Category Archives: Divorce

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actual Letter to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, RE: Skit on “Purity”

by Standerinfamilycourt

October 11,  2017

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Revive Our Hearts
P.O. Box 2000
Niles, MI   49120

RE: Skit, Day 2 of Revive 17 livecast

Dear Nancy:

I and the womens’ ministry of my longtime church have attended your events in Indianapolis and on a few occasions, including two Saturdays ago, we gathered in a retreat setting to join you for part of the simulcast.   I drove down to join, though I have now moved to a neighboring state.   Typically, we always have a mix of generations in attendance, beginning with the teenage girls whose lives and values are just forming.  I am writing to express my biblical concern over the content of the skit that preceded Dannah Gresh’s message on purity.   Before I do, I’d like to bring a few brief scriptures to the fore, if I may, since Titus 2 begins with a plea for sound doctrine:

“You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall not commit adultery’ 28 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. 29 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. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off 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 go into hell. 31 “It was said,  ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

11 (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.  For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 32 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

Of course, Nancy, you know that these scriptures are:  Matthew 5:27-32, Romans 7:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:11 and 39, by those two “graceless legalists”, Jesus and Paul, respectively.   I think it’s also important to acknowledge that the Matthew scripture is the first of three separate occasions where Jesus delivered the [bolded] message [closing verse 32] using the same present-indicative Greek verb tense (according to two different apostolic, Spirit-led authors), meaning that where the translation renders moichatai  as “commits adultery”, a more precise rendering would be, “enters into a state of ongoing adultery“.

The message of the skit was intended to model an “older woman” (who is purported to have “repented”  from adultery)  admonishing a “younger woman”, who is dangerously flirting with adultery, not to go there.    However, for those of us who know our scripture well enough, there were actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit: girl #1 who is presently violating vs. 27, and girl #2 who is continuously violating vs. 32.   The verses in the middle dramatize from the Master’s perspective just how eternally dangerous both forms of adultery are.   With this in mind, it was disappointing to me that this skit reinforced the world’s too-narrow perspective on what constitutes adultery, and appears to be ignoring Christ’s higher definition of the same, for which we all will ultimately answer.
I shudder for the young ladies in the audience, because most of their evangelical moms and dads don’t know (or don’t care to accept) Christ’s definition, and as a result, actual souls are on the line, just as Jesus made graphically clear in that passage, and again in Luke 16:18-31.     In a few years, when their daughter wants to “marry”  some other living woman’s estranged husband, just because man’s paper and the man-voted Westminster Confession of Faith each say she may, those parents will probably feel queasy, but the particular brand of “grace” that rejects moral absolutes will seem to compel acceptance of it, if she insists.   I’d like to point out in contrast, that Paul would have considered such things worthy of the degree of church discipline he urged in 1 Corinthians 5, due to the preciousness of those souls that are on the line.   Indeed, John the Baptist, whom Jesus highly commended, would have deemed those souls as worthy of his very head.

If I may, I’d like to share as a mom and grandmother why I believe that when it comes to this type of discussion, accurately communicating the “why” matters every bit as much as communicating the “what“, especially when it comes to young, exploring minds.   Jesus defined marriage itself in Matthew 19:4-6, and 8.   Most contemporary evangelicals attempt to reject and ignore verses 6 and 8, which tell us all of the following things that many, if not most of us, would rather not hear:

(1) God does the joining in holy matrimony (or declines to, in which case it’s only man’s counterfeit)

(2) This joining occurs upon valid vows from eligible parties (the man leaves his FATHER and MOTHER, not his existing one-flesh companion who is still living).

(3) This joining, as an act of God, is instantaneous, not gradual, contrary to what most liberal, contemporary commentators would prefer we believe.

(4)  This joining creates a new supernatural entity that is severable only by death and can’t be counterfeited by men, not even by His appointed shepherds.

(5) This new entity is one party to an unconditional covenant–with God (per Malachi 2:13-14) being the other party to that indissoluble covenant….“She IS (not ‘was’) the companion of your marriage covenant.”

Aside from this unanimous teaching of all of the early church fathers from the 1st – 4th centuries, Spirit-led men of God such as R.A. Torrey, an early president of Moody Bible Institute, also held to this view despite a Calvinist background and despite the revisionism of those who succeeded him in leading the Moody organization.   In his famous book, “How to Pray”, Pastor Torrey said this:

RATorrey2

Neither he nor Jesus nor Paul would have ever made the assertions they did if they believed that man’s paper dissolves holy matrimony in God’s sight.   Boiled down, adultery is sleeping with someone else’s spouse who has not died, or it is coveting them in that way.  Man’s civil or church paper doesn’t change it, because Matt. 19:8 tells us that due to the sacred concept of one-flesh asserted in vs. 6, and His holy participation in an unconditional covenant, He never delegated that kind of authority to men…”MOSES allowed…but FROM THE BEGINNING, IT WAS NOT SO”.   We speak very shallowly today of “restoring a culture of marriage” in the church when we ought to be speaking instead of no-excuses indissolubility, since this contemporary impurity is what is most keeping the church from true revival.

Some of the most shining moments at your conferences have featured covenant wives, Vicky Rose for example, obeying 1 Cor. 7:11 and standing for their one-flesh prodigal spouses for as long as it takes for them to be won or restored to the kingdom of God.   I like to think that one-flesh is a sort of spiritual weapon in that regard, as Paul strongly hints in 1 Cor. 7:14.   Standers who don’t stand from the pure motivation that their estranged spouse’s very soul is on the line will never go the distance.  Sadly, standers tend to be scolded by evangelical pastors and counselors for taking on this quite-legitimate burden, which to a one-flesh partner is actually unavoidable.

 

Jesus and Paul both used unique words in describing this supernatural joining, cleaving and its resulting supernatural entity, and entirely different words to describe its man-contrived counterfeit, as follows:

sarka_oneflesh2

Just imagine the power that would be added to the many excellent points of Dannah’s admonition on purity if its basis had been the supernatural, instantaneous one-flesh entity and God’s unconditional covenant, instead of the unsanctified brand of “grace” that demands no actual repentance or obedience, hence no genuine submission to the process of moving toward purity:

  • We avoid erotica and pornography because they will never match the supernatural one-flesh state that God inhabits, and with which He unconditionally covenants
  • We choose our partners for this indissoluble entity wisely because the one-flesh state applies until death, for better or worse
  • Man’s divorce isn’t attractive when both partners understand the nature of the one-flesh state, because we know sarx mia can’t be replicated for us outside of widowhood.
  • Not only is purity a process, God applies no religious or moral test when He creates and covenants with the inseverable one-flesh entity between only the biblically-eligible.  It existed between Potiphar and Mrs. P, Ahab and Jezebel, Hosea and Gomer, Philip and Herodias, Herod and the daughter of King Aretas of Petra, as well between Timothy’s parents.
  • The one-flesh entity is a fact of divine metaphysics “from the beginning”, and not rules, permissions, exceptions or allowances.  It was actually God’s true grace that made this objectively so, making the question of “legalism” completely moot in this realm.
  • We love and nurture our own husbands and wives because they indeed are (literally) our own flesh (Eph.5:28-29).
  • We oppose unilateral divorce laws and support their repeal when there’s an opportunity to do so because those laws often send people to hell in pairs, just as gay marriage laws do.

