Category Archives: 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!  

 

Will They Do It? Another State Attempts to Repeal Unilateral Divorce

KrauseFamilyby Standerinfamilycourt

It appears that the first major effort since 2006 by a state legislator to roll back so-called “no fault” (unilateral divorce) has been underway since the last session of Texas legislature, sponsored by Rep. Matt Krause, recently re-elected to a third term.

Rep Krause is the son of a Baptist pastor who attended Liberty University School of Law and is a constitutional attorney who opened up a branch of the Christian legal defense firm Liberty Counsel in Fort Worth, TX.  The  Krauses have four young children and are in their mid-thirties.

From a December 28 post by a local news service:

A one-page bill, filed by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, will make it harder for couples to separate, by ending [the “ground” of]  “insupportability”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC: (“insupportability” is functionally equivalent to the civil charge of  “irreconcilable differences” in most other states.  Liberal bias in the press coverage often deceitfully implies mutuality in the assessment, by paraphrasing in terms like  “the couple can no longer stand” to live with each other.)

Per the Texas Statute, as currently enacted:

Sec. 6.001.  INSUPPORTABILITY.  On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.   Enacted, 1997

At some point between the original 1970 enactment of unilateral divorce in Texas and 1997, there was a re-write of the statute which Judy Parejko described in her 2001 book, “Stolen Vows”,  where the provision for mutuality in the petition was surrepetitiously  taken out of the enacted language.    From Day 1, the members of the Texas Bar refused to implement the law on that enacted basis, until they finally succeeded in changing it, just prior to the time that attorney Ed Truncellito brought his failed constitutional challenge of the false language in a 2000 case.    FB profile 7xtjw

The local article continues:

Krause says ending no-fault divorces would keep the family together as well as add protection to the spouse who might not want to split up.

“There needs to be some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense,” said Rep. Krause, who filed the same bill last session.   He hopes lawmakers will pick up the issue earlier in the 2017 Legislative session.

He also filed a bill to extend the waiting period for a divorce from 60 days to 180 days.

MKrauseFB_post

What would a successful effort by Rep. Krause mean to the community of covenant marriage standers, also to repenting prodigals, in the highly unlikely event that this attempt to repeal “no-fault” (unilateral, non-consenting) divorce succeeds in Texas?  As is all too typical in the liberal press, this local article was written in such a way as to misinform the public on both sides of the issue.
Success is actually highly unlikely, especially without ardent support from the churches of Texas, who are more likely to ignore the bill, or give it only tepid support.   We attempted to contact Rep. Krause through his Facebook page, to ask him if he at least had the support of his state family policy council, but he did not respond:

We would like to follow the progress of your bill, Rep. Krause. What is the bill #, if we may ask ?

Another question: are you familiar with what author Judy Parejko wrote in her 2001 book, “Stolen Vows” about the original statute language in Texas,and the contrary way it was implemented?

Are there any Family Policy groups supporting you at all?

Thanks, and Godspeed! 
“standerinfamilycourt”

We must nevertheless keep praying for the coast-to-coast repeal of unilateral divorce.    The bill before the Texas legislature, introduced by Rep. Krause is HB93, whose progress can be followed here.    It is telling that its sponsor would like this bill to come up for a vote “earlier in the 2017 session.”    That’s because he had to re-introduce it, since it failed to be brought to a vote in the prior session.

 

TX HB93_2017

Texas does indeed have a family policy council:

Texas
Texas Values
Jonathan Saenz, President
900 Congress, Ste. 220
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-478-2220
info@txvalues.org
txvalues.org

The 85th Texas Legislature is dominated by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, so grass-roots citizen efforts to support this bill would appear to be fairly effective, notwithstanding the stiff, well-financed opposition that is likely to come from the Texas Bar Association and the ABA.    We would strongly encourage our page followers living in Texas to take several practical steps to give this bill a chance for enactment:

–  go to your pastor and make sure he is aware of this bill.   It seems to be getting some publicity, but mostly biased and unfair publicity.   Ask him to contact Texas Values and state legislators in support of it.   Make sure your pastor understands the connection between unilateral divorce and gay marriage / threats to religious liberty, and that “Respondents” to a unilateral divorce petition were the very first Christians to lose their religious liberty on the altars of the Sexual Revolution.

contact Texas Values yourself, and ask them to support the bill with publicity spend and legislator contacts.  To their extreme credit, their page does call out unilateral divorce as an issue.    To their discredit, a perusal of their page shows that they’ve not done a blog piece on the bill from the time it was filed in November, 2016 to-date.   (You may also need to point out the religious liberty issue to them, and remind them of what was documented in the early constitutional challenge cases by actual Texas judges in the 1970’s.

