’ regulations designed to mitigate carnality (the conversation the Pharisees all hoped to have with Him)  and went all the way back to the Creation to which He was personally a witness, and Moses was the historical author.    That way, He could focus the conversation on the only thing relevant to the New Covenant — namely, the old one-flesh design “from the beginning” that Mosaic regulations had trampled under foot.    Excuses, allowances and exceptions, after all, are only for those not willing to lose their life to follow Him.    Those who claim that God “made an allowance” for man’s weakness or “hard-heartedness” are pagans and phonies.    To them, anyone who preaches even the “what” is a “legalist”.    Chances are, if anyone preaches the “why” to them, they will be slandered even more severely as a “fundamentalist”, but at least then the rebellious will choose their sin over following Christ with the full information on the table, as well as its accurate context.   If even one of the already-perishing actually repents, the result would be well worth it.

Here are the top eleven additional reasons why anyone who wants anyone else to take #1M1W4Life  to heart, must be educating people about the true, biblical nature of one-flesh as the indispensible “why” behind the “what”.

11.  The culture war within Christ’s church is just as fierce and high-stakes as the outside culture war, and neither will be won otherwise.

There is a cognitive dissonance among evangelicals that makes them resistant to define adultery differently than the culture does.  Even when they embrace Christ’s Matthew 5 definition, they only embrace the part about “mental adultery”,  and they gloss right over the part about marrying the God-joined spouse of another found in verse 32, even though Jesus repeated it two more recorded times afterward.    This can be seen in a response by a Moody Bible Institute representative to a recent letter by SIFC asking them to stop broadcast programming that promotes “blended families” as not being sinful, so that true disciples can conscionably donate to their godly ministries.   Said that Programming Manager, “However I fail to see where the content in the programs you listed [ Family Life Blended and Focus on the Family] are sanctioning adultery.”   This, despite our original letter citing several explicit scriptures stating that to marry a divorced person is adultery.

10.  All marriage heresies (“annulment”, “Pauline Privilege”, “Matthean Exception”, elevated Torah observance)  have the common characteristic of being mutually exclusive of what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:6.

(Self-explanatory:  all are unauthorized  and illegitimate human attempts to put asunder what God has inseverably joined and only death can separate.)

9.  Permanence and indissolubility are not equivalent concepts.

Even an adulterous union can hope for “permanence”,  but such a union lacks indissolubility because of the absence of the authentic,  God-joined state and lack of divine covenant.    Permanent adulterous unions by Christ’s definition lead to an eternity in hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8)

8.  Even Jesus did not consider it enough to give “rules” without kingdom-based justifications.

He painted a very graphic picture in Matthew 18 of what will happen if we take justice into our own hands and refuse to forgive;  In Matthew 5, He warned that fornication and adultery are so addictive as idols that we’re better off losing the means to commit them than wind up in hell for all eternity;  again in Matthew 18, He warned that if children / grandchildren are abused and rejected because they’re in the way of our carnal desires, their angels will take up their case before Him and He will treat the transgression as if it was directed at Him.      In that vein, pastors will have a very difficult time ceasing to perform adulterous weddings over the already-married-for-life unless the groundwork of teaching and preaching on one-flesh and indissolubility occurs beforehand.   The “exceptions” must evaporate entirely, because every such “exception” endangers souls.     

7.   Correct one-flesh understanding knocks down barriers to genuine repentance and restitution needed for cleansing of sin.  

God doesn’t just “hate divorce” in Malachi 2.    He was actually saying He hated the economic and spiritual abandonment of the one-flesh spouse of our youth, and covenant children – literally, “putting away”, with or without civil sanction.    We don’t actually need a “culture of marriage” in the church.   Instead we need a culture of repentance, restitution and obedience.   Unfortunately, wicked shepherds have spent five decades creating a  situation that will entail some repenting divorces.  That is not the fault of those convicted to repent, but instead the fault of those who twisted biblical doctrines to accommodate grievous, society-destroying sin.

6.  Correct one-flesh understanding demonstrates just how immoral it was for the Reformers to cede authority over holy matrimony to the civil state.

The Roman Catholic Church falsely taught that only a wedding within that church and between two baptized members created a valid and indissoluble state of “sarx mia”, whereas Jesus taught that all valid vows between eligible couples (i.e., not already one-flesh with another living person) created inseverable “sarx mia”.     This RCC distortion directly led to an overreaction by Luther and the other “Reformers” to misuse the state to create an aura of legitimacy over that which Jesus repeatedly called adultery by restoring access to manmade “divorce” as it was among the Hebrews before Jesus abrogated those Mosaic laws.   No access to divorce is ever needed in a society unless the motive is to attempt to legitimize an immoral relationship through the illusion of “dissolution” and “remarriage”.    This is the only wicked reason for the civil state to have power over families that God never delegated.    There are other ways for the civil state to hold the adulterer responsible for his or her illegitimate offspring without claiming to “dissolve” his or her biblically valid state of holy matrimony.   Adultery partners, on the other hand, don’t deserve state protection that shields them from the natural consequences of their sinfulness at the expense of the God-ordained covenant family.  They need the consequences and censure in order to repent and redeem their soul, since they are never morally interchangeable with the living covenant spouse.   Today the civil “marriage contract” reflects no part of the definition of biblical marriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:4-6 in any state in the U.S., and any pastor who signs a civil marriage license these days as an agent of the state is saying, in effect, “I (and possibly NOT God) have joined these two people for as long as they don’t grow weary of each other or lust after someone else, of the opposite or same gender, despite the words of God I falsely spoke over them.”

5.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs believers of their anointed walk in the gifts of the holy spirit, and robs the church of all power among the pagans.

Jesus promised we would be sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit as soon as our lives are surrendered to His lordship.    When we backslide and choose to live immorally after that event, the Holy Spirit does not depart from us, but Paul tells us He is instead “grieved” and “quenched” when we do things like sleep with someone other than our God-joined one-flesh under a blanket of man’s paper and the false blessing of our church.    Such a church, in turn, is deceived out of all moral authority against satan’s schemes and attacks.   This has been recently played out in the religious freedom court wars over Christian wedding professionals being legally compelled to participate in sodomous “weddings” in an earlier blog post.

4. Failure to respect and uphold the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs the church of leadership opportunities in legislative efforts and judicial influence toward the overall good of society.

If the church deems all heterosexual marriages as morally interchangeable based on civil law, there is little incentive to conform civil law to God’s law, nor to stand up to those who claim it’s “wrong” for civil law to reflect God’s law, or for civil law to promote what’s good for eternal souls.   This likely explains how “no-fault” repeal bills could have been before the legislatures of several states in recent years, and in two adjacent states in 2017, but barely elicited a yawn from the churches of those states.   Failure to comprehend the insult to God, that violation of the one-flesh precept of God constitutes, can probably also explain why the only churches sending busloads of people to national marriage marches were the inner city and minority churches most adversely impacted economically by immoral family laws, and why issues like pot, gambling,  and bathroom access take the highest priority with Christian family policy groups in various states, with endeavors to influence family laws getting little or no funding.    To stand idly by while the nation’s family laws have been irrefutably shown to lead to the mistreatment and deprivation of innocent children instead of their “best interests”,  leading to eventual derangement of our citizens in all sorts of manifestations, is a shirking of the Creation mandate of God for His people to take dominion and to rule righteously.    

3.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state creates an implied moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual unions, despite all “hot air” to the contrary.

Remarriage that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (marrying any non-widowed divorced person) is immoral for precisely the same reason that homosexual “marriage” is immoral:   there’s no God-joining, hence no one-flesh entity created, with which He has unconditionally covenanted.   This would have been far less difficult to explain to the world if the church had not abandoned these principles in pursuit of unrighteous mammon, but as it stands, even the pagans know that serial polygamy is immoral rebellion against God, and that it is destroying society.   Cynically, some actually hope it destroys marriage  (and assessments of biblical morality) altogether.   Indeed, the need to explain these principles to the homosexualist community probably would never have arisen at all, because the Almighty would not have needed to go to such extremes to gain the attention of His bride.

2. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes church discipline to be carried out unjustly, and on the wrong members.

This point is very eloquently expressed by the testimony of a repented prodigal named Dave, who was shunned by the church for divorcing out of an immoral union with another man’s one-flesh wife:

DAVE:  “They don’t teach about the one-flesh covenant marriage relationship, so, in their eyes, a person divorced from a legitimate marriage is in the same boat as a person divorced from an illegitimate marriage.  So, can I ever marry again and not be living in sloppy-agape?
Now follow my logic here: A marriage can’t be legitimate and illegitimate at the same time. If you divorce from a legitimate marriage and remarry anyone else you are committing adultery. But, if you divorce from an illegitimate marriage and marry a life-long single person, you are not committing adultery!”

(FB profile 7xtjw As with SIFC’s recent experience of being censured at the ladies’ retreat for speaking out against satan’s lies which profoundly marred a ministry event, we must aim to please God rather than men, and remain accountable to Him when our leadership refuses to be.    God is never going to ask us how faithfully we followed our denomination’s doctrine.   He is going to ask us how faithfully we purposed to obey Jesus with our life choices – and He’s already going to know the answer!)

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord– Proverbs 17:15


1.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes severe disorder in the homes of believers, and missed opportunity for sanctification of unsaved family members.

If legitimate husbands and wives truly saw themselves as an inseverable one-flesh entity, each would realize that they cannot bring harm of any sort to their spouse without bringing the same degree of harm to themselves.   We, of course, see Paul admonishing the men to this effect in Ephesians 5, but if it works that way for husbands, it’s equally true for wives.    We see this validated in scriptures like Proverbs 12:4:

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.

We even see the one-flesh state as something of a designed-in spiritual weapon in 1 Corinthians 7:14:

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

This is, of course, not a guarantee of success against satan’s domination or control of a one-flesh spouse.    After all, a sword is a weapon, but if it is not skillfully wielded, or if it’s laid down too soon, it might be used against its owner!   We daresay that the brother mentioned in the second incident described at the start of this post, who grew weary enough of the Lord’s timetable for rebuilding his satan-ransacked covenant family that he turned a deaf ear to both Christ and Paul, will soon feel it in his own flesh and bones (and offspring) if he does not repent on his face before the Lord of his lust to marry another (and thereby compromise the very soul of another) – with whom he cannot ever be one-flesh.

________________________________________________________________

“Standerinfamilycourt” concludes by challenging all of God’s shepherds to muster the most righteous courage you will ever need to muster, short of actual life-and-property persecution conditions (which obedience in this area might actually avert from God’s hand),  and begin the process of gaining Spirit-led knowledge about the divine, supernatural one-flesh state, sarx mia, not to be confused with satan’s counterfeit, hen soma.   Then preach it boldly, and let the chips fall where they may.    The most likely result is that all of the false converts in your pews (who would not be there, had your MDR doctrine not been falsified to accommodate their sin)  will indeed rush for the doors, but true disciples will soon replace them.    Revival will then explosively follow, but it will appear to be moral chaos to those who don’t understand one-flesh, because a massive wave of repenting divorces and reconciliations will be an inevitable outcome, for the sake of many souls that now hang in the balance.    Those who do understand these events because the groundwork was laid by a return to the faithful teaching of one-flesh will compare it to the purging described in Ezra, chapter 10 and realize that Christ’s bride will not be purified enough for admission to the wedding supper of the Lamb until these things inevitably come about.

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Does Abolishing “No-Fault” Have Parallels to Abolishing the Slave Trade?

Amazing-Grace-movie-posterby Standerinfamilycourt

Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
For the Lord will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.
– Proverbs 22:22-23

Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavor to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, ‘being waxen fat,’ and ‘become gross,’ sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into Hell. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished.”
–  St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Epistle To The Ephesians,” c. 105 A.D.

This blogger can still recall reading  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin many years ago, while absolutely sobbing at the scene where two slave families were about to be cruelly pulled apart in a commercial transaction and sent to different plantations, with absolutely no respect for the God-joined holy one-flesh bond of matrimony between the two covenant husband and wife entities, and their God-ordained bond with their covenant children.

” ‘Mas’r aint to blame, Chloe, and he’ll take care of you and the poor’ … Here he turned to the rough trundle bed full of little woolly heads, and broke fairly down.  He leaned over the back of the chair, and covered his face with his large hands.   Sobs, heavy, hoarse and loud, shook the chair, and great tears fell through his fingers on the floor: just such tears, sir, as you dropped into the coffin where lay your first-born son;  such tears, woman, as you shed when you heard the cries of your dying babe.   For, sir, he was a man, and you are but another man.   And, woman, though dressed in silk and jewels, you are but a woman, and, in life’s great straits and mighty griefs, ye feel but one sorrow!

” ‘And now, ‘ said Eliza, as she stood the door, ‘I saw my husband only this afternoon, and I little knew then what was to come.  They have pushed him to the very last standing place, and he told me, to-day, that he was going to run away.  Do try, if you can, to get word to him.  Tell him how I went, and why I went; and tell him I’m going to try and find Canada.  You must give my love to him, and tell him, if I never see him again,’ — she turned away, and stood with her back to them for a moment, and then added, in a husky voice, ‘tell him to be as good as he can, and try and meet me in the kingdom of heaven.’  “

Centuries of this cruelty not only offended God, but had severe consequences on the nations involved, such that the regime eventually confronted God’s hand of long-awaited justice in abolishing that offense against humanity.   More importantly, because of a small band of godly saints who were faithful and long-suffering to carry out their Holy Spirit assignments, retaining their resolve and their trust in Him in the face of overwhelming opposition, God’s more severe judgment on at least one nation (and probably two nations) was averted.

And what, exactly, do we mean by “serial polygamy” in this comparison?     Quite simply, it is using man’s immoral civil laws to reject the spouse God joined us to, in order to “marry” another while the rejected spouse lives  – something that Jesus called ongoing adultery at least five separate times in canonized scripture.     There are many excuses offered up for this, and there are even more luminary “men of God” who will tell you it’s okay under “God’s grace” based on some man-contrived excuse.      However,  God repeatedly said, in Old Testament and in New Testament times. it is not okay, nor is it without horrible consequences for families, church and nation.    Those consequences don’t sift through the humanistic excuses in order to selectively apply themselves.    Those consequences ultimately come from the hand of God, as thistles and thorns in the Garden; from the One who entertains none of the human excuses.    He is the One whose hand individually creates each one-flesh union as an inseverable entity, Who then covenants unconditionally with that individual entity, then declares that they will never be two again in this life.    This universal indissolubility of holy matrimony is why Jesus called all non-widowed remarriage adultery — the original parties are still married in God’s eyes, and anyone else subsequently posing as “married to” either of the two original covenant spouses are bearing false witness to the world and they are  defiling their vessels.   Pastors who perform weddings where there is an estranged, living spouse on either side are violating the second commandment by misusing the name of the Lord to attribute to Him a vain act.

Though only one spouse wants out of the  holy matrimony covenant of their youth, a scene similar to the slave sale in Uncle Tom’s Cabin is played out in “family courts” across the land on a daily basis, forcibly pulling covenant spouses from each other, and  children from one of their parents while attempting also to tear and sever the God-joined one-flesh entity created by His hand.   Both are literally reduced to being treated as the chattel property of the prevailing legal regime, with an inexcusable motive to illicitly profit  various parties who are external to the victimized families.

Near the start of SIFC’s post-decree journey through the constitutional appeals case,  amidst outreach efforts to others in the marriage permanence movement,  the establishment of social media pages to advocate for the full repeal of unilateral divorce and to urge profound moral reform in the church, there was also the very influential opportunity to read another book, Amazing Grace by author Eric Metaxas.   This is the story of British Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, who became an unusually strong, spirit-led Christ-follower in the days shortly after being elected to the House of Commons.     Thanks to the author’s vivid capture of the details of Wilberforce’s spiritual awakening, we see the arduous journey which followed, to build a movement in the name of the Lord which ran counter to both the entrenched church and equally-entrenched legal system interests,  and, like today,  this threatened some extremely powerful, wealthy economic interests in both institutions.