For the sake of the young ladies in the audience who have all of these choices ahead of them, as well as for the sake of the standers whose estranged spouses have somehow remained in the church, I wish girl #2 had gotten the very same intended points across by sharing how she was now obeying 1 Corinthians 7:11 in remaining celibate or reconciling with her own husband after her one-flesh “divorced” her, since those are our true biblical instructions.  For me, the most grievous element of this skit was the unnecessary slander God endured because of the unsupported assumption that He had brought a strange man to this already-married woman just because “husband” #2 seems to be a professing believer.

Nancy, I have enclosed an excellent book by the faithful and scholarly bible teacher, Joe Fogle, entitled One Flesh, calling your attention in particular to the chapter on church history which starts on page 65.    This is the book I was recently relieved to find out I would not have to write myself someday.   I apologize in advance if reading this upsets your relationship with the Moody organization whom the marriage permanence community has tirelessly attempted to persuade to truth over the years.   Aside from your established role as spiritual mother to millions of ladies, you now step into the role of actual mother and grandmother, so I pray this book will help in some way as you walk out all of these callings. Thanks again for all that you do.

 

Respectfully,

“standerinfamilycourt”
Blogger

Delavan, WI

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!

 

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 .

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

The Proverbs 31 Woman Marches into “Family Court”

proverbs_31_vintage_photo_woman_bible_card-r4d00404003574c2da63a9bd64bb7b5ee_xvuat_8byvr_324by Standerinfamilycourt

Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?   Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?   So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life,  do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?   I say this to your shame.   Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,  but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?   On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren   1 Corinthians 6:1-8

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”  And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”   But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”   ( – lawyer’s query of Jesus, Luke 10:27-29)

There’s no question in the minds of most people that a divorce petition, whether fault-based or unilateral, constitutes a civil lawsuit that unavoidably pits spouses against each other for property and parental advantage.    This is an abomination in God’s sight,  if He sees the parties involved as inseverably one-flesh until death by His own hand, as Jesus indicated in Matthew 19:6.    No piece of man’s paper has ever overridden this, “from the beginning” (verse 8) and no piece of man’s paper, other than a death certificate, ever will.

It’s also clear that no follower of Christ ever needs the intervention of a pagan court to live a life of reverent obedience to Him, whether or not there has been violation of the  marriage covenant, or of the civil-only non-covenant “contract”, as the case may be.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
– 2 Peter 1:2-3

We know this because Paul agreed that covenant spouses may separate for a season in the hopes of reconciliation in such cases, and the historical writings of the 1st-4th century church leaders overwhelmingly bear this out.    We also know this because Jesus made clear that man’s divorce is not something God created at all, but a man-made contrivance born of hard-heartedness, greed and lust.    This is not stated for any purpose to  “condemn” or “throw stones” at any contemporary ministry leader so styling her ministry.  This Proverbs 31 Woman has been deeply wounded by the conduct of her husband, and is merely following the Churchianity culture of  “reformed” Christendom.  She may never have had the unpalatable, undiluted biblical truth faithfully presented to her.    Certainly, there’s no shortage out there of famous charlatan “ministries” who fallaciously claim that God either “allowed” or “provided” for the dissolution of holy matrimony in order to “accommodate hard-heartedness”.    In her vocation, it’s quite likely that our contemporary Proverbs 31 woman may know a few of these media ministry wolves personally.

Nevertheless, having spent much of last weekend being pelted by indignant Ministers of Churchianity  over our post of the breaking news story,  SIFC is bracing for the onslaught, while praying for healing of this precious family.

Who was the Proverbs 31 woman in the bible?

Though many a woman of God  fervently hope the gal described in Proverbs 31:10-31 is a composite (and merely an “ideal”) rather than an historical woman, she’s actually described as the mother of a King Lemuel, who is otherwise not mentioned elsewhere in the bible.    Since many or most of the Proverbs are ascribed to King Solomon, and the name “Lemuel” literally means, “belonging to God”, it is widely assumed that this biblical queen was actually Bathsheba.

Lemuel's mom

 

The Reality : What does a trip to “family court” provide?

It’s amazing that so many people who call themselves Christians can tout the bible while saying with a straight face, “God provides for divorce in these situations” or “sometimes divorce is the only solution.”    It’s hard to see how the first widely-believed presumption squares with the words of Jesus Christ:

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. ”    – Matthew 19:8

If something “has not been so” from the creation of the world, it seems pretty clear that God had a different provision for whatever is driving His children into the pagan courtrooms.    Which leaves us with the other presumption, i.e. that man’s divorce accomplishes something of enduring value, or at least that it lessens human suffering.   It should be obvious to all that no piece of paper protects from perceived abuse or actual violence.   No piece of paper coming out of today’s “family courts” adequately protects children from the ravages of their parents’ adultery, prevents financial abuse entailed with adultery or accomplishes much of anything virtuous that a biblical separation (1 Cor. 7:11) would not accomplish.

The piece of paper does, however, create a fiction from the perspective of the kingdom of God, that the parties are “free” to marry another while their true spouse is still living — it provides a false patina of cultural “morality”, but is nevertheless profoundly immoral.   Man’s divorce does dissolve man’s adulterous pretense called “remarriage”, but only because such was never holy matrimony to begin with.   The piece of paper does sometimes seize and transfer assets and parental rights for the benefit of the Petitioner,  but we must ask ourselves, how does God look on that?

Is this a biblically-defined covenant marriage per Matt. 19:4-6?