– do the obvious and keep pressure on your state legislators to support the bill.   The other side will most certainly be doing so.

re-share this post, and ecourage everyone you know to do the same.

maintain supportive contact with Rep. Krause through the link to his page that we provided above.   Pray for him, and let him know it.

For now, we just make a few practical point-outs:

(1) If this succeeds, it’s a necessary matter for full repentence as a nation (and more importantly as a CHURCH) to help stay God’s hand of judgment on this nation at its true root.

(2) The last state to make this sort of attempt was Michigan in 2006. Despite the lonely backing of the Family Research Council, the effort was defeated by heavy, well-funded opposition from the Michigan Bar who argued that people would simply cross state lines to get their “blameless” divorce, saddling the state later on with administering it. (Ironically, most of the fee revenue to attorneys comes for years after the divorce if there are children involved — so this argument, while true in its first point was spurious and dishonest in its totality – just like this article.)

(3) Make no mistake, unless there is an option preserved for MUTUALLY ending a civil-only marriage by agreed peitition with agreed terms (only), this will make it infinitely more costly to repent of an adulterous or sodomus union entered into with someone else’s spouse. Imagine going into family court with a formal charge of adultery saying “I’m the adulterer, and she is as well, because only death dissolves her original covenant marriage, not the State of Texas, Your Honor.” (No 20th-21st century judge has ever cared that the bible makes it clear that remarriage is an ongoing state of adultery, as Jesus repeated in the same words at least 3 recorded times, and that dying in this state is a matter of heaven-or-hell, as Paul stated at least twice.)   There was a time when our judges did know this, and when they ruled accordingly.

(4) Repenting prodigals under Texas jurisdiction will need to be prepared to live apart from their noncovenant, counterfeit mate immediately, and for 3 years thereafter if the forced unilateral clause is removed without replacing it with a true mutual “no fault” petition — which (contrary to the bias of the local article), NO state has ever had.
(**Except for Texas, as noted above, but only on the statute books, not in practice or interpretation).
Hopefully, repenting prodigals will realize that man’s law is inferior to God’s law and that the latter is all that is required to live morally and righteously with their true, God-joined spouse. — Expect legal hiccups for the covenant family and fiery censure from the apostate church in the meantime! Here’s where the voice of true Christ-followers in the marriage permanence community is going to need to be more grounded and resolute than ever.

(5) No state is likely to gain any traction on this issue until the neighboring states do. And that’s unlikely until the church stops performing adulterous weddings or signing civil marriage licenses, thereby boycotting the culture of serial polygamy and all of its entrenched instruments including state “jurisdiction”.

Currently, fault-based divorces in Texas must fall into one of six categories: adultery, cruelty, abandonment and a felony conviction, living apart for at least three years or confinement to a mental hospital.    Rep. Krause was also quoted on January 8 by Maria Anglin of the San Antonio Express-News as saying he’d like for the three years to be reduced to one year if the petition alleges abandonment – in our opinion, not an improvement since most experts say that the average length of an extramarital infatuation is two years.   Texas is one of the few major states that still offers fault-based divorce, with Illinois repealing all fault-based grounds in 2015 in a profoundly immoral overhaul of its “family laws”.

We will do our best to establish contact with Rep. Krause and with Texas Values, so that we can keep you informed of progress.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Let’s Take an AUTHENTIC Stand for Marriage, Christian Right

NatMarriageWkby Standerinfamilycourt

February 7 – 14 is National Marriage Week.
During this week, there will be much going on that is vital and valuable to our nation, but there will be no getting away from the fact that in the corrupted culture of contemporary evangelicaldom, it will be “finders keepers”, and millions in faux “marriages” which are not holy matrimony, will be encouraged to stay there at the peril of their very souls.  The excellent organization, Breakpoint.org promotes it in this audio link dated January 5, 2017.