Metaxas makes it possible to see the strong parallels of the story of this journey to abolish the slave trade with the struggle we are currently in, to abolish all the church and legal system trappings, along with the special economic interests that are adverse to the kingdom of God, and adverse to the God-established “kingdom” and constitutional rights of covenant families.    This book not only deeply inspired this blogger, but in a very real sense, it provided strong insight into the nature of the battle that lay ahead.   This book is a really good read for everyone in the marriage permanence movement, and our blog post about it will hopefully be a interesting, thought-provoking introduction.

( FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC note:   At the present time, author Eric Metaxas adheres to his Eastern Orthodox upbringing which teaches that holy matrimony is dissoluble under some circumstances including adultery.    He aligned strongly with Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and with the political forces of social conservatives who consider unilateral divorce to be an undesirable thing, but not necessarily the central moral issue of the day, nor an intrinsic religious freedom violation.    He most likely would be surprised to read of his contribution to the movement through the book he has written.   He is in a covenant marriage himself, by true biblical standards. )

There were many prevailing obstacles to justice in America and England in the late 18th century that are remarkably similar to roadblocks the “stander” community and others who advocate the abolition of the vile practice of serial polygamy must successfully confront today, and must skillfully navigate through.    As with Wilberforce and the broad coalition he helped to form,  skill wasn’t everything, because he “battled not against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities and dark forces in the spiritual realm“,   just as the apostle Paul warned in Ephesians 6.    God’s hand and awaiting God’s timing were also necessary, so this abomination was very much “prayed down” and “fasted down”,  while the visible events were unfolding by God’s hand in the circumstantial realm over a long period of time.    The encouragement that SIFC would like to leave with readers is the historical evidence that evil, seemingly impossible “mountains” are indeed picked up and thrown into the sea by the hand of God, in response to the faithful prayers, and advocacy efforts of His saints, efforts taking many forms but working together in key ways orchestrated by Him.

So, what all was going on back then to misappropriate the word of God so as to prop up the immoral slave trade?  How did it resemble the backdrop to the moral slide of the church and society so that it broadly institutionalized the sin of marrying another while having a living, estranged true spouse following man’s divorce (that which Jesus clearly and consistently called ongoing adultery)?     Let’s take a look:

  1. Entrenched religious beliefs prevailed that had no true scriptural basis.   England had been a mix of Druid and Catholic rituals for centuries before the Reformation, with Catholicism gaining the upper hand by medieval times.    By the time Wilberforce came of age, it had been about 250 years since Henry VIII had established the Church of England, which retained many characteristics of the Roman Catholic church, despite key doctrinal differences, coming to be known as “High Church” because elaborate liturgy was retained from Roman Catholic liturgy, where the congregation was able to continue worshiping  rather passively rather than pursue true discipleship.    One of the key doctrinal differences between the Church of England and the Rome Church, of course, was the profound disagreement over marriage, both its indissolubility as a sacrament (or not) and the propriety of civil jurisdiction rather than church jurisdiction over it.     Born, as the new Protestant doctrine was, out of a mix of the lusts of Henry and the humanism of Erasmus,  in this particular instance, rightly-divided scripture was still on the side of the Catholics.    However, it was the Anglicans who happened to be and remain in power by 1648 and beyond.   

That said, adherence to Catholicism was still strong in Britain, including belief that priests can absolve sin without the actual cessation of that sin.   Salvation is believed to be imparted by repeated communion rather than a taking up of one’s cross to follow Christ.   Because of the belief that only nuptials between two baptized partners are to be considered “sacramental”, and hence indissoluble,  it is likely that slave marriages were considered dissoluble as best benefitted the trade.

Meanwhile the Westminster Confession of Faith was drafted and ratified in the British Parliament in 1648 just a little more than 100 years after Henry formed the Church of England.   Many aspects of the WCOF were an extrabiblical overreaction to various heresies of Roman Catholicism, while other aspects were appropriate responses to genuine errors in RCC doctrine or to abusive practices that arose in the 300 years just prior, resulting in biblically-supported truth mixed with biblically-unsupported heresy in the total doctrines of the WCOF.

For example, Chapter 3 affirms the Reformed doctrine of predestination: that God foreordained who would be among the elect (and therefore saved), while he passed by those who would be damned for their sins. The confession states that from eternity God did “freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass”.  By God’s decree, “some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.”   As with the Catholics, this doctrine did not promote much soul-care for the Negro slaves, and is biblically unsupported, since there is a distinction between God’s fore-knowledge and fore-ordination.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  – 2 Peter 3:9

Chapter 17 presents the doctrine of the “perseverance of the saints”, which holds that it is impossible for those effectually called to “fall away” from the state of grace or, in other words, lose their salvation.  This doctrine, in effect, allowed for the powerful to oppress the helpless, without concern that God would ever hold them accountable, since Jesus  was claimed to have died for their future sins.    As has become the case today, it is popular “wisdom” to claim that people have no hope of living a holy life, so the purpose of grace is to attribute Christ’s righteousness to a passive worshiper who may continue on in their transgressions.     In proper context, the term “perseverance of the saints” (referred to several times in the book of Revelation),  actually means quite the opposite of what is declared in the WCOF.    Scripture repeatedly shows that this perseverance means bearing up under persecution without becoming apostate in response.    Just as the WCOF has the effect of deadening the conscience to proclaiming Christ’s standards for lifelong marital faithfulness as being “too high” to realistically attain in the 21st century,  the Confession had the effect of deadening the conscience of those involved in the slave trade to the sanctity of all human families.

Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.  Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, SO THAT THEY WILL NOT BELIEVE AND BE SAVED.   Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root;  THEY BELIEVE FOR A LITTLE WHILE, AND IN TIME OF TEMPTATION THEY FALL AWAY.   The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.   But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with  perseverance.”    –  Luke 8:11-15

Finally, the pivotal Chapter 24 covers Reformed teaching on marriage and divorce. Marriage is to be heterosexual and monogamous (if consecutively so). The purpose of marriage is to provide for the mutual help of husband and wife, the birth of legitimate children, the growth of the church, and preventing “uncleanness”,  according to the confession.   The confession discourages interfaith marriage with non-Christians, Roman Catholics, or “other idolaters”.   In addition, godly persons should not be “unequally yoked” in marriage to “notoriously wicked” persons.  Incestuous marriage, defined according to biblical guidelines, is also prohibited.  (Heretical parts V and VI hold that the only grounds for divorce are “adultery or willful abandonment by a spouse.” )     Jesus and the prophet Malachi, however, held that men are delegated NO authority to dissolve an unconditional covenant to which God remains a party, nor to sever the one-flesh entity God’s hand created.   Only physical death does that, according to the apostle, Paul.   Hence, any discussion about “grounds” in the WCOF becomes utterly moot before the unchanging marriage  law of God, and Henry, self-proclaimed as the first Head of the Church of England, is exposed as the wicked serial polygamist he actually was all along when measured against the biblical standard.

While great atrocities were involved in capturing slaves and transporting them across the ocean, after which they were often cruelly warehoused and their diseases masked until sold, it is clear that slave traders who forced apart one-flesh spouses, and “family court” judges who do so have much in common.  This is true both morally, and in the consequences to society, as well as to the eventual fate of the whole nation due to the resulting corruption of the progeny of those impacted.

The 2007 film version of Amazing Grace  opens with a narrative graphic which reads, “by the late 18th century over eleven million African men, women and children had been taken from Africa to be used as slaves in the West Indies and American colonies …   The slave trade was considered acceptable by all but a few.     Of these, even fewer were brave enough to speak against it.”

By comparison, between 1970 and 2015 (roughly one-tenth of the elapsed time since the commencement of that trade up to Wilberforce’s day), more than three times as many U.S. families had been forcibly “dissolved” in the “family courts” of the 50 states.   Likewise, all but a few of the Christian citizens of these states considered this practice morally acceptable (and fully effectual in God’s eyes despite much scripture to the contrary).    A small but increasing number of these few began to  develop the courage of conviction to suffer the immense social and economic costs of speaking against it.   

2.  The church was profoundly corrupt and slowly dying.    A church that is founded on heresy, expressly in order to facilitate (and propagate forward) sexual sin, as the Church of England indeed was, is doomed and dying from the outset, unless true revival comes along to rescue it.     So is today’s “mega-church” established for much the same purpose, to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those living in open defiance of God’s laws which they disagree with, while having a cover of what in those days was called piety, and in our day would be called “evangelicalism”.   In far too many of these mega-churches, “church discipline” is called out on the wrong party, such as the repenting prodigal who would leave an adulterous, legalized union to return to his or her covenant family,  and far too many churches are led by men and women who are themselves living in legalized adultery with someone else’s God-joined, one-flesh partner rather than with their own.    The scriptures forbidding even this are re-interpreted to “permit” the abomination of consecutive polygamy in the clergy, rendering any protest against LGBTQ(xyz) excesses, instantly hypocritical.    Hence, the literal “husband of one [living] wife”, understood perfectly and consistently practiced by “less-sophisticated” saints for centuries,  of late becomes “one-woman man” (until tomorrow, at least)  in our contemporary bibles.   God’s amazing sense of humor used adultery matchmaker Ashley Madison to debunk that notion a couple of years ago.   How many of those “one woman man” pastors were removed as a result?

But  as it turns out, revival did come and rescue the corrupt Church of England during Wilberforce’s life, and as it happened, God through various circumstances brought several key people into his life while he was still a boy.    Though he was born and raised in the northern province of York, family hardship brought him to live by the age of ten with a wealthy, aristocratic aunt and uncle in Wimbledon, near London, who were close to George Whitefield and other figures of the first Great Awakening.    Author Metaxas describes the conditions in the English church of Wilberforce’s young manhood thusly:

“One’s ‘spirituality’ was confined to one’s rented pew.    One attended one’s church and one stood and one kneeled and one sat at the proper times and did what was required of one, but to scratch beneath this highly lacquered surface was to venture well beyond the pale and invite stares and whispers and certain banishment.   Wilberforce was from the beginning as serious as he was charming and fun-loving, and his sensitive and intellectual nature was now, at Wimbledon, for the first time fed something far more satisfying than the niceties – the thin gruel and weak tea of High Church Anglicanism.”

So then, what historical forces reduced Christ’s English bride to such a debased state, some 200 years after the Reformation?    Unfortunately, the sad answer seems to be — the Reformation itself.    We’ve already visited the  heretical elements of this church’s creed adopted in that same Parliament 100 years earlier than Wilberforce’s day, which formed a rotten foundation upon which those “rented pews” actually sat.

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.  For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say,  “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man,  “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?   Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?   But you have dishonored the poor man.  Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?   Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
–  James 2:1-7

While today’s spiritual deadness is clearly driven by the pursuit of sexual immorality that has gained the near-universal complicity of contemporary church leadership,  the spiritual deadness of that day was driven by the bloody, mutual, church leader-led violence between Protestants and Catholics which had given Jesus a truly bad name, and had turned people off to religion altogether, creating this ritualistic veneer that was not allowed to go too deep.     The violence, in turn, was driven by the clergy’s thirst for retaining (or gaining) power over the population, causing religious opponents on both sides to be martyred, and causing a series of wars between the “saints”.      (In “standerinfamilycourt’s”  happier days with evangelical friends and intact covenant family, the oft-played board game “Risk” was jokingly dubbed “Evangel” due to the conflict between Christ’s way of building the kingdom of God versus the counterfeit that had taken hold as an evil fruit of the Reformation where Protestants returned Catholic violence and persecution in-kind. )     Of course, all sinful departure from Christ’s methods, be it sexual or be it violent power-grabs “in the name of Jesus”, leads to a hardening of hearts, we are warned, and this leads to falling away (apostasy), notwithstanding Chapter 17 of the WCOF.    Certainly, Christian-on-Christian violence must have had a devastating and dehumanizing effect on British society in Wilberforce’s day.     Are there not “rented pews” today in the evangelical church?    Is a fee not paid today by the legalized adulterers in the post-unilateral divorce world to occupy seats as an illicit pair or “blended family” that faithful 1 Corinthians 5 church governance would have otherwise denied them unless they severed those faux ties?   Paul, after all, said “do not even eat with such….I have decided to turn [him / them] over to satan, that [his / their] soul(s) may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

Britain formally sat under a false state religion, as she still does today.   By failing to maintain her sexual purity, hence her sovereign biblical family structure,  America and other western nations today also sit under a state religion that is not formally acknowledged but is nevertheless very real in asserting its antichrist power over all of society.    That state religion is secular humanism.    And secular humanism just loves to play “dress up” these days in Baptist, Pentecostal and mainline “Christian” garb–and even Catholic frocks, of late, in the form of Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia.

3.  A tiny (deemed) “cult” slowly became instrumental in moving the culture.    The evangelical aunt and uncle who took Wilberforce in as a boy was (providentially) childless, which made the young man the sole heir to their homes and fortune when they “graduated to heaven”.    This put great financial assets into his hands, as well as influential and powerful friends of godly character into his life.  He was best friends from university days with William Pitt, his agnostic contemporary who eventually became Prime Minister.      Wilberforce came to faith, and received Spirit-led discipleship as a young MP  under the direct influence of Whitefield, the Wesleys, and ex-slave trader, the Rev. John Newton.    All true disciples of Jesus come to understand that every scrap of time, treasure and talent that God pours into a life ultimately belongs to Him, loaned, as it were, for the purpose of building up the kingdom of God.    As did the three biblical slaves with the varying number of “talents” given by their master, we will one day give an account for our stewardship of these resources.   Instead of suppressing truth to those under our care for ill-gotten gain, and appeasing the ungodly resource-holders to build our own vast empire (without the slightest regard for these souls), we are expected to invest what we already have been given into helping deliver as many souls as possible safely into the doors of the great banquet hall where the wedding supper of the Lamb is to be held.    Wilberforce understood this, as did the other Spirit-led instigators of the First Great Awakening and the abolition movement.

It wasn’t long before Wilberforce felt led to sell his inherited properties and use the proceeds to establish a highly visible home church community, known as the Clapham fellowship,  on his friends’ adjoining properties, where true discipleship under the ministry of a community chaplain was fostered in the suburbs of London.    It also wasn’t long before the entrenched interests were derisively labeling the community of believers Wilberforce led, a “cult”.    Why was Wiberforce’s  physical community of believers so influential ?    “Standerinfamilycourt” believes it is because he established a very visible spiritual organism within that compound-based community, much like the 1st – 4th century church, where everyone could see the Christ-centered life walked out again.    Some 300 years before the internet could make the same sort of thing visible online, and draw like-minded but geographically dispersed people together for conferences,  this visibility from such a community was very important to influencing culture, by example.

(FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC note:The tiny Spirit-led wing of the body of Christ in that day was dubbed “Methodism”, which was an ecclesiastical slur.    We all know what eventually happened to “Methodism” in our day, following the Second Great Awakening,  and what in our day has even happened to Pentecostalism, as it followed “Methodism” in becoming the “Church of Thyratira” in the late 20th century, who today labels the interfaith community of covenant marriage standers–which is largely virtual due to the commonplace shunning of outspoken members by conventional church bodies, having its own pastors and lay leaders therefore, a “cult”.)

4.  The oppressed victims of the system were utterly dehumanized.   In the book, pages 96-100 detailed the inhumane conditions in which hundreds of captured slaves were chained together and packed into the lower airless holds of a slave ship with inadequate sanitary provisions, little food and no potable water.    These conditions culminated in the deplorable tale of the insurance fraud that was carried out on the high sea in 1781 aboard a Jamaica-bound slave ship named the Zong.   It was routine for any human dying aboard a ship to be buried in the ocean, whether a slave or not.  However, in this instance so many slaves were becoming ill that more than 100 live slaves were thrown overboard in order that insurance proceeds would replace the lost revenue from the slaves that had expired due to inhumane conditions.    The public exposure from the foiling of that fraud in English court the next year turned out to be a small amount of good out of a massively tragic crime against humanity.     A Cambridge protégé of Wilberforce’s, a young man named Thomas Clarkson, served as the “cub reporter” in documenting facts and evidence against the slave trade:

“He climbed aboard slave ships and measured the spaces allotted for the slaves; he purchased the ghastliest instruments of restraint and torture, from manacles and shackles to thumbscrews and branding irons.  There was a device to pry open the mouths of slaves who refused to eat. ”
(Page 116).