The biblical fact is that Bathsheba did not fit Jesus’ definition of a biblical covenant wife  such that she was ever one-flesh with anyone other than her original covenant husband, Uriah the Hittite.    David, after all, did not leave father and mother to be joined to Bathsheba.   In fact, the only one that is true of is Michal.    God even justified David’s recovery of Michal as his one-flesh after she was given in non-covenant marriage to another man, Paltiel.   Though the death of Uriah severed the one-flesh union that God originally joined by Jesus’ description, there is no evidence that Michal was deceased when David took any of his many his inferior wives and concubines.    Bathsheba was most probably a non-covenant wife under the system of concurrent polygamy that God tolerated in that day.   Today’s counterpart, which is most decidedly not tolerated by God, but repeatedly called ongoing adultery by Jesus  is consecutive or serial polygamy – non-covenant unions following man’s divorce which, without exception, violate Luke 16:18 and Matthew 19:6 so long as there is a living, estranged spouse on either side.

A covenant marriage is one where a never-married partner or widowed person marries another never-married partner or a widowed person of the opposite sex.    In the first instance, there has never been a one-flesh joining by God’s hand with another spouse, and in the other, the one-flesh bond has been broken by the death of one of the spouses, hence can be re-formed by God’s hand with a subsequent spouse.   That said, in our complex society where unilateral-divorce-on-demand has been the law of the land for decades, the other circumstantial possibility for a covenant marriage, according the definition Jesus gave in Matthew 19,  is between someone who has divorced out of a non-covenant marriage and somebody who is widowed or never-married.    In this latter case, the person was never one-flesh due to the inseverable one-flesh state of the person they married.   The union was civil-only and no more a marriage in God’s eyes than a “gay marriage”.

It has proven exceptionally difficult to discern the facts in the Terkeurst case from publicly-available records or from Lysa’s many blog writings.    At one point, while reading one of her books it seemed that she mentioned being a second wife, but this is not conclusively borne out in the public records.    A stander from their state provided us with these details about the Terkeursts,  who appear to have an inseverable,   one-flesh God-joined union as best we can tell:

Arthur Dudley Terkeurst III married Lysa Michele King on Dec 5, 1992. She was 23 and he was 26.   I searched through the newspapers and records. Could not find another marriage prior to this one.   Her mother divorced and remarried.”

However, one of the background searches linked Lysa’s estranged husband, Art with a Sharon L. Terkeurst of Grand Rapids, MI, who is now Sharon L. Porritt,  and who is four years older than Art.   There is nothing conclusive which is publicly available about how Sharon is connected to Art.    All of this sounds rather gossipy, but there is a biblical point of distinction here.    If Lysa is indeed the wife of Art’s youth and companion of his marriage covenant, Lysa’s trip through “family court” will dissolve precisely nothing.   She will be just as married the day after the ink is dry on the decree as she was when she went to bed on December 5, 1992.   While there’s no denying how admirable it has been that she has done much to try and preserve her marriage up to this point, the state of holy matrimony has never been about permission or allowance to “dissolve”, regardless of any crimes of the spouse.   Instead, she should have separated from him without a divorce petition, but only if there was physical danger involved in their home, and remained open to reconciliation should he repent.

If on the other hand, Lysa is a second wife whose predecessor is still living, she and Art are not actually married today to begin with, their five children notwithstanding.   Her trip into family court will clean up her civil legal status, but the same can be accomplished with a mutually-agreed petition, hopefully arrived at out of court.   Even if Art later repents of his alleged alcoholism and extramarital relationships, she should still never reconcile with him as long as his original one-flesh wife is alive, but encourage him to seek reconciliation instead with the wife of his youth.   Perhaps one of our readers who follows Lysa’s blogs or ministry more closely will be able to update us on which situation actually applies, based on something she’s shared in the past.

Was the historical Proverbs 31 woman in such a marriage, and what does this mean for the future of that ministry?

It’s a strange schizophrenia of the harlot church of today which considers the act of pursuing civil marriage dissolution a worse sin than the consecutive polygamy (ongoing adultery, as Jesus stated at least 5 times) that typically results from the split.    In the days of King David, there may have been “a bill of divorcement” that Jesus and the prophets denounced, but the more typical situation which “legalized” adultery was a man-made system of concurrent polygyny, with greater and lesser wives and concubines.     Even so, from the beginning, no man or woman has ever been joined as a one-flesh partner, in the supernatural sense, to more than one living spouse at a time.    Hence, the probable original Proverbs 31 woman was actually a lesser wife in that system, though she became the king’s mother.   The original Proverbs 31 Woman was not in a Matt. 19:4-6 covenant marriage, most likely.

It should not therefore matter what Lysa’s status in leading this ministry actually is, so long as she stays focused on seeking first the kingdom of God.    However, so often today, such prominent women (Joyce Meyer, Dena Johnson, etc.)   turn to teaching the unbiblical marriage heresies of the harlot church in their “ministries” because that’s how to stay published in what’s become an industry within the evangelical establishment, and that’s how to retain the largest following and financial security.     Go to any dozen “marriage permanence” web pages, and what you’ll invariably see is that the ten pages that admit people who are “standing” for their most recent marriage  have tens of thousands more followers than the two that only admit those standing for their true covenant union as defined by Jesus.      Right now it’s interesting to watch the duel between those who are slamming her for seeking a civil divorce, and those who assert the fabricated, but widely-believed “biblical exceptions”.   That said, carnal Christianity is carnal Christianity, and as the non-covenant Hovinds counted on only a handful of months ago, the furor in evangelicaldom will soon enough die down.   If Lysa goes on to find another husband (or find the husband of another), they will all return to one accord, singing the chorus of “biblical exceptions”.     Temporally, all of this should tend to boost Lysa’s following, regardless of the moral choices she makes going forward, because her followers cannot see whether the inseverable bond ever existed in the first place, nor whether it continues to exist, because the very idea of a marriage bond that no act of men can sever (Matt. 19:6,8; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39)  is profoundly offensive to most of them.

Going back to the beginning, when Eve decided it would be delicious to be like God in the knowledge of good and evil, when she decided “her God” was surely not a “legalist” — and her husband failed to correct her, both were given curses that extended to their genderkind, respectively, until Jesus came to provide the way to reverse the curse (obeying Him from the heart – Matthew, chapters 5, 6 and 7).    Unfortunately, the curse for womankind was “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”     This is how we wound up with humanistic rebellion against lifelong monogamy, both in the rebellion of women against the unconditional authority and headship of their husbands under Christ’s headship.  and in the rebellion of their husbands against the seventh commandment in its various forms including: polygyny, concubinage, prostitution, pornography and abandonment.    Humanistic cures, including man’s divorce, will never have any effect on these curses because they intrinsically reject the authority of Jesus Christ.   Only no-excuses obedience to His commandments will bring relief and restoration from that curse.   Of the two biblical “bad girls” that found their way into the blood lineage of Jesus Christ (Rahab the harlot, and Bathsheba the adulteress), both discovered the way to harken to the voice of God in their unions.  There is considerable evidence that Bathsheba and David righteously separated toward the end of David’s life, perhaps in repentance, and God orchestrated events such that her son, Solomon, became the king, among all of his non-covenant sons.