Talking about marriage “permanence” is politically acceptable to this crowd, but it will not resolve the nation’s problems because it will not touch the root issue.   Rather, the message needs to be around the far more relevant and offensive topic of holy matrimony indissolubility, according to Matt.19:6,8 and Luke 16:18. This needs to be in the heaven-or-hell terms that Jesus and Paul unflinchingly cast it.

Some crucial topics not likely to be on this year’s agenda:

– When will pastors stop performing weddings that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (and tell the congregation why) ?

– When will pastors stop signing civil marriage licenses that reflect the only unenforceable contract in American history, and which since 1970, in no way corresponds to Christ’s Matt. 19:4-6 definition of marriage?

– When will pastors stop smearing and stigmatizing the growing stream of true disciples of Jesus Christ who are coming out of adulterous civil unions to in order to recover their inheritance in the kingdom of God? [1 Cor. 6:9-10; Mal. 5:19-21-KJV)

– When will repealing unilateral divorce in all 50 states become as high a moral priority as outlawing the slave trade, or repealing Row. v. Wade, or ending sodomous “marriages” ?

Given what Jesus and Paul both had to say about remarriage adultery (repeatedly by each), true revival when it arrives, is going to look horrifying to the organizers of National Marriage Week, but it will be pleasing to God.   The horror will not be due to the repenting prodigals, but due to five decades of false, hireling shepherds not doing the job the Owner of the fold gave them to safeguard souls first, and then covenant families.

ignatius-antioch

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Tithing Mint, Dill and Cumin…the Hollow Censure of Billy Graham’s Grandson

legalized-adultery_tchivby Standerinfamilycourt

And now this commandment is for you, O priests.  If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.  Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it….For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.  But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have [m]corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts.  So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction

“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?  Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god.  As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.

This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.   Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS your companion and your wife by covenant.  But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring?
 – Malachi, chapter 2

 

Billy Graham’s grandson got “married” last month – to another man’s wife, while forsaking the companion and children of his own marriage covenant.   Reportedly, Tullian is not the first pastoral violator of Luke 16:18 in the Tchividjian / Graham families, only the most famous.    What God had to say in Malachi 2 about generational sin rings true once again.

There was a widely-reported attempt at what currently passes for “church discipline” in contemporary evangelicaldom, in an effort to reconcile the covenant Tchividjian family, which we know  fell short.    A few days ago, several pastors involved in that failed disciplinary effort signed and released a letter of rebuke addressed to Tchividjian following further witness accounts of the abuse of Tchividjian’s senior pastorate at megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian.   Amazingly, that letter appeared to be a pastoral admission that sanctity (if not exceptionless indissolubility) of God-joined holy matrimony is indeed a heaven-or-hell matter,

“For the sake of his eternal soul, we implore Tullian Tchividjian to repent of his wickedness and demonstrate his repentance by submitting himself to the leadership of his church of membership, pursuing forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation with those whom he has sinned against.”

Certainly, what constitutes “pursuing forgiveness, healing and reconciliation” may not necessarily align with the rightly-divided word of God, but it’s a glimmer of hope that such pastors merely admit that one can indeed walk away from the faith.    Once saved, guard your heart!

Separately, it turns out that Tullian’s uncle and brother are both board members for a pastoral counseling organization, “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)”  aimed at preventing sexual abuse in pastoral counseling settings,  as several counselees of Tullian Tchividjian in the 2014-2015 time frame came forward with lurid details of attempted seduction.   From the Christian Post article covering this development:

“The GRACE board is deeply disturbed about the revelations of sexual misconduct by Tullian Tchividjian. As an organization that deals with the abuse of God’s lambs and the damage silence causes we feel compelled to speak,” the GRACE board said, in part.

Tullian Tchividjian lost his job at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as his marriage to his now ex-wife, Kim, in the summer of 2015 after the church discovered an adulterous affair between him and a parishioner on the church’s server.