AG_Metaxas_Photo2.jpeg

It is unfortunate that the opportunities to expose in great detail the atrocities that routinely go on in “family courts” across the land are few and extremely costly.    Nevertheless, there are a few of us with either  the financial means or  time and pro se determination to resist the system,  allowing our case to go to trial for that very purpose.     Most county courthouses will not allow non-lawyers to take cell phones past a security checkpoint, yet in trial we will use the time (sometimes days) sitting in court to take notes on other cases we may observe, and some of us will go to the expense of obtaining the electronic transcript from our own case.     In the book, “Stolen Vows” by Judy Parejko (2001),  the author chronicles the abuses she observed as a court-appointed mediator.    Other authors such as Stephen Baskerville have written powerful books and articles exposing details of the corruption under which families are legally shredded.   In two blog pieces we shared in 2014 from The Public Discourse, a mother relates how she was stripped of her children for the noxious purpose of awarding custody to her homosexual husband and his same-sex partner.     Similarly, another article in the publication tracked the commonly-occurring instances of children being stripped from a blameless father who didn’t want the divorce and custody given to the mother whose live-in boyfriend committed violence and molestation of the children, in a cruel mockery of their “best interest”.    The dehumanization is well-captured in this crass excerpt from an appellate opinion handed down in an early constitutional challenge of the “no-fault” law:

“The state’s inherent sovereign power includes the so called ‘police power’ right to interfere with vested property rights whenever reasonably necessary to the protection of the health, safety, morals, and general well being of the people.  The constitutional question, on principle, therefore, would seem to be, not whether a vested right is impaired by a marital law change, but whether such a change reasonably could be believed to be sufficiently necessary to the public welfare as to justify the impairment.”
Walton v Walton, California (1970-1972)  28 Cal. App.3d 108

5. Massive economic interests were also deeply entrenched.    Although King George III was a devout Christian and had genuine concerns about the slave trade, the Crown had substantial revenue interests in the sugar plantations of the British West Indies, as did the Church of England herself.      Powerful members of Parliament had personal revenue interests either in the plantations or in profits from the slave trade or related maritime industries.   Port towns like Liverpool and Bristol were heavily dependent on the trade, much like some of the state capitol cities that would suffer economically today from a likely much-smaller government complex that would result from ceasing the societally-corrosive practice of forcing families apart without provable just cause.     In addition to this, it should sound quite familiar that the atrocities, as soon as documentation of horrifying details began to be publicly exposed, would be propped up (as an argument against doing the right thing and abolishing them) by playing one jurisdiction off against a neighboring jurisdiction.   It was argued that abolishing the slave trade in Britain would be a boon to the slave trade in France.    Ignored was the fact that a powerful moral example would be advanced (with accompanying publicity) by repeal in one or two states to start, and that societal,  as well as fiscal benefits– in the contemporary instance, would be reaped by the repenting jurisdiction(s).    The difficult but successful solution for Wilberforce’s allies was to relentlessly work the issue in both Britain and France.

Similarly,  the unilateral divorce industry amounts to more than $100 billion a year, directly benefitting members of the Bar, and a vast army of court mediators, social workers, mental health professionals, book-sellers, and even ministries.    This financial boon for a few, at the expense of society as a whole, comes at a cost of $200+ billion a year in transferred social costs to all taxpayers,  state and Federal.  These well-heeled political interests virtually own the press and have the means to  easily flood the media with emotional pleas for “abuse victims” whom, they moan, will be “trapped in abusive marriages”  if they should ever be forced to prove with tangible evidence that their marriage is abusive.     These misleading articles largely go unrebutted, due to entrenched interests even within the “faith, family and freedom” ministries and family policy councils in various states across the land.  The vast majority of these ministries decline to become involved in the repeal of unilateral divorce or the defense of its religious free exercise victims, either in prioritization of funding or in their public media output, even when there is a repeal bill active in their state legislature.    For example,  the family policy group, Texas Values (affiliated with James Dobson’s organization, Family Policy Alliance)  sent their president to testify before a 2017 legislative committee that they supported repeal, but not one written word was publicly released to refute the barrage of negative press against HB93 in that state.    All of the financial resources instead went toward battling issues like transgender bathroom bills, remarkably seen as more of a threat than the laws that directly order the literal shredding of families.     Although this reluctance to publicly advocate for the repeal of unilateral divorce laws may have varying factors based on the political climate and carefully-built political relationships in each state, the common issue seems to be a fear that large donors could be offended by marriage permanence efforts meaningfully impacting heterosexual family policy, as well as the false belief that there is likely not enough funding available through millions of small, passionate donors to offset such feared losses–despite the million or so new families decimated each year by forced divorce who would love to donate regularly to an organization showing true commitment to engaging their cause in a meaningful way.

Just imagine if the abolitionist movement had consisted of donation-based provincial councils tasked primarily with all the issues of managing the evil fallouts of the slave trade on society, who deemed abolition too unreachable a goal, so that they busied themselves with promoting legislation to increase the size of the slave berths aboard the ships, install more porta-potties, only allow slave traders to take people who didn’t have minor children in the hut,  et cetera— and doing so while reporting in to a Church of England board (who at the end of the day was financially-invested in preserving the trade).    If one can imagine this, our description seems quite analogous to the apparent relationship between some of these state FPC’s and Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization.

(FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC note:  As of the date of this writing, “standerinfamilycourt” has met two of the executive directors of state family policy councils face-to-face, and has hopes of meeting several more in the coming months and years to learn as much as possible about their constraints, to be of service where mutually beneficial, and to encourage them to diversify their donor base to include those in our movement so that they can act more boldly in the marriage permanence realm.)

6.  God put together quite a colorful and diversely-tasked team.
When the Most High hears the cry of the afflicted and establishes His timeline for deliverance, everyone involved can count on divine appointments taking place.    He started assembling the abolition team when its most visible “champion” was just a small boy.   He began by tapping famous figures of the first Great Awakening in Britain, leading some slave traders to repentance and restitution, and surrounding those with born-again relatives in Wilberforce’s extended family.   To these, He added Christian attorneys, writers, artisans, poets, former slaves and doctors.  Wives of aristocrats opened their homes to bring these co-laborers together and make strategic introductions across an overseas network and even across social classes.  Each of these called individuals providentially contributed their gifts to the overall effort,  some prominently and some in the background.    Much like some in the marriage permanence movement who today create striking memes that drive home a point in social media, even the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood was tapped into service to create the iconic badge-like image “Am I Not A Man and a Brother?”  that found its way onto all sorts of popular items that were sold at the time.

In a very similar way,  the Lord has been bringing together 21st century artists, writers, bible scholars, linguists, in-place and displaced pastors, seminary professors, legal students, researchers, meeting organizers, videographers, conservative thought leaders and lecturers, courthouse monitors, conference hosts, legislators, constitutional attorneys and family policy directors to carry out a diverse range of divine assignments,  coordinated by the hand of God to one day topple the “Jericho Wall” of unilateral divorce.    Many of these groups of the like-minded would not interact with or even be aware of other groups if He also didn’t divinely provide individuals to form a bridge between them, yet He’s using some individuals to facilitate that very necessary function as well.    Instead of stately mansions where figures are invited and introductions are made, He is using technology and alternative media platforms to bring diverse co-laborers together.

7.  Reeking, shameless hypocrisy was the order of the day in the established church.     We have already described above, the profound moral decay in the Church of England, and the reasons behind it.    Here we will focus on some of what it took to break through that in the famous scene from the movie that was based on the book.    The majority of the power holders in the British Parliament were at least nominal members of the Church of England, while the handful of actual Christ followers who were influenced by the leadership of John Newton, the Wesley brothers, and George Whitefield formed house churches  such as the community at Clapham, which also had some wealthy and influential members in addition to Wilberforce.    They lived by godly example,  using large amounts of their wealth for the public good,  and maintaining sexual purity in their relationships, which really stood out in society, while they maintained warm friendships with the “lukewarm”, those who derisively called them “Methodists” and accused them of being a “cult”.     At an opportune time, Wilberforce and his Clapham peers arranged the famous boat tour of the harbor, complete with stringed quartet, wine and appetizers and full ballroom regalia.    This grand party was soon assaulted with the pungency of that which they would have preferred remain insulated from, as the party barge Reliant suddenly pulled up beside a slave ship called the Madagascar that evening.    No longer could the British ruling class and their consorts feign ignorance of the dehumanization and shipboard death that was taking place, literally under their noses.     This event, occurring in the middle of the 20-year abolition battle, required the development of quite a few well-networked allies of the cause in high and low rank in order to pull such a scene off.

Two events occurred in 2017 that could prove significant, and might be somewhat analogous to that unsavory boat party.     Repeal bills to redefine “no-fault” divorce back to its originally-intended (or at least, publicly-advertised) contours were introduced in two southwest states.    Partial repeal attempts had occurred in Michigan in 2006 and Iowa in 2013 but without much publicity that wasn’t rabidly oppositional.     What made the 2017 effort a bit different is that instead of a family policy ministry sponsoring the bills, one was introduced by an actual constitutional attorney-turned-legislator, and he brought a parade of constitutional attorneys to the committee podium who testified to the constitutional violations that riddle current law, which suitably-framed the testimony of the family victims of unilateral divorce who also testified.    This time, the hours of this testimony have been captured and posted to you-tube, through the efforts of local marriage permanence activists.     This is a bit remarkable because the family-shredding industry has been accustomed to a thick shroud of darkness whenever their empire is threatened.     Also remarkable is that every one of the churches in both states were so occupied with “rebuilding a culture of marriage” in their congregations, that none of them saw any worthwhile involvement in seeing that either bill to end the forced divorces of their members might come to an embarrassing Republican-dominated floor vote, letting them both die for this session.

Then in August, the Southern Baptist-allied Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood introduced The Nashville Statement, a manifesto taking dead aim at all the incarnations of homosexual practice, while odiferously looking the other way at prevalence of clergy-condoned (and clergy-practiced) serial polygamy that has destroyed the family structure in the evangelical church, hiding the destruction behind an adulterous thin veneer through which mass shootings, child-trafficking and transsexualism is all-too-prone to puncture.    There have been earlier manifesto campaigns in recent years, but this one was quite ill-timed, driven primarily by visceral reaction to the bathroom bills, but while unresolved memories were still fresh before the American public of the infamous serial polygamist, Kim Davis’ tone-deaf declaration in 2015 that she would “lose her soul” if she dared insult the holiness of God by issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals.   That had been an event which had suddenly reduced  the Leftist press to quoting scripture on major network newscasts.   Though the Who’s Who of the evangelical and Catholic worlds vigorously endorsed and signed the 2017 manifesto (which brazenly declared condoning homosexual practice as profoundly inconsistent with following Christ),  the CBMW has received scathing and voluminous public criticism as well as negative press coverage from both the scornful Left and the God-fearing Right.     (From this blogger, “standerinfamilycourt”, the celebrated and learned seminarians on the board of CBMW received a book called “One Flesh” by Joe Fogel, and a frank, admonishing letter.)

Meanwhile, in the Roman Catholic Church, which has been so historically important to all moral reform of family laws, the release of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia was causing deep despair and bewilderment among Christ-following Catholics over the Pope’s bid to liberalize clergy practices toward remarriage adulterers in those congregations, by liberalizing even further the vile practice of “annulment” and to allow those civilly “married” to the covenant spouses of others to take communion — a direct affront to Paul’s admonition about receiving the body and blood of Christ in an unworthy manner,  and of his further admonition that no unrepentant adulterer will inherit the kingdom of God.    The hypocrisy involved with Amoris was the preposterous chorus of Vatican “assurance” that changing church “practice” was not tantamount to changing church “doctrine”.      Since the only ministry with a national voice to publicly support the two unilateral divorce repeal bills was the Catholic-founded Ruth Institute,  we can only hope that this unfortunate and significant turn of events cements the desire for close alliance with the like-minded “cult” of evangelicals in the marriage permanence movement.

8.  Prayer and fasting was just as important as activism, if not more so.  The great John Wesley wrote Wilberforce twice, the first time near the start of his abolition journey, and also a few days before Wesley passed away.    Wesley wanted to be certain that Wilberforce understood that he battled not against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities; dark forces in the heavenly realm.     He put Wilberforce on prophetic notice that there will be demonic opposition at every turn, but urged him to persevere.    Much of the reason that abolition took as long as it did once the organized campaign was underway can be attributed to intervening events and demonic distractions, but still the battle was the Lord’s.

The current battle seems to boil down to an unrelenting conflict between the choice to surgically-excise the disease itself or manage the symptoms to reduce human suffering and impacts on society.    There is a widespread assumption that the disease itself is inoperable, and an almost irresistable temptation to hold to a form of godliness but deny His power.    These are strongholds that the Lord will use the fasters and the faithful prayers in our movement to pull down supernaturally.

9.  Bringing (and keeping) a diverse coalition together was a key role that Wilberforce played as a leader in the movement.    As described earlier, God Himself started the process of bringing the abolitionist movement figures together two or three decades ahead of Wilberforce signing on, but He appointed key individuals (including Wilberforce) to build it to “critical mass” and keep it together over the arduous period of time needed to sustain a successful effort.     He seemed to provide a clear focal point to the various constituencies (which included Quakers, Anglicans, “Methodists”, just to use the diverse religious interests as an example) to what God wanted, and this took a lot of integrity, often unpopular integrity.     At the end of the day, he had the humility to overcome his own discouragement at setbacks to pull it off without backing down.    He had a thick skin, which is a quality almost as rare as focus and integrity, but indispensable because of the need to also manage the criticism or reluctance of insiders.

At the present time, if there is a Wilberforce-like individual to galvanize the factions and constituencies in the movement, it’s likely that this person is still developing and emerging.   Those who presently have the insight to visualize how the like-minded groups can and should be working together are obscure and seem not well-placed at this time.    There are bridges to build between the traditional Catholic leaders, who have a national voice but presently insufficient political power, and the small body of enlightened evangelicals in the movement who part company with the “reformed” evangelicals on the moral validity of non-widowed remarriage.   There are traditional differences to manage over side issues like the authority of the Pope and the validity or morality of “annulment” versus the evangelical principle of sola scriptura where scripture plainly forbids both doctrines.   Many of the national voices for divorce reform would prefer to focus on households with minor children, while setting aside the issue of ongoing 1st and 14th amendment violations against grandparent marriages which full repeal would rectify, and they have differences with those in the movement who consider divorce-remarriages immoral (as Jesus plainly did) due to concern for the children born of legalized adultery.

State legislators are emerging with a courageous vision for repeal, but perhaps are not yet well-enough connected with those who can lend them effective support, especially in the area of getting churches onboard with outright repeal efforts.    Far too few churches of any type are involved on the state level, and a great many erroneously believe that God “instituted” or “provided for” divorce.    The majority of “standers” and those who have repented of adulterous “marriages” are estranged from their churches, either by their own choice not to sit under deceived leadership, or because they’ve been formally or informally shunned for being perceived as a
“sower of disunity”.   In response, many such individuals in the movement do not consider contemporary church structure (what they derisively call the “pulpit / pew hireling model”) to be biblically or morally valid.

Many in the movement also do not think political activity of any type is of God.    State family policy groups tend to be underfunded and perhaps in need of diversifying their support.    The politically-connected national voices are sympathetic to repeal, but constantly get distracted by the symptoms of the disease, particularly each new emerging horror from rabid, militant homosexualism.    Other allied groups are the Parents’ Rights groups who want legal relief from these onerous laws, but aren’t necessarily in the repeal camp, and the divorced-and-remarried activists sympathetic to repeal efforts who are somehow finding the grace to work with the celibate “standers” who do not consider those subsequent civil-only unions biblically valid.   We each need to faithfully keep doing our perceived, assigned roles and keep praying to God for the break-through that pulls all of it together effectively.     Even a celibate, faithful stander who is not engaged in any other activity at all, except to serve others, makes a very loud statement to this culture, if they are consistent and are doing it out of a godly motivation.   