In that spirit, we pray that Lysa reconsiders her civil lawsuit against her husband, but and if she does depart, she will remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, if he is her covenant husband.    If he has a prior estranged wife, we pray that Lysa will accept a season of being a eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of God, until she has the Lord’s direction for the future of her family.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the
future.  – Proverbs 31:25

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

SIFC Weighs in on Contra Mundum Swagger: Following Christ in a Divorce Culture

CMS_Shannonby Standerinfamilycourt

Our politics, culture and churches are falling apart , and the root cause of this decay is divorce and remarriage….I want to demonstrate that our obedience on this issue is a fundamental reason for the havoc we are witnessing in our culture and that our obedience to Christ on this issue will also be a fundamental reason for the victory and restoration of our families, churches, culture and politics.    –   Author,  Jack Shannon

This is a blunt book about God’s displeasure with the altars to Baal and with the Asherah poles that have been built up in our contemporary evangelical churches during the last four decades, and which are now under rapid construction in the last few years even in the Roman Catholic church under the “guidance” of Amoris Laetitia.   (The mere fact that schism over this idolatrous altar-renovation work remains a threat to the RCC is, in SIFC’s view, a profound credit to the faithful discipleship of a remnant few in that church).

Written by the millennial son of a man who demonstrated what it was to stand for a difficult marriage and see it turned around,  this book will also be a satisfying read for those who are shaking their heads at the hype over the tuck-tail Benedict Option (by Catholic convert, Rod Dreher).    Equally commendable to his “stander”-father’s strong, unselfish discipleship is the fact that Jack came through both military service and a Reformed seminary with godly convictions fully intact, and in fact, gave a compelling, bold  defense of the no-excuses indissolubility of holy matrimony in this 2016 presentation to a gathering of graduate students  and faculty of St. Andrews College.   Jack remains a never-married man, but has been engaged in the past.   Contra Mundum Swagger appears largely  based on that 2016 thesis but has evolved a bit in the year since he presented it.

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;  to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.

–  1 Cor. 12: 8 -10

It is evident which of the functional gifts of the Spirit is in operation in this book, given that the author prepares his audience for the “tone” of the book (page xv of the Introduction).   Most to whom this particular gift is distributed wish they could send it back and choose another that will get them in less trouble.  

Fortunately, truth-telling, outspoken prophets like Hosea, Malachi, Ezekiel, etc. didn’t face a bunch of denominational scrutiny which some today are tempted to argue should therefore discredit the entire message.  It’s OK to  respectfully disagree with some of the critics, while also disagreeing with the denominational bias and eschatology first mentioned in the last few pages of the last chapter.  But such is the author’s privilege, since what we believe about the latter is hardly a heaven-or-hell matter (as contrasted with the core central truth of this book). The marriage permanence  community seems to abound with church-wounded people who will insist (without conclusive  scriptural  support, we’ll add) that pastor-led congregations are not a valid model for the New Testament Church. Once again, what we believe about this is not a heaven-or-hell matter, therefore objections  that the organized church cannot or should not be an important part of the solution are in our view deceitful, counter-productive, and emotionally biased.

On the contrary, most of us read this book as a stern warning that the Lord is returning as prophesied, regardless of our morals, readiness or level of respect. It’s a clear message that God does reach a tipping point,  time is running out and it’s either genuine worship and revival or it’s destruction.

A few nuggets from various chapters in the book:

(Concerning the abuse of grace, individually and as a national body of believers – page 40) :

When people refuse to repent their sins or willingly decide to worship in an unlawful way after being illuminated by the truth, they are bringing severer judgments on themselves for violating the Spirit of grace than if they were merely violating the Law of Moses.  Notice that the punishment for unrepentant sin is harsher in the New Covenant.   Let me say that again: punishments are harsher in the New Covenant.

(When true Christ-followers are accused of “obsessing” over the immorality of remarriage adultery  while “ignoring” other forms of sin –  page 43):

Other sins like lying and stealing may be happening in the church, but they are not defended or condoned by church leadership.   We don’t get together and have ceremonies celebrating masturbation, lust, theft, murder or bearing false witness.  But we do when it comes to the adultery of divorce and remarriage.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC Observation:  Lust, theft and bearing false witness are all intrinsic to the adultery of divorce and remarriage, the last time we checked.

(Concerning the “sanctified” nihilism and defeatism that settles in at the church over abortion and gay marriage which directly results from failing to recognize or, even worse, remaining unwilling to remove the log in our own eye – page 82:)

But as it is, we point to things that aren’t really the main sins or are not as egregious as the adultery we affirm in divorce and remarriage.  Instead we say we need to think more covenantally or be louder with our condemnation of abortion or homosexuality, or we formulate things like the Benedict Option where we learn how to give up our dominion mandate.   We tell ourselves that this isn’t really our home and that maybe if persecution came, we’d be the better for it.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC Note:  Dr. Michael Brown is a key example of an influential church leader who has publicly admitted many times that the “log” is there, but he doggedly refuses to believe that it actually needs to be removed.

(Concerning evangelical cluelessness about why believers are coming under persecution rather than prevailing over the Sexual Revolution – page 136:)

Much of the evangelical world simply makes no connection between personal and cultural destruction and the sin in their lives and in their churches.   They just think they are righteous, like Job, and are experiencing similar loss, when in reality they are not blameless servants.   They are guilty as Ham, Achan and Ahab were.  