“We were caught by the IT department of CRPC on the second week of June (2015). Tullian received a phone call from a staff member at the church saying that the contents of his phone could be read on the church’s public server. Tullian asked the staff member to delete everything,” according to a recent confessional by the [married] parishioner who gave her name only as Rachel.

Standerinfamilycourt  left this commentary response to the Christian Post article on their Facebook page:

Firstly, according to scripture (Matt. 19:6 and 8; Rom. 7:2-3 and 1 Cor.7:39), there is no such thing as an “ex” covenant wife, in reference to Kim Tchividjian,  whom Tullian  “divorced” in utter disobedience to #LukeSixteenEighteen..  Nor is there any such thing as a legitimate “wife” in remarriage following man’s divorce.   Jesus repeatedly stated with zero exceptions and zero ambiguity that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced person enters into an ongoing state of adultery.

 

How many of those clergy signing onto the (deserved) censures of Tullian Tchividjian nevertheless turn right around and contribute to the perverse incentives by routinely performing weddings that Jesus called adulterous?   Or by tolerating remarriage adulterers in their pastoral ranks?   Or by preferring an adulterously “married” clergyman to run a church over an involuntarily “divorced” shepherd who is now celibate in obedience to Christ (Matt. 19:12)?

 

Jesus, in a sense, rebuked Moses (Matt. 19:8) for choosing the cowardly path of regulating and “managing” marital desecration in the desert wilderness, instead of rooting it out and removing its perverse incentives, in order to remain faithful to the 7th through 10th commandments. Here we see the GRACE organization attempting to do the same thing in doubling down on standard, coventional counseling ethics rather than the sort of much-earlier biblical screening Paul described and insisted upon in the first place:

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach….

 

Titus 1:6

namely, if any man is above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

 

In the decades since the church opted to get in (literal) bed with the Sexual Revolution, we now popularly “understand” that phrase to mean “faithful to my current serial polygamy partner” – despite the one-way trip to hell that Paul repeatedly warned about for one dying in that ongoing sinful state.

 

What does this have to do with Tchividjian who committed his pastoral crimes while literally the husband of the God-joined wife of his youth?    Simple: his calculus looked at the Kent Hovinds, Shane Idelmans, Jim Bakkers and Israel Houghtons among his ministry peers, and he reached the perfectly rational conclusion that his career would suffer no meaningful long term damage from forsaking his covenant family and indulging his lusts.

By all means, take the common-sense secondary precautions described within to protect the lambs in the counseling office, but don’t expect these things to be the ultimate solution, if the same rotten pastoral foundation is left undisturbed.
As Jesus Himself stated to a group of earlier Pharisees,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
– Matt. 23:23

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

“Nana, Why Did You and Papaw Split Up?”

420_grandma_child_imgcache_rev1285259918902

by  Standerinfamilycourt

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.   You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.”
– Deuteronomy 11: 18-21

SIFC was down in Arkansas for our eldest granddaughter’s eighth birthday, having not seen them for almost 2 years, due to some exaggerated circumstances brought about by man’s divorce.   I was trying to take a short nap on a recent afternoon when our little one plops herself down on my guest bed and says, “Nana, why did you split up with Papaw?”   I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her until later where she had heard that.   Her 5 year old sister was in the room at the time as well.

Nana responded,

“Oh, baby. Nana never wanted that, and loves Papaw very much.  It’s not possible to get a divorce like that in God’s eyes!  Nana’s wedding ring is still on, because Papaw will always be Nana’s husband until one of us dies, and it’s sinful to go into a courtroom and get a piece of paper that says differently.   We have to pray for Papaw to stop living in sin so that he won’t go to hell — we don’t want Papaw to go to hell, do we?”

(Trigger alert:   those who do not walk with Christ, and who think obedience to His stated word is optional WILL be offended by this post.   It is already well-established that SIFC “lacks grace”, is “judgmental” and is “legalistic”.     Nolo contendre :  so was John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and James!)