10.  It took decades of unrelenting effort and dedication to prevail.   As witnessed by a quote from the book,

“The line between courageous faith and foolish idealism is, almost by definition, on angstrom wide.    Wilberforce was quite right that a flame had been kindled and would not go out until it had done its work, but he had no idea that it would be twenty torturous years in the burning before its work was done.   And if the ‘work’ in question was not the abolition of the slave trade but the abolition of slavery itself, the flame would continue burning for another forty-five years.”
(Page 122)

abolition of such a profoundly immoral institution was carried out on many battlefronts and required decades to bring about.    

By comparison, the dastardly and covert political events that stripped U.S. families of their most basic rights to liberty, property, free religious exercise, free association, right to jury trial when civilly accused, both procedural and substantive due process, and equal protection under the law, occurred less than 50 years ago.    The hope is that technology and God’s hand will accelerate the formidable process of overthrowing the regime, and that incremental reform efforts will fall by the wayside as time-wasters.    In the past ten years, there have been full or partial repeal efforts in at least four states, including Michigan, Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma.   The early efforts were abandoned, but hopefully the latter efforts will persist and gain support as various groups gain insight in how best to work together.    Only God could pull off the task of full repeal in all 50 states, but that’s no excuse not to work toward it in faith with our eyes firmly fixed on the Almighty.   If a few states repeal, momentum can certainly be gained, but opposition can be expected to grow more fiercely as well.    As with ending the slave trade, the renewed moral authority of a chastened and repented collective church is going to be crucial, and there are many tactical steps the organized church could take to hasten the political process.    (This last topic will be covered in a future post.)

Recalling the wicked false analogy drawn by the LGBT movement to justify their immoral, totalitarian political aims by comparing their vision to the U.S. civil rights movement, “standerinfamilycourt” has made these parallels with much fear and trembling before the Lord, trusting that this particular analogy is utterly valid, and is actually like-for-like.    May God’s will be done for our covenant families and for our ravaged nation.

Your kingdom come.   Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
– Matthew 6:10

 

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Why Following “Remarriage” Apologist Robert Waters is Apostasy As Well As Heresy

by Standerinfamilycourt

On this 16th anniversary of 9/11, a well-known promoter of serial polygamy was earnestly hoping to fly his 747 into one of the marriage permanence twin towers  – the clear teachings of Jesus, or the clear teachings of Paul.     Here’s why he deserves to fail in that mission.

A RECENT EXCHANGE ON A RIVAL FACEBOOK PAGE

RWaters……….Robert Waters This is a reply the article linked that had the ridiculous title,   Excuse Me, was I addressing You? Stop abusing 1 Cor 7:26-27

He [blogger, “standerinfamilycourt”] did not even put his name to it.  Nevertheless, but God will hold him accountable for the error.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   “Standerinfamilycourt” is often criticized for writing under a “nom-de-plume“, as though this somehow invalidates the message of the gospel, and as though what the reader reads in this blog cannot be directly compared with scripture online and with many helpful tools.   In fact, the blog installment and series that Robert Waters is so busy criticizing teaches the readers how to do just that for themselves with the utmost integrity.    That said, SIFC would like to remind readers that the reason for the pen name is because there is the precious and eternally irreplaceable soul of a one-flesh prodigal spouse at stake, and this fact constantly wars with the legitimate need to play an assigned, specific role in the marriage permanence movement.    If the pen name was not used, the blogs would not be able to write about certain hard-hitting topics without jeopardizing that spouse’s repentance by publicly exposing their identity, and sometimes their deeds, while they remain emotionally ill and held captive to do satan’s will.     SIFC will make no further apologies for doing so.   Mr. Waters needs to remember that God will hold ALL of us accountable for deliberately mistreating His word — the sword cuts both ways.   If some basic facts must be known about SIFC to hear the Spirit of God in these blogs, they are follows:

– married in the Lord for nearly 45 years
– experienced a prior knitting back together of covenant family in the 5th year following a 2 year separation, after which spouse came to saving faith and transformed life
– has been a believer for 44 years – Pentecostal background
– was trained in hermeneutics by a former pastor
– has some career-related and case-related legal training
– has a masters level education, but not formal bible training other than a 13-week Christian discipleship leader training for leadership couples
– is, however, in regular communication with seminarians and other qualified bible scholars
– has been standing, celibate in obedience to 1 Cor. 7:11 for a total of 11 years in this second instance of satan warring against our covenant union

Like Francesca Battistelli, “I don’t need my name in lights..”, and like the Apostle Paul — who considered his impressive resume “dung”  but felt compelled to present it anyway to due the criticisms coming from the enemies of the kingdom of God, SIFC does so here in the same spirit.
The resume of Mr. Waters can be found here, and the MDR portion of his blog page can be found here.    Waters says he’s been in a covenant marriage for many decades and says he was not previously married to another, but a restored stander asked him whether that was also true of his wife.   He declined to  answer that question.

RWatersThe writer asked  “Is Paul addressing the adulterously remarried and urging them to stay as they are?”

Answer: NO. He  [Paul] addresses them in other places, like Galatians 5:19 (the works of the flesh).   He [blogger SIFC] wrote: “
Paul starts to address the questions concerning the “unmarried” and widows in verse 8:  But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.   But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Answer:   Before we note his [blogger SIFC] comment let us look at what the text says. Paul speaks of the “unmarried”. That word includes those divorced, because they are no longer married.  The writer of the articles refuses to believe what the text says because he does not believe divorced (sic) does what God says it will do.  He admits what the text INCLUDES, says you can’t believe it because it is not what I believe some other passages teach. He [blogger SIFC] wrote:  “Here the term agamois (unmarried) is different from parthenos (virgin). It certainly includes virgins, but also includes those who have been put away, who may or may not have a living, estranged spouse.  Based on Matthew 19:6, Romans 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39, it cannot mean that the marriage bond is dissolved if both original spouses are living.”  He [blogger SIFC] wrote: “We established earlier Matthew 19:6 as the cornerstone scripture for comparison (Part 1 of our series) before accepting a particular interpretation of any other other scripture.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   There will be a strong temptation to be resisted throughout this rebuttal,  of using biting sarcasm due to the blatant lack on Mr. Waters’ part to delve very deeply into much of anything whereof he speaks.  Jesus and Paul used sarcasm when ignorant men were seeking to corrupt God’s children in eternal matters.    They did so out of righteous indignation.    Does SIFC have that same privilege?    We shall endeavor to keep it restrained.      The readers can refer back to that linked blog – Part 1, and determine for themselves whether or not disciplined hermeneutics were applied, and whether or not Mr. Waters is countering with the same level of rigor, reflecting his formal bible education.     The concept of one-flesh as Jesus described it in that passage, and of unconditional, indissoluble covenant are certainly among the most offensive of Jesus’ teachings.
sarka_oneflesh2
Those two concepts didn’t even sit well with  His disciples at first.    As we see here, they continue to infuriate those “who would justify themselves in the sight of men”.   

Even several Calvinist theologians of late agree with the Koine Greek linguists that although there was a Greek word for “widow” (female) http://biblehub.com/greek/5503.htm  there was no corresponding word for “male widow”, so Paul used “agamois”, to match the intended symmetry in each of these sections, of first  addressing the men in the category, and then the women.   Not to have done this (much like today) would have offended the Gentile women who were relatively new converts, and who were accustomed to a much greater sense of equality than in the Jewish culture.  Either way, Paul was here addressing only those who did not have an estranged living spouse, or he would have been contradicting himself and creating confusion in the passages that follow next.      

RWatersANSWER: First, that passages (sic) does not say what he [blogger SIFC]  insists it says. It says, “LET not man put asunder.”   It does not say man cannot do it or that DIVORCE, as God defined it, does not do it. And so, he refuses to believe what clear text say because he is BENT on holding to a false idea of his “cornerstone”  text. He further said,  “(1) from the point God joins husband and wife, they cannot be unjoined as long as both live.”

Really? Matthew 19:6, was teaching that took place during the Mosaic dispensation. The Law of Moses, which was the law of God. Clearly Deut. 24:1,2 spoke of divorce and it allowed the woman to  “go and be another man’s wife”.   The man didn’t need divorce to marry another because he could have multiple wives.  Also, God confirmed that the divorce law was from him by using it himself (Jer. 3:8). And the icing on the cake is the clear teaching that Jesus married God ‘s divorced wife (Romans 7:1, 4).  

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  Let’s address Mr. Waters’ last assertion first…. Jesus married God’s divorced wife (Romans 7:1, 4).”   Did Mr. Waters REALLY just accuse Jesus of doing what the man in 1 Cor. 5 was doing?    Committing both adultery and incest ?    That most certainly would be “the icing on the cake“, wouldn’t it?    It should be noted that we covered the Most High’s alleged “marital history” in Part 6  of our “Stop Abusing Scripture” series.   As far as we know, there has been some attempt to claim that His Son had a marital history, but it was later proven to be a forgery of evidence.    As far as anyone has been able to conclusively prove, Jesus remained celibate throughout His life — as represented.

Next, let’s examine this assertion from Mr. Waters:  “Matthew 19:6, was teaching that took place during the Mosaic dispensation.”    The very first thing to note is that Mr. Waters does not offer any biblical evidence of when one covenant age ceased and the other commenced.    He simply states his bias for universal consumption, as if he were stating “the sky is blue”.    Based on prophecy and biblical history, SIFC contends that the Mosaic covenant ceased and the Messianic covenant began when Jesus emerged, baptized, from the Jordan River.      John the Baptizer was the “Elijah” prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6, the closing verses of the Old Testament.     John the Baptizer was surely passing the torch when he immersed Jesus, and the dove of Lord descended on Him.    The onset of the Messianic covenant age is why Jesus was able to gather food and heal on the Sabbath long before He went to the cross.   From there He proceeded to His sermon on the mount, where He abrogated quite a bit of Mosaic regulation, and proclaimed (in effect), “from now on, this is a new day morally.”

The other thing to note is that Jesus never endorsed Moses’ “permission”, but in fact He corrected it in Matthew 19:8, making the very important point that hard-heartedness is not an acceptable attribute of a Christ-follower.  In fact, this is echoed as a soul-imperiling attribute throughout the book of Hebrews.   By contrast, Mr. Waters would have us believe that an “allowance” was made by God for hard-heartedness, and that would “prove” that He instituted man’s divorce.    Completely ignored are the actual words of Jesus:  “from the beginning, it was NOT SO.”     Hard-heartedness, as we learn in Hebrews is the beginning of total apostasy.

RWatersDear reader, the writer of the article with the silly title claims to use good hermeneutics, but  he [blogger SIFC]  does not. He wrote: “Scripture must always be interpreted in light of all other scripture on the same topic, and accomplished in such a way that there is no contradiction. “
RW: This is true. It is an important aspect of hermeneutics. But we have seen that the write (sic) has settled on a false foundation that Jesus said MAN CANNOT DIVORCE. That cannot be true because it is not what he [apparently Jesus] said and it would have resulted in sin, had he said it, sin that would have got him immediately stoned. And did he not promise that nothing would change before all is fulfilled”  (Matt. 5:17-19).

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC:  As noted in a couple of earlier blogs, distorters of the sermon on the mount (who often are the purveyors of serial polygamy snake oil)  often choose to read it as if  Matt. 5:17-19 were the only verses therein.    In doing so, they miss the whole central message, including the new requirement for all men to obey Jesus from the heart.    Mr. Waters is flat-out ignoring an enormous amount of context in reducing Matthew 5 down to three cherry-picked verses.     

RWatersThus, the man [blogger SIFC]  has Jesus doing something he said he would not do right before talking about the “putting away” issue, which is NOT divorce at all.

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC:   Apparently, like the Pharisees were, Mr. Waters is upset that the Son of the Most High, would deign to  “change the rules”,  as it were. (“But He promised!”)   We’ve already demonstrated  Mr. Waters’ distorted understanding of the message of the sermon on the mount.    The accurate way to view this assertion of his is that GOD set the rules from the beginning, and it was carnal men, not Jesus, who attempted to change the rules.     Jesus came to re-establish the rules, even the ones Mr. Waters isn’t fond of, and that, dear readers, is the correct context of Matt. 5:17-19.   The very fact that Jesus repeatedly raised the bar on a whole range of moral issues by saying,  “It is written / You have heard it said… BUT I SAY UNTO YOU”,   should lay to rest any and all attempts to wish Moses was still the sheriff in these here parts, instead of Jesus.   In the very next verse after this over-emphasized passage, we read,

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

RWatersThe truth I’m trying to get across (sic) you many of you does not (sic) have contradictions, which is why I gave up trying to defend the error that benefits only the devil as it breaks up marriages, imposes celibacy on people who need marriage, splits churches and results in precious time being wasted arguing the matter.

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC:   “Standerinfamilycourt” never ceases to be amazed at the terror in the voices of the enemies of God’s kingdom, as they ascribe to us these amazing super-powers we never realized we had.

Breaks up marriages?”   How?   By quoting scripture?   Oh, that we could convict consciences that readily, why, it would be a scene straight out of the book of Ezra!    However, we point out that Jesus’ definition of “marriage” is as follows:

And He answered and said, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ˜For this reason a man shall leave his FATHER AND MOTHER and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?   –  Matt. 19:4-5

He did not say “… leave his God-joined one-flesh wife and be joined to another woman.”     On FIVE different occasions, He distinctly called such an arrangement  ongoing adultery and not once did He ever call it “marriage” without also calling it ongoing adultery.

” imposes celibacy on people who need marriage”?     We can assure that we have no present plans or budget to go around locking people up in chastity belts any time soon, so we think this particular superpower is also a bit overstated.   (Chill, Robert!)    Our understanding according to scripture is that these are people who already have marriage (however inconvenient that is to them), and it is  Divine Law that imposes the chastity.     We don’t make the laws, we just deliver the message about them.     We also remind that others have “needs”, too.   Our children need to learn godly morality, forgiveness, faith  and endurance from the example we set.  They need to unlearn “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth”.   The estranged covenant partner of the married-for-life person we are lusting after needs to have no impediment to the full repentance of their one-flesh spouse nor to  the rebuilding of their covenant family.    At the end of the day, the only biblical way divorcees are going to obtain “marriage” is to obey the Lord and be open to reconciliation with their own actual spouse.  Our nation needs to turn back the much-advanced hand of God’s judgment on the land these past 50 years.

“splits churches”?   Again, we are not aware of any signs of this attributed super-power of ours.     What “standerinfamilycourt” has personally observed following an unlawful wedding being performed in the house of the Lord, is that a church split did occur when an adulterously remarried couple rose up against the pastor’s authority on an unrelated matter shortly thereafter.   God always disciplines His children as legitimate children, we’re told in  Hebrews 12.       

 Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavor to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, ‘being waxen fat,’ and ‘become gross,’ sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into Hell. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished.”
St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, “Epistle To The Ephesians,” c. 105 A.D.
SIFC leaves the readers with a link to some important and highly-relevant listening, courtesy of Pastor Stephen Wilcox of Canada.   Mr.  Waters accuses this blog of misrepresenting the teachings of Christ and Paul concerning the validity of remarriage after divorce.   If that were so, then it stands to reason that the men who led the church in the 1st through 4th centuries after Jesus went to the cross would agree with Mr. Waters and not with us.    We are talking about some men here who were directly discipled by the likes of the Apostle John, for example.     We are also talking about an historical record that has only become available through excavations and technology in the last couple of decades,  at least some 20 years after the enactment of unilateral divorce (and revised church doctrine to match) in most of the U.S., Canada and other western countries.   The last several minutes deal with particular eloquence with Mr. Waters’ emotional plea about the “need” of the already-married to “remarry” another while their covenant spouse is alive and estranged.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhhGSHJAef4

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!