From our perspective, the only thing we would have preferred to see more scholarly clarity around, is whether the “traditional view”  of marriage (as attributed to the Early Church Fathers; that is, the idea that several of them seemed to hold, that one may civilly divorce due to adultery, so long as they don’t remarry while their “ex” spouse is still living) is really supported by honest original language translations of the original texts of their writings, as these Church Fathers are paraphrasing Jesus, who used the term “apoluo” – literally “from-loosing” – in both Mattl 5:32 and Matt.19:9, and “porneia”  (“unchastity / prostitution” sometimes misconstrued as generic “adultery”), but we don’t really know if the various Church Fathers made the same word choices as Jesus.   If they did,
I don’t think what Jesus said in Matt. 19:6,8 (referring to Gen. 2:21-24) actually supports this “traditional view” at all, and the quoted accounts of several ante-Nicene leaders have them appear to be contradicting Jesus in this,  if the language translation of the koine Greek to contemporary English  is as accurate as it is widely presumed to be.    If we took an honest look at the original texts of these ante-Nicene writings (much the way we are actually compelled to do with scripture texts),  is it not possible that “putting away” (apoluo) did not necessarily anticipate civil action but rather reflected what Paul was prescribing in 1 Cor. 7:10-11, especially given what he had just said in 1 Cor. 6:1-8 ?

The seemingly weak exegesis on page 26 of  Deuteronomy 24:1-4 also contributes to the lack of clarity about “the traditional view”, and about whether the author is promoting it as being biblically supported.   It seems at least as likely that the defilement of the dismissed wife was a condition that defiled her both before and after her first marriage (such as consanguinity, a long term disease of ceremonial uncleanness, pagan citizenship, etc.) as that it would be a sexual defilement which, if occurring in the first union – betrothal or post-consummation, was more accurately  the topic of Deuteronomy 22, and was therefore a capital offense rather than a divorceable one — at least while Moses lived.   It would hardly make sense for Jesus to forbid living in a state of lifelong unforgiveness and irreconciliation toward our one-flesh or anyone else under the New Covenant,  while retaining some “defilement”-based prohibition of that reconciliation.    As it stands, this book can legitimately be construed as promoting a “traditional view” that may not accurately reflect the majority of Church Fathers at all, because the book didn’t do the needed deep dive into those assumptions, despite devoting a chapter to those quotes.   That said, we still doubt that the author’s intent was to promote the “traditional view”,  but merely to describe it.

By contrast, it seems to this blogger that Jesus was not only saying that civil divorce of an original covenant pair was immoral, He was actually saying that marriage “dissolution” by any act of men was impossible.  Since several of the ante-Nicene church leaders developed culturally-biased views over time, including ascetiscm, it seems that relying on what they said more than relying on what Christ said can lead to considerable confusion.  Paul, on the other hand, strictly forbids believers to bring each other before a pagan judge (1 Cor. 6:1-8). This would be consistent with the findings of scholars Jones and Tarwater (2005) as they exhaustively concluded that there is not a biblical instance where God ever abandoned or invalidated an unconditional covenant to which He was a party.  And God never “divorced” Israel, but suspended a conditional covenant while awaiting her repentance.  Absent this small bit of clarity about the shortcomings of the “traditional view”, SIFC’s rating would have been five stars instead of four.

Even so, this book accomplishes all that we would expect from a truly outstanding book on this topic:

  • Recognizing the difference between a root and its fowl fruit; correctly diagnosing the vain imagination that God-joined holy matrimony is  “dissoluble” as the root to cultural decay of every other type.
  • Calling out church leadership and false doctrine for their massive role in creating the mess and demanding that they repent, as did the prophets of old; notably, Ezra.
  • Accurately likening the corrupt system of institutionalized adultery in the church to the crass idolatry that certainly  it is.
  • Frankly acknowledging the financial dimensions of this idolatry.
  • Getting the historical context and the hermeneutics right.
  •  Not shying away from the biblical warning that to die in any ongoing state of sin will result in the lake of fire, no matter the civil legality of it.
  • Denouncing the abusive annulment of holy matrimony.
  • Setting a biblically-correct definition of “mercy”, “grace” and “love” that considers eternity, not just feelings and emotions.
  • Calling upon anyone who is “married” to the estranged spouse of a living person to exit those unions regardless of the years of entanglement and regardless of children born into the unlawful union.
  • Denouncing any believer who goes along with this immorality among friends and family members and who acquiesce to  it without strongly warning the sinners of the hellbound consequences.
  • Astutely diagnosing the troubled “psychology” within the contemporary church:  loss of the mind of Christ.
  • Accurately warning that true revival, when it arrives, is going to look scandalous to most, as repentance is going to cause the divorce rate in the church to literally skyrocket.
  • Very appropriately weaving in a strong theology of covenant, which in fact is woven throughout the bible, which both begins and ends with a wedding.
  • Recognizing that changing the laws and the political system isn’t impossible, but it’s highly unlikely until the church deeply repents, regains moral authority, and becomes actively involved in the process.

 

Some parting thoughts:   Is it more appropriate for the church or for the state to have jurisdiction over marriage?   Is it ever appropriate for the church to assume authority over divorce –  either prior to believers taking their case to court  or in lieu of ?    Is the  contemporary church in so much moral decay that they’ve forfeited any “competence” they may have once had ?     Jesus said, render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and render unto God the things that belong to God.     God created marriage, and man created the “dissolution” of marriage.   As such, Caesar never had any legitimate jurisdiction over what should have been kept in the church with the exits securely bolted.    The Protestant Reformers were eager to hand over to the civil state that which church leaders no longer wanted authority over.    The only actual reason to do so was an intrinsic rebellion against God’s law that man has no authority to  dissolve holy matrimony.    None of this happened because believers were obeying God in the middle ages,  but because they wanted an avenue for disobedience that would appear as legitimized.     Taking marriage back into the church (with exit doors bolted) and boycotting the civil system altogether will seem as “dominionist” to some in the marriage permanence movement.

The Roman Catholic fringe of the movement is having a very vigorous debate over this “competence” issue right now, while many of the Protestants in the movement question the legitimacy of any large centralized church organization as biblically-supported.    We need to determine whether the goal is for the church to have a role in meaningfully reforming civil family laws, in which case, size and centralized resources would be an advantage, or if the goal is to simply entice people away from the immoral civil system and back toward God’s law, then smaller, decentralized local church bodies with impeccable moral and disciplinary standards will do.  True revival and repentance may help define the heart of God on this.    SIFC proposes that it would not be out of the question for both approaches to coexist for a time and to leverage off each other.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.    –  Proverbs 16:7

May the Lord orchestrate the wide distribution of this book, and may He multiply its kingdom impact, in Jesus’ name.

 

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

 

www.standerinfamilycourt. com

 

 

Knickers (and Facts) in A Twist over Repeal of Texlahoma “No-Fault”

TheDunlapsby Standerinfamilycourt

It has been an exciting spring legislative session in the southwest this year, as young lawmakers in Texas and Oklahoma have introduced common-sense bills curbing non-consenting unilateral divorce, and as both bills have recently made it out of their committees fairly intact.    The liberal press has been shrieking and howling its disapproval, especially in Oklahoma, where the measure also ends the perverse economic incentives from unilateral divorce by restoring stiff marital fault penalties to property division.