I was able to talk to this precious one about how God created one-flesh when her mommy and daddy got married, when her uncle and aunt got married (she was the flower girl in that wedding at age 3), and when Nana and Papaw got married, about how God looks and sees only one person instead of two for as long as both are alive.   She repeated it back to me with a real sense of relief, and grasped it perfectly – that only death unglues people who are really married, (“right, Nana?”).   Right, baby.

Later in the evening, her parents decided to take advantage of my visit to squeeze in a date.   Caitlin has always loved bible stories right from her big-girl bible when tucking the girls in, so I decided to tell her the story of John the Baptist, Herod and Herodias, and said Herod had a real wife once (“like you, Nana?”) and Herodias had a real husband whose name was Philip.   They both thought they could divorce their real wife and real husband and be married to each other – but how come, Caitlin,  did God not join Herod and Herodias? (she got the reason right following our earlier talk about one-flesh).  We talked about why John the Baptist cared so much about whether Herod and Herodias went to heaven that he was willing to risk having his head cut off.   It went really well, but before I did the bible story, she asked me why Papaw’s bible was in my suitcase and why Papaw didn’t want his bible any more.   I was able to explain that when someone has made up his mind that he doesn’t want to obey Jesus anymore, they can’t stand what the bible says, but we can pray that God will make them really hungry again for His word.   She wanted to know why her daddy always got mad every time she visited with Papaw on skype, and why can’t she ever see him in person.   I did my best to say her daddy just wants to protect her from Papaw’s bad friends.    Good friends help you be closer to Jesus, but bad friends make you ashamed of Jesus and make you want run away from Him.

The next day, Caitlin’s mother expressed her angry displeasure that Nana had told their daughter about hell and what sort of things send people there if they die in the same.    Nana endured the indignity of being upbraided by the child she birthed and raised and discipled,  who deems all talk of hell to be a manipulation and control mechanism, to which she will not tolerate her daughter being exposed.    How could I not “respect her beliefs”?    (This “belief” seems to be a bit late-developing, to such an extent that it was a bit shocking to hear it coming out of her mouth.   More likely, the one-flesh discussion was equally offensive to her because it inherently discredits her husband’s aunt who is in a longtime lesbian union, and it violates her liberal politics in every possible way.)

They say that God has no “grandchildren”,  only “children”.    May the telling of this family story comfort many standers who are surely going through the same struggles in their own covenant families.

The morning after that, it was the son-in-law’s turn to suggest that imposing Nana’s  “belief system”  on others was causing chaos in their family,  was directly responsible for daily strife between them, and was causing him to question Nana’s emotional stability.    We had a lengthy exchange on the infallibility of rightly-divided scripture, and the fact that there are not multiple correct alternatives when comes to rightly dividing the same.    He suggested I was not “extending grace” to my prodigal husband of 40+ years in insisting his non-covenant marriage is what Jesus called it –  ongoing adultery.     I warned him that retreating on his prior resolve not to expose his daughters to that immoral relationship will not produce the relief he craves, nor will it end the barrage of emotional blackmail the family has been receiving from my husband, who refuses to see his granddaughters unless the family embraces his adulteress.

Can admitted non-believers convey “grace” to backslidden believers? Isn’t “grace” something that flows FROM GOD THROUGH those who are exclusively His? Isn’t the “grace” of non-believers false because they themselves reject God’s grace in their own lives because they reject the idea of repentance and obedience that is attached? Aren’t they the ones who love to point to Jesus saying “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”…but they look at you stupefied when you remind them of Christ’s next sentence: “Go and sin no more!”

If one denies or doubts that there is a real hell and people send themselves there by refusing to repent and obey Christ’s commandments (the bible says in Heb. 10 that this is insulting the spirit of grace) what can the purpose of grace even be?

“Grace” without love for God’s word or His order is certainly human kindness — so long as eternity isn’t considered.   It is sympathy and empathy — making fellow travelers on a journey to the same fiery destination feel better about their unrepented sin.   Such “grace”, however, is false because it cannot supply the ingredient that restores the kingdom of God and turns that traveler around on his or her wayward road.   You cannot convey to another that which you reject for yourself, due to its high price tag, can you?