Purity For Thee, But Not For We: A Stander’s Response To The Nashville Statement

by Standerinfamilycourt

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?   Or how can you say to your brother,  “Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye”, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.  – Luke 6:41-42

The commentary on this verse in one of SIFC’s study bibles is quite interesting:  “Even a speck in the eye is very uncomfortable, making it hard to use that eye.   An eye with a plank would be useless, totally blind, so in effect, Jesus is repeating the question, ‘can a blind man guide?’   On the other hand, a plank is so large that one can grab it and remove it without sight.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of blind teachers who don’t think they are, and they do untold damage to their students.”
– Dr. Wilbur Pickering,  The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken (2013)

What a perfect analogy for the major shortcoming of the Nashville Statement and its sponsors!    This document uses a catchall preamble and Articles 1 through 3 to set context and give brief mention to a few other sexual ethics issues, but from there it gets right down to the business of taking dead aim, with the remaining 11 articles, at all of the ever-cascading horrors of homosexualism which seem to worsen with each dizzying new year.   Meanwhile,  Article 1 is the last mention of any other dimension of the full definition of marriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:4-6 / Mark 10:5-9, including any implications from the fact that holy matrimony is not only complementarian, but also that it is indissoluble by any acts of men other than death.    To its credit, Article 1 states that the marriage covenant is “lifelong”.    Since most remarriage adulterers at least hope for that, this bland statement does not unduly offend that camp, so long as it is not elaborated upon too closely.

Hence, the Nashville Statement declares war on homosexual practice while leaving the far more pervasive abomination of remarriage adultery / consecutive polygamy essentially ungrazed.    This comes to a head, in particular, in Article 10, where it quite rightly declares that giving approval to homosexual practice constitutes an “essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness”, and that this is a matter in which there is no room for “moral indifference” or to “agree to disagree”.   Notably, this manifesto quite wrongly omits from Article 10 the abomination Jesus spent an enormous portion of His time condemning:   the use of man’s courts and immoral laws to secure a purported “dissolution”, and mocking God-joined holy matrimony by “remarrying” while having a living, estranged spouse.    Jesus may have addressed homosexual practice in similar terms as He explicitly addressed consecutive polygamy, but there is no canonized record of it, where the record on legalized adultery is repetitive and irrefutable.    Naturally, the obvious resulting hypocrisy is not sitting well with several constituencies on both the Left and the Right.    

As noted in the blog post a couple of days ago, not many members of the covenant marriage stander community have engaged much in responses to this latest conservative evangelical manifesto on sexual ethics released this past week seeking signers and supporters.    However, the activity between various church, parachurch and family policy organizations has been all-consuming on social media even with the backdrop of the flood recovery still underway in Texas.     Opposition from Leftist clergy has also been brisk, as one might expect.     Judging by the volume of rebuttal, there does seem to be a fair amount of concern from opponents that cultural traction might be gained this time, where several other very similar initiatives got the flurry of initial press, then fizzled out, such as the Manhattan Declaration (2009) and The Marriage Pledge (2014). The social media response to the Nashville Statement  is reminiscent of the 40 Questions blog on homosexuality put out by The Gospel Coalition in 2015.   Predictably, everybody and their dog is busy drafting their own version of the fourteen Affirm / Deny statements to get their particular “spin” in.

Here is the background on the sponsoring organization, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which states their mission as…”to set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equally in the image of God, because these teachings are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the church. ”     According to the group’s website, CBMW has been in operation since 1987, when a meeting in Dallas, Texas, brought together a number of evangelical leaders and scholars, including John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Wayne House, Dorothy Patterson, James Borland, Susan Foh, and Ken Sarles.    They have partnered with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention for this particular initiative.

Currently on the board of CBMW:

Dr. Daniel L. Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who also has a pastoral background.

Dr. Jason Duesing, Provost of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.



Dr. Denny Burk is the current President of CMBW. He also serves as a Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He blogs at DennyBurk.com.

To summarize, all of these board members hail from either Baptist / Calvinist or Reformed backgrounds which adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith, whose marriage provisions contain the extrabiblical heresy that divorce and remarriage is permissible for the “biblical grounds” of adultery and abandonment.  It would stand to reason that there would be a blind spot, additionally, due to the biblically-unsupported belief that disobeying Christ’s prohibition against marrying a second, third, fourth, etc. spouse while one has a living, estranged original spouse will not actually result in possibly dying in that state and, (as a consequence) going to hell as an unrepented adulterer as 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal. 5:19-21 state.    Most theologians of this persuasion teach that the worst that can happen is “loss of rewards”, and this does not merit refusing to perform a wedding over the already-married-for-life,  nor the “breaking up of another marriage” (selectively applied to heterosexuals, of course).    We can likely expect each of these leaders to be firmly of the “repent in your heart” persuasion if there are adulterous remarriages that somehow fall outside the man-made liberal allowances of the WCOF.     In other words, all heterosexual “marriages” can be deemed to be “sanctified” even if Jesus did declare them to be continuously adulterous on numerous occasions reflected in scripture.

By contrast, the earlier Manhattan Declaration was a project of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian World View, and a reaction to early legalization of homosexual “marriage” in Iowa and California, as well as the stacking of the Federal courts across the country by former POTUS Barack Obama with LGBT-sympathetic judges.    It had the broad strength of some godly input from a Catholic law professor,  Dr. Robert George, and hence, a much stronger statement about the permanence of heterosexual marriage.   It eventually garnered over half a million signers, but perhaps due to Chuck Colson’s untimely death, and perhaps due to failure to raise significant donations, that initiative faded after a handful of years, during which time, significant political and ecclesiastical ground was lost.   The Marriage Pledge was an Anglican effort five years later that garnered about 800 signatures of ecumenical clergy who pledged to cease acting as an agent of the civil state to sign marriage licenses, many of those Pledge signatures coming after the Obergefell U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage” in June, 2015.     Sadly, what  could have been a wonderful opportunity to bolster heterosexual marriage by effectively taking it back into the church (undoing the colossal damage inflicted by Luther and other Reformers) was missed, as this very worthy initiative also sputtered out shortly thereafter.   It wound up playing out as a brief ecclesiastical temper tantrum, as sodomous weddings were indeed legalized in every state, but the appetite for actually implementing the Marriage Pledge waned, probably because the purifying implications for heterosexual weddings finally dawned on its promoters.    At the present time, the website for the Nashville Statement isn’t disclosing the overall tally of signers, so uptake isn’t able to be monitored.

Because of all of the above, “standerinfamilycourt” reflected for several days before finally deciding to sign, at the same time personally resolving that there would be no money donated until and unless Article 10 is amended to include remarriage after divorce.     Despite the apparent futility of such a request in this particular circle of promoters, a letter to this effect will be written to this board, praising what they got right, and explaining the consequences of the portion they’ve gotten wrong.    At this time, they are surely hearing from seminarians and activists in the liberal wing of the church.   When this initiative fails as the weakest of the three, and as all the prior efforts have failed,  it would be a real shame for these liberal-ish seminarians to falsely conclude that their document was not liberal enough!   As the grip of homofascism  tightens ever harder on the throat of the church, it never hurts to have planted such a truth-seed, and built such a bridge for when the breaking point finally comes.    The Lord began the process several years ago of doing whatever it takes to get the attention of His wayward shepherds before exacting final judgment on the land.    (A suggested letter text is offered at the end of this blog post for anyone who would like to do join SIFC in the correspondence effort.)

Denny Burk’s August 29 blog concerning Article 10 reads a bit myopically:   “Readers who perceive Article 10 as a line in the sand have rightly perceived what this declaration is about. Anyone who persistently rejects God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue is rejecting Christianity altogether, even if they claim otherwise.”    ( In that case, Dr. Burk, why doesn’t Article 10 also condemn what Christ called ongoing adultery, not once, but five times?    Do not both sins send people to hell equally? )    These gentlemen would mostly say “no” to this, because Christ apparently died for our premeditated future sins.

Why the Nashville Statement now, and what about article 10?

As a practical matter, Article 10 will only be an effective “line in the sand” if the organization can raise the funds to make it so, by paying for media, conferences, political sponsorship, legal defense and the like.   Signatures don’t necessarily translate into wherewithal, as the Manhattan Declaration demonstrated.   Massive amounts of money pour into the coffers of the LGBT advocacy organizations that the conservative groups have never been able to match.    Indeed, in 2009, Dr. George established a political fund-raising organization, American Principles Project, based on that important lesson-learned.    At this point, SIFC does not recommend that the marriage permanence community donate to this organization, either, because they currently are hyperfocused on issues like homosexualism and its religious liberty fallout,  while remaining completely insensitive to the much more longsuffering, numerous and original religious liberty victims of the Sexual Revolution:  “Respondents” to civil unilateral divorce petitions.   This organization is an additional one that SIFC would recommend corresponding with and building a similar bridge for the appointed time.

SIFC is not a fan of cut-and-paste advocacy letters, and doesn’t really know the first thing about whether or not they actually work in practice.     That said, a “template” can be very helpful as a starting point from which to lay out basic facts then add thoughts from the individual heart.     It is in this spirit that I share my intended correspondence with these two groups.



 EXAMPLE LETTER TO CMBW :

Dr. Denny Burk & Directors


CBMW Executive Office
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40280

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
– Luke 14:28

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

 

 

Hey, Here’s a Novel Idea, Let’s Have Everybody Sign a Manifesto on Sexual Ethics

FrMartinDrGby Standerinfamilycourt

In general, the covenant marriage stander community hasn’t paid too much notice to the Nashville Statement that came out this week.  That might actually be pretty healthy, but in the interest of not allowing a good culture-influence opportunity to go by, “standerinfamilycourt” would like to offer up what is hoped will be an amusing introduction, in similar spirit to the one offered by Rev. Doug Wilson in his Blog and MaBlog  post this week, “Brief Statement on Any Future Statements About the Statement“.    (Admittedly, readers will find the Reverend’s humor to be superior to SIFC’s. )

After some prayerful reflection, “standerinfamilycourt” did finally sign the document at the end of the week, with some reservations and suggestions which will be shared in the next blog post.   In the meantime, just imagine if in August, 1969, this statement by a man-of-the (RCC)-cloth, appeared in The Washington Post:

I AFFIRM:  That God loves all [legalized adulterers] .
I DENY: That Jesus wants to insult, judge or further marginalize [serial polygamists].

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:  Once civilly legalized, it seems consecutive polygamists became the least marginalized societally-corrosive population of all time, while their spiritually-and-financially-abandoned covenant families became the most marginalized, by both church and state.

 

I AFFIRM:  That all of us are in need of conversion.
I DENY:  That [people “married” to someone else’s s spouse] should be in any way singled out as the chief or only sinners.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:   Indeed these folks are not singled out as the chief or only sinners, thanks to the various evangelical manifestos over the years that have all hyperfocused on the symptomatic rise of homosexualism.    Legalized adulterers are simply the most numerous and economically powerful underminers of biblical family.

 

I AFFIRM:  That when Jesus encountered people on the margins, he led with welcome, not condemnation.
I DENY:  That Jesus wants any more judging.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:  There’s a valid difference between “leading” in the encounter or relationship,  and “discipling / sustaining”   Both are needed.   Both require biblical integrity.  Stating biblical principles as unchanging, unconditional and non-optional is hardly “judging”.    All ideologies have a measurement standard, be they toxic or beneficial ideologies to the health of society.   Jesus also had a measuring standard, and because He will be applying it in the age to come, He spent a lot of time educating “people on the margins” about it,  after welcoming them.     

 

I AFFIRM:   That [legalized adulterers] are, by virtue of [infant] baptism, full members of the church.
I DENY:  That God wants them to feel that they don’t belong.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:  Not going there concerning the effect of baptism without scriptural authority, except to say that just perhaps the extrabiblical notion of infant baptism is precisely what makes any sexually deviant person (or pair) feel as though they  (unjustly, in their view) “don’t belong” to the church.

 

I AFFIRM:  That [people who “marry” someone else while having an estranged true spouse still living] have been made to feel like dirt by many churches.
I DENY:  That Jesus wants us to add to their immense suffering.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:   Famously, this was also the position of Dr. David Instone-Brewer and of Erasmus Desiderius (what’s with these Anglican / Catholic humanists?)   What about the far greater multi-generational suffering of the covenant famil(ies) they’ve abandoned or defrauded, while many churches overtly affirm the abandoners and defrauders in doing so?   Nobody “makes” anybody “feel” anything: permission always needs to be inwardly granted, and responsibility for our feelings needs to be self-owned.  Jesus would prefer that people not suffer far more immensely and eternally in hell, and has already given several warnings to that effect [Matt. 5:29-32; Luke 16:18-31, for example]. 

 

I AFFIRM:  That [legalized adulterers] are some of the holiest people I know.
I DENY:  That Jesus wants us to judge others, when he clearly forbade it.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:  Oh, dear.  We truly need to pray for you, if people living, Herod-like, with the poached and absconded spouses of others are indeed the “holiest” people you know.  We are who we hang out with, according to 1 Cor. 15:33.  As for the alleged “judging”, please kindly see above.

 

I AFFIRM:  That the Father loves [consecutive polygamists], the Son calls them, and the Holy Spirit guides them.
I DENY: Nothing about God’s love for them.

FB profile 7xtjw  NUGGET OF SANITY:  We need to have a much longer perspective on our definition of “love” that extends beyond this temporal life, as the Father actually does.   See again, Luke 16:18-31.   We also need to understand that God’s love is administered separately for each of them as individuals, who are not actually the one-flesh entity Jesus described in Matt. 19:4-6.

 

From Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon’s response to Fr. Martin (8/31/2017)

Jesus clearly based his view of marital monogamy and longevity on God’s creation of two and only two complementary sexes, “male and female”, as established in Gen 1:27; reiterated in Gen 2:24 as the foundation for marital joining of two halves into a single sexual whole (Mark 10:5-9; Matt 19:4-6). This is a “judgment” made by our own Lord: an inviolate standard that the Church must hold at all costs. Our Lord’s words on divorce and remarriage are predicated on the even more essential two-sexes foundation for all sexual ethics, where the creation of two (and only two) complementary sexes implies a limitation of two persons to a sexual union.

(FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: from here, we make a few substitutions into Dr. Gagnon’s rebuttal, as we did with Fr. Martin’s rebuttal of the manifesto itself.   Advance apologies to those who rightly conform to the words of Jesus,  “Call no man ‘Father’ ).

“Like many who seek to promote [consecutive polygamy as holy matrimony, liberal and evangelical churches, feminist groups, and the like] want to make the “don’t judge” statement a canon within the canon, falsely treating it as an absolute injunction while applying it selectively.

“Contrary to Martin’s contention, Jesus did graciously challenge and warn persons who were engaged in egregious sin, not just in his group teachings but also in individual encounters. When Jesus encountered the woman caught in adultery he did tell her to “no longer be sinning” with the inference that otherwise something worse would happen to her, not merely a capital sentence in this life but loss of eternal life (compare John 8:11 with 5:14).

“Yes, all of us are in need of conversion, but Martin [and these liberal secular and ecclesiastical groups do not] want to convert people out of a [life that Jesus repeatedly said was adulterous in the ongong sense].   [They want] the Church to affirm the sin or at least to [continue not taking] a stand against it.

“Martin complains about the Nashville Statement singling out ‘LGBT people.’  Yet the issue here is the attempt in the broader culture and in sectors of the church from [far too many denominations as well as the Roman Catholic Church of late] to single out [legalized adulterers] for exemption from the commands of God.  [These churches are] not truly welcoming the sinner but rather affirming the sin.  [They want] the lost son to remain lost in the deepest sense, for one is ‘found’ only when one returns in repentance (Luke 15:24).

“Infant baptism does not inoculate an individual against the judgment of God for failing to lead a transformed life. There is no sin transfer to Christ without self-transfer; no living without dying to self and denying oneself (Mark 8:34-37). Paul’s warning regarding the Corinthian community’s tolerance of an adult-consensual union between a man and his stepmother is a case in point.  “Is it not those inside the church that you are to judge?”  (1 Cor 5:12), Paul asked rhetorically. The answer to that question is not ‘no’ (as Martin seems to think) but ‘yes.’