As is so typical of liberal grandstanding and industry lobbying, we’re hearing not of the millions of fathers whose fundamental right to protect and raise their children is being severed though they’ve done nothing objectively wrong,  nor of the adulterers sailing off with the unconscionable award of the innocent spouse’s retirement funds after a decades-long union which is suddenly deemed “irretrievable” by the court.   Instead we are hearing about the classic “abused poor woman” who will now find it harder to get a divorce because she might now have to actually prove the abuse with (gasp) evidence thereof.    As one of the expert witnesses giving testimony in Texas accurately pointed out to committee members on March 8, lawmakers cannot legislate to the extreme case (13:00),  as the liberals would like, but must do what’s best for society as a whole.

Rep. Travis Dunlap is a young lawmaker from Bartlesville, OK who was elected to the state house from his trade as a piano tuner.    Though he does not have the constitutional law background that his Texas counterpart has, he probably drafted the more effective of the two pieces of legislation in actually rolling back the abusive “no-fault” regime.    According to media accounts,  the original HB1277 drafted by Dunlap made it impossible for a court in Oklahoma to grant a divorce for “incompatibility” (the equivalent of “irreconcilable differences”) if the couple met one of three criteria:

– married for more than 10 years, or
– had a living child under age 18, or
–  a partner involved objects to the divorce.

A committee modification allows petitioners who fall into one of those categories to have a divorce granted by the court for “incompatibility”, but they must first go through an educational program about the impact of divorce.   Previously, petitioners only had to do that if they had a child under age 18, and the educational program was focused on the impact of divorce on children.    While this does not seem a particularly helpful modification from the standpoint of constitutional protections,  this bill has a very important strength that the Texas bill lacks:  it restores marital fault to the property settlement that results, as follows,

  “However, where the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one spouse caused the dissolution of marriage by committing at least one of the grounds for divorce, other than incompatibility, listed in Section 101 of this title, the court shall award only one-quarter (1/4) of the marital property to that spouse and the other spouse shall retain the remaining three-quarters (3/4) of the marital property…….

“Upon granting a decree of dissolution of marriage, annulmentof a marriage, or legal separation, where the court finds by apreponderance of the evidence that one spouse caused thedissolution, annulment or separation by committing at least one of the grounds for divorce, other than incompatibility, listed in Section 101 of this title, the court shall order that party to paythe other party’s expenses, including attorney fees.”

Perverse and unjust economic incentives play such an enormous role in the abusiveness of existing family laws,  and so drives the egregious behavior of the divorce industry “professionals” who have far more interest in shredding families than defending them, that no reform is likely to be sustainable without addressing this, as the Oklahoma bill has nicely done.    As a direct consequence, Rep. Dunlap has predictably drawn the venom of the state Bar and the unrelenting scorn of Oklahoma’s leftists in the press.    The committee vote was 7-5 on February 27, to refer the bill on for a floor vote which must occur by the May 26 end of the Oklahoma 56th legislative session.   The Senate sponsor of the bill is Sen. Josh Brecheen of Coalgate, Oklahoma.   Unlike Texas, Oklahoma does not have a strong family policy council any longer,  and videos of the committee testimony do not seem to be available.      One recent article says this, “Dunlap, who represents District 10, said he now does not expect the bill to see a vote in the House but is interested in continuing his efforts. ”     We hope and pray that Rep. Dunlap  does just that.

Rep. Matt Krause’s Texas bill was the subject of an earlier blog post.   That bill, which simply eliminates no-fault grounds where there is not a mutual-consent petition has been favorably referred by a 4-3 committee vote on April 12, and must somehow achieve a floor vote by the May 29 end of the legislative session.     This bill does not address several onerous provisions that would remain unchanged in the Texas Statute which could effectively still result in a contested dissolution being granted to an offending spouse over the moral objections of the non-offending spouse, including this provision:

Sec. 6.006. LIVING APART. The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.

Often, the innocent original spouse who does not believe in marriage dissolution because of scriptures such as Matthew 19:6 and 8, Romans 7:2-3 and 1 Cor. 7:10-11 and 39,  has non-cohabitation forced on them by the offending spouse, and has little or no control over this circumstance, especially if the offending spouse is in an adulterous relationship or has a history of physical abuse of household members.    This should therefore not be left under the sole control of the offending party if unilateral divorce is to be eradicated, and constitutional protections balanced.    We should also  note that the [unchanged] “cruelty” ground  contains this phrase which still refers to “insupportability” but does not objectively or measurably define “cruel treatment” :

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable 

(Apparently, rogue  attorneys and “abused poor women” can restore “insupportability” simply by alleging cruel treatment under sec. 6.005, which this bill still does not, for all purposes, make them actually prove under its ongoing vague definition — how novel!)

In the unlikely event that Texas HB93  achieves a floor vote by the end of the session, there’s no question that there will be some back doors left wide open to unilateral divorce, but the period of time required will be lengthened.    If it dies  in the 85th session  without being voted on, we hope it will be re-introduced next session with some of these issues further addressed.

We covered a list of practical actions Texas and Oklahoma citizens can take to support these bills in the last blog on this topic, but let’s run through a few briefly again:

(1) Call the state capitol and ask for a floor vote:
Joe Straus
Speaker of the House (Texas)
(512) 463-1000
(512) 463-0675 Fax

Charles McCall
Speaker of the House (Oklahoma)
(405) 557-7412

(2) Engage your church and pastor – ask for a few minutes to talk to the congregation about the religious freedom and due process issues with the so-called “no-fault” system and how it has led to every other kind of  immorality, from same-sex attraction to the high abortion and suicide rates.    Explain that citizen engagement is needed at the grass roots to counter the overwhelming divorce industry lobby and liberal press.   If they sent busloads of the faithful to the state capitol 2 or 3 years ago to combat gay “marriage”,  challenge them on why this isn’t every bit as weighty a matter to the church’s families.

(3) Call Texas Values and ask what they are doing to support HB93. (Unfortunately, we’re not aware of a functioning family policy council in Oklahoma at this time).

(4) Sign a petition if you get a chance.   The Ruth Institute has one for Texas that can be found here.

(5) No matter which state you call home, please take time to call and write to encourage Reps. Krause and Dunlap.     Pray for them, and let them know it.