Has Nana given up on God’s ability to redeem her entire household?    Not on her life!   Over the past eleven years, the devil has launched a series of fiery attacks against various other family members, and God has always shown up and shown off.    This time last year, another son was having a massive faith crisis to which Nana’s stand was also contributing, and an even more devastating reaction issued forth from this adult married son.    It is not for nothing that Paul wrote about taking up the full armor of God while shaking up the princedom of the power of the air in the name of Jesus Christ.    Nana will be praying against any exposure of our granddaughters to Papaw’s unrepented mockery of marriage, but if it occurs, at least Caitlin will have heard the truth about it.    We will have prayed together with our arms around each other for Papaw to repent and return to the Lord, then to his covenant family.   Nana makes no apologies whatsoever for not saying something  more culturally acceptable, like…

“Sometimes people who love each other try as hard as they can, but in the end, they realize they can’t live together.   It’s nobody’s fault, so we just ‘trust God’ and move on…”       (No such pablum for this Nana!)

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.   For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”     Matthew 10:34-36

 

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Focus On The Family’s “Summer Shortfall”

FOTF_Summer_ShortFall

by Standerinfamilycourt

Yours truly has been receiving urgent, pleading emails over the past month or so because the giving rate is down at mega-media ministries such as FOTF.     The last one was signed by Jim Daly, himself.    It arrived on the worst possible day – on a day when I was already incensed at their broadcast pushing a book by two remarriage adulterers, Gil and Brenda whose faux union was combining 7 children from two ruptured covenant families, parading their hell-bound adultery in front of them on a daily basis.

He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!     –  Luke 17:1

Very sorry, Mr. Daly

I am among a large and growing number of Christ-followers who cannot conscionably donate to a “ministry” that promotes (and encourages remaining in) “marriages” that Jesus clearly and repeatedly called adulterous – Matt. 5:32b; 19:9b (KJV); Luke 16:18.   This is not discipleship.   It is contributing to open rebellion against Christ’s commandments, and given the ongoing lawlessness in our nation of unilateral civil-only divorce, FOTF is pointing far more souls toward hell than those being in any way snatched from the flames.   I cannot be a party to such.

Many of us have written to you, pointing out the unpopular truth which FOTF continues to ignore, fearing the loss of unrighteous mammon.  Adulterous unions have so proliferated in both pew and pulpit, that when (or if ever) true revival reaches America’s shores, the civil divorce rate is going to spike, as millions repent of living in adultery with the God-joined, one-flesh spouse of another, and only after this will it recede within the body of Christ.  All the evangelical hand-wringing over “rebuilding a culture of ‘marriage’  will not bring revival nor have the slightest impact on the culture until church and ministry leadership repents in this unsavory matter.  Glorifying legalized adulterers on your broadcasts, and promoting shamelessly apostate church wolves such as Dr. John MacArthur — none of whom care one whit about what God’s word actually says, nor about the souls of the lost prodigal spouses (which includes anyone “married” to someone else’s God-joined true spouse – such as Gil and Brenda), is an offensive use of God’s resources for those of us who truly follow Christ.   Using God’s resources to pay a legalized adulterer on staff who, according to Paul’s crystal clear instructions, should not even be considered qualified to be a pastor (much less a “blended family pastor”), I would suggest openly mocks God.    R. A. Torrey said it well during the early years of the last century when there was no carnally-driven confusion whatsoever of God’s truth about this, at least within Christ’s church:

“Look at the legalized adultery we call divorce.”

“Men marry one wife after another and are still admitted into good society; and women do likewise. There are thousands of supposedly respectable men in America living with other men’s wives, and thousands of supposedly respectable women living with other women’s husbands.”
From R.A. Torrey’s book How to Pray, pages 94-95

Why do you suppose a former Moody Bible Institute president said, this, Mr. Daly?   Jesus was very clear on the reason, with what He declared in Matt. 19:6, 8 – God cannot be removed by man’s civil paper from His own unconditional covenant (Mal.2:13-14), nor can the God-joined supernatural one-flesh entity be severed by anything but death.   No act of men created the authentic one-flesh entity, according to Jesus, and no act of men, good or bad, can sever it.   There is, however, a counterfeit entity from Satan (hen soma, 1 Cor. 6:15-16) that not only can be severed, it must be severed to avoid the eternal consequences of 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal. 5:19-21, that no unrepentant adulterer has any inheritance in the kingdom of God / heaven.    A kingdom is a place where the King is OBEYED!