“The Nashville Statement does not claim that persons who engage in homosexual practice can never act in a holy manner [but, nor does it bother with the far more relevant question of whether consecutive polygamists can or should repent of ongoing sexual immorality, ongoing unforgiveness of their true spouse and the idolatry of self-worship, none of which are redemptive or holy.   In fact, the glaring, intentional omission of church-“sanctified” heterosexual sin from Article 10** of the Nashville Statement is quite likely to undermine all credibility in this document because this reflects a substantial lack of integrity or self-examination, signed as it has been by many shepherds who routinely perform weddings that Jesus unequivocally and repeatedly called adulterous].  We all compartmentalize our lives. But the areas we are good in do not validate the areas we are bad in.   From the standpoint of Jesus and the writers of Scripture, engaging in behavior abhorrent to God contests any claim to holiness.

[FB profile 7xtjw**Article 10,  as drafted, reads as follows: “… that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness.”]

“The bottom line is this: [many of the signers of the Nashville Statement are] using, or even abusing, [their] offices to undermine what for Jesus was a foundational standard for sexual ethics…..”

[FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   As noted in earlier blogs, Dr. Gagnon is, on balance, a solid supporter of marriage permanence, but not necessarily of the principle of absolute indissolubility by acts of men.  In this regard, he has frequently written that he does not consider marital monogamy  to be a foundational element of the Creation account, Gen. 2:21-24, to the degree and extent that gender complementarity is, and has even more frequently written that homosexual practice is, in his estimation therefore, a greater sin than is the practice of legalized adultery.  Nevertheless, he has written in the past that remarriage by the “innocent spouse” following man’s divorce is not scripturally supported.
Dr. Gagnon has recently departed from his tenured post at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (we note, run by the very liberal PCUSA), and he covets the prayers of the saints for his next assignment.  Let’s all pray that he will land in a place that allows him greater freedom to continue training future pastors with full biblical integrity while speaking to all of the grievous excesses of the Sexual Revolution.  For nothing will be impossible with God.
]

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Wives Adrift: A “High View” of Marriage Includes WHAT??

by Standerinfamilycourt

Who could ever forget the young Iranian-American pastor’s wife who traveled the country and courageously spent so much time in front of the powerful in her devoted effort to win her husband’s release from a cruel foreign prison as his health hung perilously in the balance?   Naghmeh has shed her covenant surname in the past year in response to her freed husband’s divorce petition.    As Pastor Saeed approached his sudden early-2016 release, tragic new allegations started to pour out of his wife, of abusive treatment by him toward her that dated back,  she says, to shortly after their wedding, of his addiction to pornography that began prior to his arrest and continued during the imprisonment, of adultery committed on the eve of his arrest in Iran,  and of restraining orders and legal separation papers filed in their home state, seemingly before the plane carrying him home to the U.S. had even touched down.    How did a man manage to continue as a pastor when his wife was filing for protective orders against him even several years ago?

By her own Facebook declaration, Naghmeh had fallen under the influence of an unbiblical “abuse” ministry which calls itself A Cry for Justice.  The purpose of this “ministry” seems to be to persuade wives who suffer any sort of actual or imagined abuse to file a unilateral divorce petition (which Naghmeh did not actually do, but instead she provocatively filed for a legal separation as her husband was enroute home)–and to feel no biblical remorse or concern for the soul of their spouse in doing so.  Further, if their church leadership disagrees with this course of action for any reason, they are to be deemed “misogynistic” and dismissed from any further authority or influence in the “victim’s” life.    {Core message:  this is too hard for our all-powerful God to handle in the time frame we desire, so by all means, make eternity-altering decisions based solely on your emotions, and take “justice” into your own hands.  (Love,  satan.) }

So appalled was “standerinfamilycourt” after viewing this group’s media pages, that a blog post was started, revised, torn up, started again — but alas, the timing didn’t seem quite right to expose the evil proselytizing of ACFJ while the raw emotions were carrying the day for this pair, without coming off as insensitive to the tragedy unfolding in the Abedini family.   The preservation of individual covenant families will always be far more important than anything “7 Times Around the Jericho Wall” will ever have to say on any topic.

Eighteen months later, we see this from a very wounded wife whose husband has effectively been biblically-disqualified for now, by satan’s schemes, from carrying on in his calling:

NaghmehPost
The article to which Naghmeh refers in her post appears on a blog page called Gentle Reformation (describing itself as “a cooperative effort by friends in the R&P faith-Reformed and Presbyterian-to speak the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in its many applications through the media of the internet“).    Written as an interview with Rebecca and William VanDoodewaard: she an author and he a seminary professor, it was entitled:   A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce“.     It was gratifying to see several members of the covenant marriage standers’ community gently correcting the fallacies in Naghmeh’s post, and correctly pointing out that only death, not divorce, will ever dissolve her holy matrimony covenant.   This is especially encouraging in light of Naghmeh’s page-following which currently stands at 81,611 souls.

Notwithstanding the fact that both of these denominations, Reformed and Presbyterian, labor under the exegetical falsehoods of the marriage clauses of the Westminster Confession, it seemed interesting to dissect this blog to see how it is that they figure something which Jesus declared man-made, and which He personally abrogated from the law of the  Old Testament, was somehow deemed “necessary”  to a “high view” of the holy ordinance which God defined, with indissolubility being one of the two essential attributes (Matthew 19:6) from the beginning.     Perhaps even more interesting is to investigate exactly what else these folks deem a “high view” of marriage to entail.

This exchange begins:

“God hates divorce, doesn’t He? Absolutely.  Isn’t the gospel about forgiveness and love? Yes, it is. And pastors and elders can use these two truths in isolation from the rest of Scripture and biblical principles to deny people divorce for biblical grounds. “But marriage is a precious thing,” one pastor told a woman whose husband was in prison for pedophilia. “It would be a wonderful picture of God’s grace to move on from this and focus on your marriage,” another one told the husband of an adulteress. “We’re working with him; he’s really struggling, and so you need to forgive him,” a session tells a woman whose husband has been using pornography for years.

“Evangelical and confessional churches are striving to maintain a high view of marriage in a culture that is ripping the institution to shreds. So extra-biblical barriers to divorce can be well-meant. They try to protect marriage by doing everything possible to avoid divorce. In doing so, they not only fail to keep a high view of marriage. They also spread lies about the gospel, divorce, the value of people, the character of God, and the nature of sexual sin.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   We can’t say it often enough:  Marriage heresy is born out of  (and actually gets its oxygen from)  the failure to grasp the crucial concepts of one-flesh and unconditional covenant that Jesus was describing in Matthew 19:6.    Any attempt to defend marriage permanence on any other basis falls flat against the emotionally-charged  arguments that are the very calling card of satan’s serial polygamy surrogates.    The aim, of course, is to loudly distract from the clarity of actual scriptural instruction, God-breathed and divinely given for a particular situation, because of a culturally distasteful (or doctrine-discrediting) element therein.    Both principles, one-flesh and unconditional covenant, are mutually exclusive of the man-made doctrine of “biblical grounds” for marriage dissolution–unless the divorce in question is a repenting divorce from a man-joined unlawful union with somebody else’s God-joined spouse.   It then becomes unnecessarily debatable who exactly it is “spreading lies” about the gospel, divorce, the value of people, the character of God, and the nature of sexual sin.

Evangelical and “confessional” churches (we suppose that’s those who follow the morally corrupt WC)  are actually maintaining the lowest possible view of marriage, perhaps the lowest since the days that Jesus and His cousin sharply rebuked Pharasaical  Israel over the same issues.     Evangelical churches fell into this apostasy about 50 years ago, and “confessional” churches have been practicing it since their mid-17th century inception.

CW_JohnMilton

That said, let’s get into the “meat” of the VanDoodewaards’ argument, which is organized as four “lies” they endeavor to debunk.   The problem is that their own perceptions of each “lie” entail many more lies of their own when faithfully tested against scripture:

The first lie is that forgiveness means that the offended party is bound to continue living with the guilty party once there’s an apology.

FB profile 7xtjw
  SIFC:   While it’s entirely possible that pastors and church counselors who are either ignorant of the supernatural dynamic of one-flesh principles, or who erroneously define them, or who outright reject them as inconsistent with their “pastoral” dogma, may indeed give erroneous advice of this nature, but that does not mean that Jesus or Paul or Peter taught that an abused or at-risk party is bound to continue living with an abuser, as has been charged here  of those who are calling out this militant disobedience to scripture.   The additional problem is that the VanDoodewaards are here speaking merely of an offended party having a “right” to haul their one-flesh into a pagan courtroom for a “dissolution” certificate, and they are  implying that it’s acceptable in the sight of God to uproot one’s family just because one feels “offended” by their spouse.    Here we’re straying off into the subjective realm of “emotional abuse” (the fruit of self-focus; the idolatry of self-worship) where offense is purely in the eye of the beholder — which is very dangerous and unjust territory indeed.     Just because a person is “offended” does not mean their own heart attitude is at all acceptable to God.   Hard-heartedness (especially toward our one-flesh spouse) will cause a person to also harden their heart toward God — Who is also a holy Member of their unconditional marriage covenant.   (Yes, we unapologetically call it unconditional).

Hear what the Apostle (and the Holy Spirit) actually had to say on this point:

 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband  (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
– 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

The poison-pill in this scripture, and deemed to be “misogyny” and “injustice”  by these “ministries”, is the remain celibate or else be reconciled commandment to which man has been trying for centuries to insert exceptions that the Holy Spirit apparently “omitted”.     It was likewise the “unbearable” poison-pill as perceived by the Reformation humanists, including John Milton, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Erasmus Desiderius.      This is not to say that there’s any evidence that Naghmeh is currently pursuing an illicit relationship, but her promotion of heretical “ministries” is surely coming as a stumbling block to many desperate, estranged spouses.    It is not compassionate, nor is it “merciful” to encourage anyone to saw chunks off the literal cross that we are called and allotted to carry as individual disciples, for this runs the tragic risk that our lightened and abbreviated cross will some day become too short to span the fiery gap over the perdition of self-worship (idolatry) into the kingdom of God.   


Wives in particular are told that God requires that they forgive a repentant spouse, which is true, and that this means that they need to stay in the marriage, which is not true.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  Scripture tells us that the option to “choose” whether or not to “stay in the marriage” is not actually ours to make, be we a husband or a wife.   We ARE in the marriage, like it or not, until the physical death of one of the marriage partners, if we are indeed married in God’s sight.   The VanDoodewards are here conflating the biblically-allowed practice of a reconciliation-purposed season of separation, as God’s best for both spouses, with the purely man-made (and forbidden) practice of dragging a one-flesh spouse into a pagan courtroom to extract from them their property and God-assigned parental rights, based purely on our own allegations, where we know in advance that no evidence of those allegations will ever be required of us under our nation’s immoral “family laws”.    

It’s like saying to parents who discover that the babysitter molested their children: “Oh, but the sitter said sorry. It would be unloving to not ask them to watch the kids again. You need to demonstrate your forgiveness.” The argument is that Jesus forgave you and took you in: why can’t you do the same for a spouse? Because I am not God: I am human, too, and can’t atone for my spouse’s sin in a way that can restore an earthly marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   We here encounter satan’s other timeless calling card:  the classic and spuriously-chosen false analogy.   Our relationship with the babysitter is not a supernatural and inseverable one-flesh relationship, nor an unconditional covenant relationship.   Therefore, forgiving and continuing to employ the babysitter can indeed be separate considerations, for they are not supernaturally joined to us for life, nor are they morally-bound to carry out an essential gender-specific role in the emotional wellbeing of our shared progeny, perhaps for generations to come.

It is godless to simply wash our hands of the soul of either person, whether they are our spouse or the babysitter.   The crucial difference is that living in permanent state of irreconciliation with the babysitter is unlikely to threaten his or her soul, while living in a permanent state of irreconciliation and estrangement with our one-flesh, joined-for-life, covenant partner is highly likely to damage or destroy that person’s soul along with the souls of our children and grandchildren — the very reason God hates the treachery and violence of man’s divorce of the spouse of our youth.        

Sacrificing a person to save a relationship is not the gospel. The gospel is that Someone was sacrificed to free us from sin and bring us to God. We cannot always bear the relational punishment for someone else’s sin.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   The first premise that needs to be closely scrutinized here is, what is meant by “sacrificing a person”?   What is exactly being “sacrificed” here?    Their feelings and emotions?   Their self-actualization?   Their self-esteem?   The ease and comfort of their life on this earth?     All of these things are purely humanistic,  and if they are derived from disobeying God’s commandments, instead of being found complete in Christ, they are God-substitutes.   In other words, the are idolatry.    Idolaters, we are are told twice by the Apostle, have no inheritance in the kingdom God.    Paul sternly warns us:  “Do not be deceived.”     Jesus, in fact, did bear the relational punishment for us.   How dare we mock His blood by claiming it’s not necessary or possible (under His supernatural enabling) to do the same for our one-flesh?     It’s not as if this undertaking was of our own accord, rather than divinely-commanded!  (See 1 Corinthians 7:11 above.)
The sacrifice we ought to be focused on is the sacrifice  of eternal souls, not the sacrifice of temporal comforts.   That’s the gospel!

As a matter of fact, the supernatural one-flesh entity is of itself a spiritual weapon deliberately designed by God, as is the three-way unconditional covenant to which GOD HIMSELF remains a party, even if both spouses choose to bail out.    That’s the primary reason why Paul can make the truly remarkable statement in 1 Corinthians 7:14:

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 

Instead of self-actualization, the primary purpose of holy matrimony is for both spouses to help each other, and the generations of their progeny, to achieve their inheritance in the kingdom of God against the vast list of wicked desires along the way that would cause them to be deceived into forfeiting the same.    This divine purpose of true holy matrimony is to stand firm for a lifetime against satan and all of his wicked mouthpieces who would be so brazen as to suggest otherwise.
 

We can forgive them, and will if we are a Christian….Forgiveness is always the Christian thing to do, and it simply means that the guilty party is forgiven, not absolved from all earthly consequences.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Here comes satan’s third unmistakable calling card:  the mixture of a small nugget of truth with a massive pack of lies.   Read on….(by the way, we are never called to deliberately inflict those consequences on the offender by our own self-serving choices and actions that directly disobey Christ’s very clear commandments.)

…but that doesn’t mean we have to live with them.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Very true…see 1 Corinthians 7:11.   In fact, married disciples with a prodigal spouses may be called to a very long season of standing celibate and being a lighthouse for others, including their children and grandchildren.

You can forgive someone and divorce them.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  Very untrue.   What did Jesus say?

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) BEEN THIS WAY.
– Matthew 19:8

Jesus had just taken the divorce-happy Pharisees, with their similar network of wicked, man-manufactured laws, not back to the law of Moses’ wickedness-management found in Deuteronomy, but back instead to the other famous writing of the same Moses — Genesis 2:21-24.   

Scripture commands forgiveness where there is repentance

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  Very untrue.   What did Jesus actually say?

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
– Mark 11:25

Scripture actually commands of mortal men and women unconditional forgiveness, while leaving room for God to impose any consequences on them.     Forgiveness hinging on repentance is a prerogative  reserved for the Most High alone.   

…but it never requires that a relationship be continued in the way that it was before covenant was shattered.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  An unconditional covenant to which the Lord of Hosts, the God of Angel Armies is a direct party cannot possibly be “shattered” — it can be violated and badly-bruised, but according to the word of God, the only thing that actually breaks such a covenant is physical death.    These authors show profound misunderstanding of  the nature of God’s covenants, as well as the integrity of His character in His acting within them.    

This lie of “forgiveness” places the burden on the innocent party. The sinner gets counsel, support, help, and prayer, while the sinned-against gets pressure, guilt, and a crushing future.  Acceptance is often labelled the “Christian” thing to do.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   The only reason this appears to be true is directly due to the disobedience and carnality of the contemporary churches who should be faithfully obeying the commandment to apply church discipline, according the instruction in Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 5.    Their failure to do this does not create a license for us to willfully disobey Christ’s clear commandments to us as individuals.    What’s being overlooked here is that God’s justice doesn’t always occur within the time limits we arrogantly set for Him.    What’s being overlooked is the bounds of  our job versus the power and remit of the Holy Spirit to change hearts, ours and our spouse’s.

As for this burden on the innocent party,  what did Jesus say?