NeverGiveUp

Divorce Reform, Repenting Prodigals and Covenant Marriage “Standers”
While there is broad agreement in the marriage permanence community that repealing unilateral divorce is best for the future of our nation, many of us have either already been unjustly divorced and seen our spouse remarry adulterously  (by biblical standards, that is – since we, their true spouse in God’s eyes, are still alive), or others of us have come to biblical conviction that we had wrongfully “married” someone else’s divorced spouse, and needed to exit that union to be right with God.    So, though meaningful reform of the unilateral family-shredding machine remains a long shot with plenty of deep-pocketed, well-connected opposition,  we should look at where such reforms leave our wandering spouses who need to exit those immoral, civil-only  unions and rebuild their covenant families.    The subsequent divorce rate is significantly higher for legalized adultery resulting from the divorce culture, and it escalates with each round of serial polygamy under easy divorce laws.    Just how hard will divorce reform make repentance from remarriage adultery under the two bills being considered ?    Here’s an analysis for each:

Oklahoma, under HB1277:   Mutual-consent petitions continue to permit no-fault grounds, but if the adulterous union produced a minor child or has lasted at least 10 years, an education class must be attended before dissolution can be granted.     It is likely that a repenting prodigal exiting the adulterous remarriage will leave 75% of the marital assets with their ex-spouse unless that spouse has committed a serious, provable offense against the marriage.     Assets can be replaced, but souls certainly cannot.    Even so, assets brought in from the “dissolved” covenant marriage (very importantly including retirement accounts) are not considered part of the marital assets of the subsequent faux marriage and would not be forfeited by decree, however the repenting spouse would also likely have to absorb all the legal costs of getting free of their legalized adultery.     Waiting period:  180 days.

Texas, under HB93:  Mutual-consent petitions permit insupportability grounds but if the subsequent spouse does not consent and the repenting prodigal separates in order to end the practice of adultery (as he / she must do regardless), then after one year the now-abandoned spouse may file a fault-based petition which will be granted upon evidence, or they may agree to a mutual-consent petition sooner, and if HB65 also passes, the waiting period will be 180 days.   Alternatively, the if the repenting spouse moves back in with their covenant spouse,  grounds of adultery are then available to the now-abandoned subsequent spouse.  If the non-covenant still declines to file a grounds-based petition, the repenting prodigal may file after 3 years of continuous separation on the basis of non-cohabitation.    Assets would be divided on the same basis as current law but this  would not include any assets brought from the prior covenant marriage.

“Standerinfamilycourt” always encourages mutual petitions rather than dragging anyone into a pagan court (1 Cor. 6:1-8)  in the process of repenting of an adulterous remarriage, as a growing number are doing these days upon learning the biblical truth on the matter.     If prayer doesn’t produce a consenting, mutual petition, repenting prodigals can always take comfort in the biblical fact that no state has dissolved the marriage of their youth in God’s eyes, nor was the subsequent “remarriage” ever considered valid in His courtroom.    They are free to resume their union without the state’s blessing and are not actually in sin if they do so.   The Lord will then sort out the legal matters in His own way.

‘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.     Matt. 19:6, 8

And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”   Matt. 12:17

(SIFC:  Would like to give a shout-out and thanks to Bai MacFarlane of Mary’s Advocates, who has established contact with Rep. Krause’s office and has provided some of the not-yet-posted details needed to complete this post.)

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misusing the Movement: The “Cover” that Just Won’t Work

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by Standerinfamilycourt

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
How much more the hearts of men!
Proverbs 15:11

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

In these latter days, the true word is getting around and rapidly taking root about what Jesus and all of the disciples’ disciples taught for the first 400 years of the Messianic Covenant — that the husband and wife of youth are God-joined into a one-flesh entity which man’s courts cannot sever with the tallest mountain of civil paper,  and a covenant bond which includes the Lord’s participation and which is, therefore, severable only by the physical death of one of the spouses.    This is coming in spite of 60 years of false teaching and immoral practice in the American church, and despite 500 years of falsehood which the Reformation brought to church doctrine / practice in this area.

“Standerinfamilycourt” has come to personally know almost a dozen men and women who, in following Christ, were shocked and appalled to learn from a deep study of God’s word that what they thought was a valid marriage in the Lord, was actually legalized adultery,  amounting to serial polygamy.  Some found out their spouse was still married to the partner of their youth.   Some found out that they were themselves still married to the partner of their own youth, and quite a few found out that the adultery was on both sides of the marriage.    Most had agonized over their own soul and over the soul of the person they had adulterously married without realizing it was adultery.    Most took at least several months, to a couple of years, to intensely study to be certain of this biblical conviction before acting to renounce and exit their sinful state.   All were motivated by a compulsion to put Jesus Christ first in their lives and to never again stumble into unwitting sin at the hands of the rogue pastors who had betrayed them.    Those who have a living covenant partner are praying fervently for the salvation or restoration to the kingdom of that partner and for restoration of their holy matrimony companionship.  Many of those who were single prior to their adulterous marriage, while they could righteously marry another never-married or widowed person, are in no hurry to do so — they want to live for the Lord first and foremost.

But, it doesn’t always happen quite that way…..

Those of us who run ministry pages are contacted by many individuals seeking help and prayer, or seeking answers to questions.     It is a tremendous privilege to help and pray for each one of them.   But it is also a sacred trust whose aim must always be to build up the kingdom of God, pointing people toward the cross and toward heaven.    When it comes to marriage, far too many big-name, well-respected ministries point people in quite the opposite direction.

A gentleman we’ll call “Bob” contacted our page.   He complained of being hammered by his church, and had been kicked off several Christian social media pages because he was contemplating a civil divorce from his wife “Carol” who had been married briefly before.   According to Bob, Carol’s earlier marriage was a drunken elopement when she was under age, and was quickly annulled after less than a week.    Bob reasons that the marriage was consummated, so it must have been valid before the Lord.     Though Bob and Carol eventually got saved together, he confessed that he never did feel as though he were one-flesh with Carol, and this must be the reason why.  (She’s not happy, either, as evidenced by the way she sits around, piling on the pounds and not caring about remaining attractive to Bob, as he relates.)

Bob had been really studying up and talking with people in the marriage permanence movement, especially since he’d caught up with “Alice”,  his old high school flame.    Alice had married “Ted” whom she had become involved with before he had divorced a covenant wife to marry her.   True to character, Ted is on the prowl again and sleeping around, but Alice has now found the Lord.   Bob kept saying that he couldn’t help still being concerned for Alice’s soul since 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5;19-21 make it pretty plain that no adulterer will inherit the kingdom of God.    “She needs to marry someone who can be all hers”, Bob declared, “and have a marriage in the Lord”.     He sheepishly asked, “since God didn’t covenant with her adultery and didn’t make her one-flesh with Ted (who was still one-flesh with his true wife, “Tina”),  Alice would be free to remarry, wouldn’t she?”    He said he was pretty sure he has convinced Alice to come out of her non-covenant marriage after pointing out his studies to her.    He believes he has mercifully snatched Alice from the hell flames.   (Curiously, Bob fails to recognize that there are several other souls at-risk in this scenario, including those souls in the trail of jettisoned spouses and their children, but while Alice’s soul is precious to him, oblivion seems to prevail everywhere else souls are on the line.)

Back to Bob’s remarriage question….was Alice also married before she pried Ted away from Tina, Bob?    “No, she was not”, Bob says.    Yes, Bob, then biblically-speaking, Alice would be free to marry a never-married or widowed man, after exiting her adulterous union, but only in the Lord.    That “only in the Lord” part  is a huge “BUT“, however.   As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7, it goes far beyond whether or not the new hoped-for spouse is a believer, and even beyond that person’s biblical eligibility to marry:

But if you marry [speaking to the widowed], you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.  But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.   This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
– 1 Cor. 7:29-35

This is a very similar situation to someone adulterously remarried according to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:18, but whose true spouse has passed away during the adulterous union.     There’s the small matter of God-joining, of creating the inseverable one-flesh entity.   No marriage is holy matrimony unless and until He performs this.    Most Christians presume this to be an automatic thing, either because they think the one-flesh state is a gradual human development (confusing sarx miaMatt. 19:5-6; Eph. 5:31,  with hen soma1 Cor. 6:16), or because they fancy that God “defaults” to it somehow if all the biblical barriers are suddenly removed, for whatever reason.    Is the Lord Most High a vending or stamping machine?    Does He not retain sovereignty to join whom He will join, to forgive whom He will forgive, and to set the conditions for doing both?    If He can judge the thoughts and motivations of the heart, can we really hope to “game” Him with our biblical technicalities?    

To understand those conditions whereby God exclusively covenants with a union and supernaturally, instantaneously creates a one-flesh entity between a man and his wife, we must do as Jesus did, and look closely at the Genesis 2:21-24 account of the first wedding in the bible to discern what Jesus taught were the essential elements of “two becoming one.”

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.

Essential elements that were present at that first-ever wedding:

(1)  Consent to live for life as one-flesh :    “This is now bone of my bones,  And flesh of my flesh.”

(2)  Witnesses:   this included Jesus, and (apparently), the serpent, satan.

(3)  Vows: She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

(4)  God’s hand as the officiant:  “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

(5)   No prior living spouses:  He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.   Jesus and Paul repeatedly echo this last point throughout the gospels and the epistles.

Conspicuously-missing nonessential elements at that first wedding:

(1) A human officiant (also true of ancient Hebrew wedding tradition)
(2) A religious test
(3)  Civil permission or regulation
(4)  An age test  (Eve was a “newborn”, after all)

Let’s leave Alice and Ted to the side, since it only takes an adulterous condition on one side of an immoral union to render it so for both partners  –  it is obvious that Jesus would not hesitate to call Alice and Ted’s civil marriage adultery.   So, by this standard, is there good reason for Bob to err on the side of accepting that he is in a God-joined, one-flesh holy matrimony union, such that God would regard divorce out of it to be treachery and violence?    At least to the extent of requiring Bob to take extreme care, time and prayer before he concludes that his vows to Carol are false and dissoluble?

Was there Carol’s / her first husband’s mutual consent to live as one-flesh for life in that impulsive, drunken and brief elopement which was civilly annulled?    Was there consent to live as one-flesh for life in the sober justice-of-the peace wedding between Bob and Carol, given that they’ve done so for 15 years and borne three children?    (Apparently, there were vows and witnesses in both instances, but in which situation did God actually create sarx mia ?)

Given the answers above, in which situation was God the Officiant?
Just how probable is it that Bob is indeed one-flesh with Carol despite his doubts?   Is the misuse of God’s word to emphasize technicalities creating a form of legalism that would not normally be there in discerning the situation between these struggling, intertwined couples?

And is Alice truly snatched from the hell flames at this point, as Bob fancies, or is it too early to judge?     Does one technically go to hell because they die in a state of adultery,  or is this ongoing sinful state something that leads to greater heart-hardening and idolatry in the form of self-worship?    Will she live on in unforgiveness toward Ted for his lifelong pattern of adultery, or will she continue to pray for his salvation?    Who will be her first love as she goes forward with her life apart from Ted?    Will she be motivated to encourage the reconciliation between Ted and Tina, his actual one-flesh?    Will Alice look for ways to make godly restitution to Tina?   If she succumbs to Bob’s already-contemplated advances, what then?

Before we close this post, let’s reflect for a moment on the famous 1970 cover for MAD magazine.    This was exactly one year after Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the legislation in California creating the first-ever unenforceable-while-legally-valid contract in in the United States, and the only one such as we’ve seen since.   September 1970 was still a few years before most Protestant denominations “updated” their doctrine and practice around marriage and divorce to make it more “culturally-relevant” and “empathetic”.    Is this magazine cover not very telling of how far our society and the church has fallen, when a pagan periodical was drawing such shock value in a heathen society for behavior that today makes us yawn, shrug and produce voluminous “blended family” advice within our churches?     Contrast that with the September 2015 spectacle of CNN and MSNBC reporters shaking their Gideon motel bibles at Mrs. Kim Bailey Wallace  Davis McIntyre Davis, the elected issuer of Rowan County adultery licenses who was jailed for saying she would “lose her soul” for issuing Rowan County sodomy licenses.

If repenting prodigal spouses (and the movement as a whole) are constantly under unjust fire from the hypocritical harlot church, then carelessly or wrongly- motivated application of marriage permanence principles — most especially where there’s an apparent rebound relationship following in short order thereafter — simply undermines the credibility of the many who are indeed doing the right thing for the right, unselfish reason.   Meanwhile, within the marriage permanence community, while unified that all remarriage wherever there is a living, God-joined spouse is always adultery, there is significant (and sometimes fiery) debate about the Gen. 2:21-24 point where that inseverable joining occurs.    We still need to keep in mind that what the apostate church and the pagan world sees when Jesus isn’t really our first love in these situations (even if biblically-permissible)…is spouse-swapping!

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;  for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s….
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Romans 14:7-8,13-14

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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