 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:29-30

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.    The “burden” that is alleged here to be wrongfully transferred to the victim is actually transferred to the holy and all-powerful Third Participant in the unconditional covenant of holy matrimony,  making this a false charge, and essentially calling God a liar.


Since Christ gave divorce as an option in some circumstances, divorce can be the Christian thing to do, too.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  There are no circumstances where Christ gave divorce as an “option”.    There are, however, circumstances where Christ gave man’s divorce as a commandment:   to  repent of an adulterous civil-only union with somebody else’s God-joined, estranged spouse.   This is the sole instance where man’s divorce is the “Christian thing to do”, because several souls are in danger of hell otherwise, including one’s own.

The second lie is implied: God hates divorce more than He hates abuse and sexual sin. To put the lie a different way, God loves marriage more than He loves the women in it.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFCWe assure the readers: this implication is exclusively that of these authors, and does not necessary represent the opinion of the Most High.     After a long season of depravity, a penitent Solomon found out what really “yanks God’s chain”, to-wit:

There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
– Proverbs 6:16-19

(We would humbly suggest that both the “Reformed” authors, and all those who harken after them, have committed some of these abominations just in the course of this article, not the least of which are:  misrepresenting the word of God, and coming between one-flesh covenant partners with their heresy.)

While God created marriage, loves marriage, and says that it is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church, Jesus didn’t die to save marriage. He died to save people. He sacrificed His life to protect His sons and daughters, and hates when they are abused, violated, and humiliated, particularly in a relationship that is supposed to picture Christ and the church.

This fact is especially true for women, who suffer at the hands of men whose actions mock servant leadership and so blaspheme the name of the Christ whom they are called to represent.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Pssst…The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Who, therefore, said retribution was to be left in our own hands?  Certainly not Jesus!

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.   Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
– Matthew 5:10-12

Do any of us dare to re-manufacture Jesus Christ to our own specifications?

Denying a woman legitimate divorce allows an unrepentant man to continue in this abuse and blasphemy.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Biblically speaking, this would only be true of a woman who is in a remarriage which Jesus repeatedly called adulterous, and the man-part is true of her adultery partner to whom God’s hand has never joined her at all.   This is the only woman “entitled” to a legitimate divorce (and only because this never was a “marriage” in God’s eyes to begin with).   This man is the true mocker and blasphemer so piously referenced above.   

If we want to value and treat marriage rightly, we need to think about Jesus!

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  No arguments here, provided the “Jesus” in question is the real Jesus of the bible.   This would be the Jesus who proclaimed man’s divorce not only immoral but actually impossible with regard to God-joined holy matrimony unions.

His care for His Church is not an abstract idea. We see it lived out in the gospels every day in purity, tender care for widows, and intolerance of the Pharisees who thought they could be right with God while checking out beautiful women at the market. Christ’s love for His church found very concrete expression on the cross—willingness to die to save His beloved people. Yes, God hates divorce. And there are some things that He hates even more.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: Repeating a false premise does not render it true …As already discussed above.

The third lie is that divorce is an unclean thing

FB profile 7xtjw 
SIFC:  Man’s divorce is of no effect at all, clean or unclean, with regard to God-joined holy matrimony.    It is a clean thing indeed (repentance) with regard to legally terminating non-marriages, that is with regard to disentangling from legalized sodomy, from legalized adultery, and from whatever legalized abominations lie ahead as further foul fruits of the Protestant “Reformers” heinous acts redefining of marriage back in the 16th century.

…often the fault of the innocent party.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  The innocent party remains accountable to obey God’s laws regardless of the degree of abuse or suffering that has gone before, or that which results as a consequence of obeying Christ.   The purported efforts to “dissolve” holy matrimony are always satan’s fault, but he’s limited to working through disobedient and / or deceived human instruments.   

This is a misunderstanding of divorce. Divorce is not the innocent party ending a marriage. Divorce is the innocent party obtaining legal recognition that the guilty party has destroyed the marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Well and good, but nothing is actually dissolved in that event.   God word couldn’t possibly be clearer that only death “destroys” holy matrimony, regardless of what man’s paper says.

So often, we see the divorcing person as the one who ends the marriage—they are not! Where there has been sexual unfaithfulness, abuse, or abandonment, it is the guilty party who ended it by breaking covenant.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC : 
  See above.   Who misunderstands man’s divorce?

While legitimate divorce is not mandatory, it is a biblical option, on moral par with maintaining the marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  On the contrary, the only legitimate use of man’s divorce is not, in fact, “optional”.   It IS mandatory.    Jesus and Paul both made very clear that everyone who dies in the immoral state of being legally “married” to the God-joined spouse of another living person (that is, adulterersMatt. 5:32b; 19:9b and Luke 16:18b)  will wake up in hell.

The 1992 report by the PCA study committee on divorce and remarriage comments:

It is also interesting to recall in this connection Jeremiah 3:8, where Yahweh is said to divorce Israel for her spiritual adultery (idolatry):―“I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.” If God himself can properly divorce his bride because of adultery, then, given Christ’s unqualified adherence to the authority of the Old Testament, it seems difficult to conclude that Jesus would not have had similar words on his own lips. (218)


FB profile 7xtjw 
SIFC:  
The biblical illiteracy of the above statement is truly breath-taking!  It reflects not only (a probably feigned) ignorance of Israel’s culture and history, but also an arrogant presumption that most of us won’t open our own bibles and keep reading past verse 8 to verse 14 where the same Lord tells Israel, “Return to me, for I am your husband.”     God did NOT drag Israel into a courtroom to economically and morally abandon her!    He temporarily severed the kiddushin betrothal that existed between them until she repented.   Both modern history and the totality of prophecy clearly shows that God did not “divorce” Israel.  To say otherwise is crass Replacement Theology, which is one of the many wicked heresies of mainstream denominations.    Furthermore, we have no need whatsoever to speculate what Jesus might have said because we know precisely what He DID say (repeatedly) .

The church needs to be clear about this: legitimate divorce is holy and biblical if God Himself can speak of initiating it.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   This is shameful direct slander of God, because Jesus made it more than abundantly clear that only man initiated divorce, not God.    Matthew 19:8.

 

Divorce does not end a covenant.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Correct!   Only death dissolves an unconditional covenant in which God is a participant.


It protects the spouse whose covenant has been violated—a picture of covenant protection in the face of human unfaithfulness.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Correct again!  The only biblically lawful form of man’s divorce legally disentangles a covenant spouse from an immoral but legally-sanctioned relationship with someone other than their true spouse so that the violated rights and wholeness of the covenant family can be restored in this life.   Happens all the time, actually.

Always discouraging divorce, always making it a last, desperate option that really fails to show gospel power, implies that we know more about marriage than God does and value it more highly. If there are legitimate reasons for divorce, then making divorce look like a lesser option is wrong. God allows it: who are we to discourage people from choosing a biblical option?

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   The only legitimate reasons for man’s divorce have already been discussed above.

The fourth lie usually involved in this discussion is about pornography. It is often classified as not technically adultery, so spouses are denied the biblical right to divorce. This is mind boggling.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Moot point.   Covenant spouses are divinely denied the “biblical” right to divorce for ANY reason, because only death, not adultery nor pornography, dissolves the covenant.    Aside from that, Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;  but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
– Matthew 5:27-28

So, Jesus also equated head-lust with adultery, as the authors correctly do, but this still does not create any biblical right to man-made divorce as a remedy for pornography addiction any more than adultery does.

(The rest of this section goes on to elaborate how heinous and destructive porn addiction is, and nobody would disagree, so we will skip all that, except to mention the dishonesty of the authors in  implying that not to obtain man’s  divorce from such a person is somehow “countenancing” the addiction and is “reflecting poorly” on the gospel.   The two matters are not objectively related, and one of them isn’t even a reality in the kingdom of God.)

Do you see how these lies, sometimes borne out of a desire to protect marriage, actually bring about a low view of marriage? By granting, supporting, and even facilitating a biblical divorce, we take a stand to say that we can forgive without being forced to live with people who have shattered us.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   This is dishonest and conflates terms again.  It is not necessary to obtain a false court statement purporting to “dissolve” what God’s word repeatedly tells us only physical death can dissolve, in order to enter into a protective separation where safety and peace compels it.    No paper ever protected anyone from anything, ever.    There is no such thing as a “biblical divorce” unless it’s repenting of a biblically-unlawful union, one that violates any aspect of Matthew 19:4-6.

This protects marriage by allowing the innocent party to leave a relationship that has been broken. By backing biblical divorce, we protect women whom God loves, showing Christ’s love when spouses have not. This protects marriage by refusing to allow sinners to abuse the institution with impunity.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Contorted reasoning, not too unlike what was recently offered up by a Catholic author in his ridiculously untenable effort to morally  justify the abomination of church-granted  “annulment” (the arrogant practice of retroactively issuing an ecclesiastical  paper which presumes to inform God whom He did and did not supernaturally join as one-flesh).
This Catholic deacon wrote:

“Annulments Serve the Truth of Indissolubility
It’s going to sound counterintuitive, but the Church’s annulment process exists to preserve the truth of the indissolubility of marriage. This sacred truth is so important that an explicit process to determine whether marital consent should be declared `null’ is absolutely necessary. Why? To maintain the other side of that coin—those occasions when marital consent cannot be declared null.”
Deacon Jim Russell, Archdiocese of St. Louis,  Crisis Magazine, July 5, 2017.

If “annulments”  are so “necessary” to uphold the indissolubility of holy matrimony, why is there no mention of this practice in the New Testament nor in the historical accounts of the 1st through 4th century church?    Similarly, why is there no sanctioned or approved mention of the practice of obtaining a government-issued “dissolution” paper in scripture in order to uphold the “honor” of holy matrimony, especially in light of the clear commandment which Paul gave in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 ?   

I’m sure there’s a formal label for this fallacious form of debate, because it insults the reader’s intelligence, but SIFC is not intelligent enough today to recall what this maneuver is called.    The general outline of this fallacy of logic goes like this:

“It is a valuable service we do, to mint counterfeit $20 bills, otherwise you’d have no way to verify that your authentic $20 bill is authentic. “


By publicly stating that sexual sin and abuse, not wounded spouses, ends marriages, we hold the marriage bed in honor. This protects marriage by creating a holy fear of violating it.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  By publicly stating that sexual sin and abuse, not wounded spouses, “ends” marriages you are denying the biblical truth that only physical death ends marriages.      By promoting serial polygamy, you are pretending to hold the marriage bed in honor, but you are actually desecrating it.    Such things are heart issues, and by encouraging people to do what Jesus Christ clearly forbade, taking our own vengeance, you flatter yourself that you are “creating a deterrent”, but what you are actually doing is interfering with true discipleship while causing real souls to hang in the balance.

By offering biblical divorce, the church affirms that pornography is depravity, and will not be countenanced by Christ’s church. Naming and disciplining sexual sin as the evil it is and offering divorce to the innocent party makes the value of marriage clear as we refuse to see it damaged, abused, or treated lightly.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  Sorry, but man’s divorce is certainly not the remedy prescribed by Christ nor by the apostles.   This is:

 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.   If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
– Matthew 18:15-17

 “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindle not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”
– 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Because of the inserverability except by death, of the one-flesh entity created by the hand of God, and because of the indissolubility of the three-way covenant in which God remains holy Participant even if both spouses abandon it,  man’s divorce is of no effect in the kingdom of God, but EXCOMMUNICATION is of very real effect,  for both Jesus and Paul would not have explicitly prescribed it.  Wives were never called to take their own revenge or rise up legally against the worst of husbands.   Proper resorting to the criminal justice system where necessary, submitting to biblical church discipline (if offered — which we know cannot be assumed)  and protective separation while caring for the soul of that prodigal spouse is what godly wives are called to do.

Yes, some of the godless rage against the evangelical church coming from militant feminist / humanist theologians like the carnal VanDoodewaards and from groups like “A Cry for Justice”  certainly seems justified in a sense, but make no mistake,  the remedy they demand for it is of satan.   Where was the leadership of Saeed’s home church in Boise years before her husband went to Iran, when his desolate wife was finding it necessary to file a domestic violence restraining order (a public record) ?    What was their excuse for leaving him in the position of a pastor under those circumstances, with apparently no church discipline invoked at that time?


Developing and maintaining a high view of marriage does a lot. It protects women and children, often the people most hurt by sexual sin. It keeps us from falling into sin ourselves: the higher our view of marriage, the less likely we will be to dabble in something so devastating. And a high view of marriage honors the One who created it for our good and His glory—the One who promises to judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  Agreed, which is why we reject carnal, humanistic solutions and follow only God’s written instructions.    There is no such thing as a “high view of marriage” without submitting to its no-excuses attribute of indissolubility, because every kind of adultery sends people to hell.   Yes, God promises to judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral, but the objective should be to promote the offender’s repentance so that they don’t die in that state and so that they escape that eternal judgment in favor of the loss of lesser crowns.    At the same time, all biblical care needs to be taken to avoid turning the innocent spouse into just as vile an adulterer.

Please pray for all members of the Abedini family, keeping in mind that the real enemy is satan, his demons and his “mouthpieces”.    Pray, too, that the Lord would remove all unsavory, unwholesome  company from the lives of both spouses ( 1 Corinthians 15:33) and that Holy Spirit conviction also would fall on all those Naghmeh is influencing during this season in which she herself has fallen under the demonic power of her wicked influencers.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men [ and women] as these.   For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the  knowledge of the truth.
– 2 Timothy 3:1-7

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Our Response to “Don’t Divorce…” (Dr. Diane Medved) as Reviewed by Mike McManus – Part 2

DontDivorcePt2by Standerinfamilycourt

OUR RESPONSE TO PART 2

It seems, to the seasoned covenant marriage stander community, that Dr. Medved’s book is one casting about for an audience that probably doesn’t exist, despite its wholesome message.   This seems to be attributable to the mythical premise of the “low conflict” struggling marriage, which those of us who have “been there” know probably doesn’t exist, as we commented in our response to Part 1. Many excellent points were made in McManus’ review with which we cannot argue at all, so our approach will be to touch on the handful with which we cannot completely agree:

RE: Some church members seem almost determined to divorce. They are unhappy and think that if they end their marriage, they can find a better mate. What should a pastor say to them? Or what should he say to a spouse whose partner wants out?

OUR SUGGESTION: Ask a very vital question: whether either partner has a prior estranged living spouse.

If the answer is yes, resolve not to stand in the way of separation and repentance from this adulterous union, and give them a copy of Have You Not Read?” by Ohio pastor Casey Whittaker.    Explain that pastoral accountability before the Lord (and theirs as disciples) is to encourage reconciliation of the original covenant union, and full chastity until such time as the Lord enables it.

If the answer is no, share Matthew 19:6, 8 with them and explain that man’s divorce is never God’s dissolution. Explain that if either of them remarries, they are at high risk of going to hell, since Jesus defined the state of ongoing adultery in terms of marrying a divorced person whose spouse is still living.   Explain the process of church discipline according to Matt. 18:15-18, and explain that it will be carried out if there occurs an adulterous violation of the marriage covenant. The church member who is determined to divorce is, more often than not, already in an adulterous relationship.    At that point, Satan is in control and spiritual warfare, plus effective church discipline is going to be needed.   Most churches will not willingly carry out this non-optional pastoral responsibility, and when they do, it’s typically in defense of the adulterous remarriage rather than the God-joined covenant union which may have occurred before a person’s conversion.   When they do carry it out, it’s all too easy for the offenders to simply go down the street where few or no questions will be asked and where the true word of God is unlikely to confront them.    In the rarity that the church member is determined to divorce because they want their covenant family back, and they realize from God’s word, rightly divided, that their soul is hanging in the balance so long as they remain in their adulterous faux “marriage”, they are likely to be met with the misappropriation of Malachi 2:16, and undeserved censure.

 

RE: If your partner wants to leave, ask some questions: “What can I or we do to make our marriage more satisfying to you? Are you attracted to someone else? What can I improve about my habits or behavior that would show you I value you?”

This is sound advice only if this is a God-joined covenant union, and not its remarriage counterfeit, following a prior divorce on either side. Such an approach, however, in the event that it fails may make the actual biblical prescription – the exercise of church discipline, more difficult for the prodigal spouse to endure later without bitterness. If there is another person involved (which is the case far more often than not), don’t expect to be told the truth even if the prodigal spouse had previously been a very truthful person.

In the case of a remarriage, there is no way such questions can or should overcome either the Holy Spirit-inspired restlessness that could be pushing a person who is somebody else’s spouse toward repentance, nor the innate character flaw that creates serial infidelity in an unregenerated person, which is a heart issue that only God can change, and when He does, it will be for the benefit of the true spouse.   It is normal for 60-70% of serially-polygamous unions to break apart, and if they did not, many more people would perish in hell.

RE: Dr. Medved’s further advice….”take small incremental changes, and ask your partner if he/she sees improvements. Increase the number of favorable emotions, gestures and interchanges. Increase the percentage of your time together that is close and supportive.   For example, have a weekly date – doing something you both enjoy.”

Many Christian couples were doing all of these things habitually, yet one spouse still was pulled toward an adulterous relationship outside the marriage.   Certainly, these things should be elements of any marriage, but the societal and legal incentives toward literal spouse-poaching are such that by the time it’s noticeable that something is amiss, it’s often too late for the onset of these suggestions to make any difference. In fact, even getting sufficient time with a prodigal spouse to accomplish any of these will be such a challenge that it will create a contentious situation in and of itself.   What we see playing out these days is exactly as Jesus described would be happening during the wicked last days:

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13

The danger comes when the suggested efforts are rebuffed, and the spouse who is committed to the marriage is then tempted to believe they’ve done everything they possibly can to save the marriage if man’s divorce occurs despite their efforts.    The following is an except from the author’s  introduction to the book, which illustrates our point well:

There’s a pattern here: One person’s not happy or sees an opportunity with someone else. The other one is rejected, with no recourse except for “mopping up” therapy and the consolation of friends.

I’m thinking of Jacquie, who thought she had a secure, happy marriage to Kevin. She taught part-time at a preschool, securing reduced tuition for their daughter and son, and was taking college classes for her teaching credential. She was the mom who brought decorated cupcakes for holidays; she was the teacher who decorated the classroom with kids’ photos and her own drawings of book characters. And she was the wife who arranged her schedule to be home to greet her husband when he arrived.

Until the afternoon he told her about his other relationship and started to pack, blindsiding Jacquie and blasting apart her world. She had no clue. He’d been emailing, texting, and ultimately hooking up with a client, and she’d missed it all, blithely trusting him, immersed in the sweet innocence of her child-centered world.

“Isn’t there anything I can do?” she pleaded when he told her. “You’re just going to leave our family and go off?” That was exactly the plan. I call it “chop and run,” a common and cruel tactic, very effective because the chopper can escape discussion, tears, and negotiation. He was out, and his blameless, loving wife, who’d done nothing but provide a wholesome, happy home, was suddenly thrust into single parenthood. Kevin paid the bills and gave Jacquie the house and tore her heart out every time he came to the door with the kids—especially when she could see his new love interest waiting in the car. That divorce served no purpose other than fulfilling Kevin’s selfish quest for excitement.

All their friends treated the split matter-of-factly. “Kevin dumped you for a girlfriend? Gosh, Jacquie, that’s awful. What a turd. You need anything? Maybe our kids can get together next week.” Yep, that was as much as they could do. In our no-fault culture, fulfilling one’s desires is legitimate. Just go for it; this is your only life. Outsiders didn’t want to get involved in Jacquie’s and Kevin’s “personal business.” Maybe Jacquie didn’t give Kevin what he needed.

Except that she did. He’d never complained or asked her to behave differently. Their disagreements were few and quickly resolved, mainly because Jacquie willingly adjusted to please him. Kevin wasn’t looking for someone new, but when the opportunity arose, he just responded to the advances made. And while he loved his kids, his need to be there for them didn’t seem as urgent as grabbing the brass ring dangling in front of him. They’d be all right. After all, Jacquie was such a great mom.

This “great mom” was devastated. She’d been living in a fantasy world and didn’t even know it. She was rejected because of Kevin’s narcissism and desire for fresh sex and adoration, but also because he knew he could take off to pursue excitement and nobody would censure him. Everybody would be an “adult.” The lawyers would meet, they’d sign the papers, and that would be it. As long as he acceded to Jacquie’s demand for custody and financial support, he could move on and see his kids on Saturdays—he could “have it all.”

Again, in the case of a true covenant marriage, it may be unavoidably necessary to stand celibate for a number of years, understanding that the concept of divorce is entirely man-made and dissolves nothing, and that God Himself has covenanted with the sacred union (Malachi 2:13-14) so He will defend it in the spiritual realm toward restoration.   The reason is exactly as described in Ephesians 6, we fight not against flesh and blood but powers, principalities and dark forces in the heavenly realms.   Contrary to the heretical belief rampant in the contemporary church, no amount of man’s paper ever converts adultery to holy matrimony.   One glaring area of omission and naivete by both Medved and McManus is their apparent lack of awareness that it’s not at all unusual for an adulterous estrangement with abandonment to go on for several years before a divorce petition is filed by the offending spouse, if the non-offending spouse is obeying God and not dragging their one-flesh partner into a pagan courtroom under any circumstances.

 

RE: If there are no children, divorce simply entails a division of assets. If children are involved, there is also a division of time and money far into the future. Holidays, birthdays and family celebrations require planning.

This analysis is a bit too simplistic.   If there are no children, there may still be adult children, and the very same issues will ensue for the next generation, plus a few more.   If, on the other hand, the marriage was actually childless, the divorce still entails elements far more priceless and irreplaceable than merely dividing physical assets.   For Christ-followers, it entails the burden of the battle for the very soul of our one-flesh life partner, that entails all-out spiritual warfare which is exhausting on a daily basis, and often goes on for many years.

If there are either minor children or minor grandchildren, there is the additional issue of dangerous, immoral exposure to an adulterous relationship and the imperative need to tell the children why the relationship is immoral, rather than giving in to the extreme societal pressure to treat it as the “new normal”.   Children need to be told this in an age-appropriate way, such as telling the story from the bible of the beheading of John the Baptist for rebuking the adulterous “marriage” of Herod and Herodias.   Brace for the wicked, howling censure of society after doing so, but it is far better to fear and obey God, rather comply with the sinful mores of men.   Children need to learn that adultery cannot be legalized in God’s eyes, that it will lead to an eternity in hell if it is not ultimately repented of by termination of the relationship, and this is why mom or dad or grandma or grandpa is never going to remarry while their original marriage partner is still living.

RE: In her landmark book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Judith Wallerstein interviewed 131 children from 60 divorced families over 25 years, with intensive interviews every five years. She was surprised to discover that repercussions of divorce hit hardest when children became adults.

Very true, and no different than we are warned of in the bible concerning generational sin, so the content of Judith Wallerstein’s book should come as no surprise.   No doubt the Old Testament scourge of concurrent polygamy had similar effects, as we see played out in the lives of Jacob’s and of David’s children. A more recent book, Primal Loss, by Leila Miller explores the emotional turmoil of 70 interviewed adult children of divorce in depth of detail and in their own words.

The primary value in books like Medved’s will be with non-adulterous families.   By that we mean, the rare troubled marriage where there is no extramarital activity going on, and the marriage itself is not a remarriage where there is an estranged prior spouse who is the true one-flesh companion of one of the remarried partners.    Unfortunately, that is not the situation that predominates today in a society so immoral that leader-sanctioned adultery predominates both inside and outside most churches.      Where there is a threat from an extramarital relationship, or the assumed “marriage” was adulterous from its inception due to an undissolved true holy matrimony covenant, God’s accurate word must be brought to bear instead, before there can be a positive impact.   It will be interesting to see in the book whether Medved is aware of the fact that 80% of divorces granted today are forced divorces where one partner objected, as McManus correctly pointed out in his review.   That automatically makes Medved’s audience only 20% of the pool, and as we pointed out, the remarried portion of that 20% segment should not be discouraged from moving toward a repenting divorce, and the rebuilding of their true family.

The primary danger in books like Medved’s is that the victims are being blamed rather than the system being adequately reformed.
It will not do to tweak an unconstitutional law in a way that benefits only a small segment of society while leaving the 1st and 14th Amendment violations on the books for everyone else, and which does nothing to reform the corruption in the churches that arose as as a result of illicit doctrinal efforts to accommodate the immoral law .

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7 Times Around the Jericho Wall  |  Let’s Repeal No-Fault Divorce!
 

 

 

 

Our Response to “Don’t Divorce…” (Dr. Diane Medved) as Reviewed by Mike McManus – Part 1

DontDivorcePt1by Standerinfamilycourt

Our friends at the Illinois Family Institute recently posted an endorsing review penned by marriage advocate Michael McManus founder of the organization called Marriage Savers, of the new book, “Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage”  by Dr. Diane Medved.     Michael is a journalist who has for several years travelled the country and lectured in churches with various strategies for reducing the overall divorce rate among families with minor children.   Diane is a PhD clinical psychologist and the wife of cultural media critic Michael Medved.     Both of them are certainly knowledgeable about the toxic effects of unilateral divorce on the lives of children long after they reach adulthood,  and on society as a whole.    However, both of them treat unilateral divorce as a “given”, an immoveable mountain that must be appeased and “managed” rather than picked up and thrown into the sea.    Both became interested in the topic due to forces external to their respective marriages, and (significantly), neither has ever experienced any serious threat or disruption so far to their long, happy marriages.    Hence, both the book and the review column are written based solely on vicarious experiences.   The world looks substantially different when you are bearing the heart-crushing burden of soul concern for your one-flesh, however, according to the biblical warnings.     (As I understand it, the Medveds are Jewish, and Mr. McManus is an evangelical, and possibly a Calvinist one.)

In fairness to Dr. Medved, “Standerinfamilycourt” has read only a few reviews of the book and watched a couple of interviews, but has not actually read the book.    This response is solely based on the content of McManus’ recent review in his column, Ethics and Religion  in Parts 1 and 2.

OUR RESPONSE TO PART 1

The advice in this article to repair one’s marriage at all costs is excellent — provided that the “marriage” in question doesn’t fit the description of ongoing adultery that Jesus repeated without “exceptions” on three different occasions, in Matt.5:32b; Matt.19:9b, and Luke 16:18b where He says that EVERYONE who marries a divorced person enters into this state of sin. For this very reason, some 50-60 years ago, most pastors and all but the most liberal denominations would never have permitted such a wedding.
Unfortunately, given the statistics cited within, and the relativistic outright moral collapse of the church in this realm, Jesus’ description fits at least 40% of today’s “marriages” where warm bottoms are occupying church pews and bolstering the offering plates.  But far more unfortunately, Paul warns at least twice that those who die unrepentant in this state of sin will forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God. You’ll never hear this from behind a pulpit, but Jesus Himself gives what amounts to the same warning at least twice, and in far more blunt fashion. (See Matt. 5:29-30 and ignore the man-inserted headings intended to chop up what Jesus was saying, as though this was a separate thought from His “next” topic, divorce. Ditto when you read Luke16:18-31 – about as graphic as Jesus could possibly have been on the matter, both making Paul’s twin admonitions in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal.5:19-21 seem pretty bland in comparison.)

A good rule of thumb is to never give a divorced-and-remarried couple (where there is at least one living, civilly-estranged true spouse) any family advice that wouldn’t also be perfectly suitable for all of the souls involved in a homosexual “marriage”. It is never good for the children to see what Jesus plainly called adultery normalized in the day-to-day life of their parents, especially in the name of Jesus, and it’s not good for society as a whole. Far better for the mother of children, who misguidedly “married” another woman’s God-joined husband, to exit that illicit union and marry an eligible widower or never-married man, (if she herself is not estranged from the true husband of her youth).   A growing number of men and women we counsel with are coming to the truth of what they’ve done, and are terminating their adulterous unions, some of which involve non-covenant children born thereto. We always strongly advise them never to do this unilaterally (as the immoral civil law permits), but to heed Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 6:1-8 to stay out of pagan “family court” by separating under a responsible financial plan, then being patient until they are able to arrive at a mutually-filed petition with terms and ongoing responsibilities mutually agreed, even if their church is not supportive. Though many such men and women could righteously go on to marry a never-married or widowed person, the vast majority are reluctant to even have the appearance of remarriage adultery on them ever again.

McManus and his Marriage Savers organization, with whom we’ve previously corresponded, has for years advocated a tweaking of the unilateral divorce laws to restrict so-called “no-fault” grounds to households where there are no minor children. That may seem like a good, humanistic quick-fix, but Christ-followers should have some major issues with that approach, including:

(1) the ridiculous implication that covenant grandparent marriages are less valuable to a profoundly broken and crumbling society than parent marriages and therefore less deserving of the 1st and 14th amendment protections that ALL marriages should be enjoying.

(2) this approach seems less likely to encourage a biblical solution to the homes where there is documentable abuse or unfaithfulness, that is, separating (rather than divorcing — since only death actually “dissolves” a true marriage) remaining unmarried or being reconciled (1 Cor. 7:11) and relying on the biblical process of church discipline (Matt. 18:15-18).   In the absence of availability of “no-fault” grounds due to the presence of children, this will increase the focus on fault-based cases with the objective of adulterous remarriage. Churches should be materially caring for these families as necessary to keep them out of adulterous remarriages, and should be encouraging more criminal enforcements in such cases.

(3) By the statistics cited within, there are some 800,000 U.S. marriages a year that have suffered the impairment of precious 1st amendment freedom of conscience and free exercise of faith protections, as well as child and property confiscation where there is no objective fault, in violation of the 14th amendment protections which invariably result from forced “dissolution”.   McManus’ proposal might shave off as many as half of these on a postponed basis, but might also discourage natural or adoptive parenthood under the law of unintended consequences, just as today the unilateral dissolution laws are discouraging young marriage altogether, and instead encouraging cohabitation–as many studies are now showing.

(4) The very concept of “low conflict marriage” is for all practical purposes bogus if one spouse is serious about wanting out.
God Himself called all attempts at covenant marriage dissolution treacherous and violent! If there is either adultery or financial covetousness stealing away the marriage, as is typically the case, this is actually a high-conflict situation, but even high conflict doesn’t invalidate the married-for-life indissolubility of that union, as McManus’ concept seems to imply.   Often such profound conflict, especially in an environment of ready, unilateral access to man’s “dissolution” papers, is neither loud nor outwardly violent in the conventional sense.

If churches truly came to grips with the biblical fact that our nation’s profoundly immoral civil “family” laws (and their own inexcusable complicity with those laws) has literally sent millions of unwitting souls to hell over the past 5 decades who thought they were “saved”, would we really be talking about merely “tweaking” these laws? Would we not instead be packing the church buses with people and signs, as we did a mere 3 or 4 years ago in an attempt to stave off the state sanction of sodomy, sending them to march relentlessly under the rotundas of our state capitol buildings and outside the state supreme / appellate courts until every one of these wicked laws was repealed?  Sadly, we seem to have had our answer this past 2017 legislative session, when courageous young lawmakers in two states both managed to get their repeal bills past a pair of hostile committees, only to die on the floors of both GOP-dominated legislatures for want of a floor vote.   Meanwhile, the idolatrous silence of the churches in both states was deafening, while the family policy groups allowed the deluge of vicious and false press opposition to go completely unanswered, even on their own webpages and blogs – “crickets” there, too.   Given the still-perishing souls that will result, how will they ever answer to God for this massive sin of omission recently committed?

If we realized the cumulative impact (compounded by borrowing costs over nearly 50 years) that these immoral laws have had on state and federal budget deficits, as social costs are passed from the moral offender straight to the backs of the taxpayers – a combined total of a quarter of a trillion dollars per year, according to a 2008 study by the Institute for American Values (http://www.americanvalues.org/search/item.php?id=52), would our priorities as responsible conservative political groups still be on the symptom issues such as bathrooms and marijuana, or would they be at least partially redirected to eradicating the underlying cancer?   We will be writing to Mr. McManus again. Yes, it may be admirable and tempting to take “practical” steps to cut the fiscal damage in half, but what will a man give for his soul?

Next post:  Our response to Part 2

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