On no less than three distinct occasions, the Lord Jesus Christ repeated, “EVERYONE (πᾶς – http://biblehub.com/greek/pas_3956.htm) who marries a divorced person, enters into a state of ongoing, continuous adultery.”   By the Greek verb tense “present indicative”, Jesus was referring to a state of sin, not an act of sin as Dr. MacArthur claims in his conscious intellectual dishonesty.  It is clear that any claimed “exceptions” to EVERYONE cannot be true, regardless of how cleverly “porneia” is retranslated by apostate lexiconographers and bible translators to condone the taking of one’s own unforgiving vengeance against their exclusive living one-flesh.   As a reminder, not only will adulterers have no inheritance in the kingdom of God, Jesus repeatedly warned that neither will non-forgivers who have conveniently forgotten that their own spiritual adultery against Him was forgiven.

With unilateral divorce literally forcing divorce on some 800,000 unconsenting people a year in the U.S. alone, if only 5% of them hold faithful to an untainted biblical view of the absolute indissolubility of holy matrimony, that’s 40,000 believers a year who find marriage permanence ministries and thereby gain the detailed biblical scholarship to publicly rebuke ministries like FOTF who stand for the sort of legalized adultery which Jesus explicitly defined.   It is going to become ever more difficult to dodge this issue in churches or media vehicles such as yours.   Covenant marriage standers are rapidly becoming the conscience of the evangelical church, just as Ezra and Malachi were under the old covenant.

I will purpose to pray for your ministry, and will be happy to support FOTF again financially if there is repentance and a godly change of direction.

Blessings, In Christ,

“standerinfamilycourt”

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Calling Out the High Priest of Serial Polygamy (Hypergrace to You!)

by Standerinfamilycourt

Comments by J.H., a standing brother in speaking recently with his pastor….
I was invited to lunch today by an elder in our church. Our meeting lasted nearly 3 hours. After we were done, he thanked me for sharing my views on MDR with him. Later in the afternoon, he sent me a copy of John MacArthur’s church position paper on the topic. I believe this has been discussed here before; it did not take long for me to find several points of contention. I would appreciate any and all comments that point out the places where we believe this paper would be flawed. Any and all comments are desired as I develop any response I may make to this elder. Thanks.
GTYHeresy

 

(CRITIQUE OF) DR. JOHN MACARTHUR’S GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH DISTINCTIVE

God Hates Divorce. He hates it because it always involves unfaithfulness to the solemn covenant of marriage that two partners have entered into before Him, and because it brings harmful consequences to those partners and their children (Mal. 2:14-16).

Error #1 – Dr. MacArthur fails to point out that the context of Malachi 2 is specifically addressing only the covenant with the spouse of our youth, and that God not only called breaking faith with that indissoluble covenant “treacherous” and “violent”, He said it always resulted in broken fellowship with Him, and also that it defiled future generations.   The word “sane” שָׂנֵ֣א is the same strong word God used for “hate” in Proverbs 6:16-19 when He tells us His 6 or 7 “hot buttons”

Divorce in the Scripture is permitted only because of man’s sin.

Error #2 – Divorce of a consummated marriage was never “permitted” in scripture, but only to dissolve a ketubah betrothal contract, under which a fiancé was legally considered a wife prior to consummation of the marriage according to Mosaic law.   To the contrary, Jesus said Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning IT WAS NOT SO!

 

Since divorce is only a concession to man’s sin and is not part of God’s original plan for marriage, all believers should hate divorce as God does and pursue it only when there is no other recourse.

Error #3 – Our Holy God never makes “concessions” to man’s sin!   In fact, in Hebrews, He calls this “insulting the spirit of grace”, “trampling under foot the Son of God”, and “regarding as unclean the blood of the covenant” sanctifying us.   He says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”.   (Matt. 5:48)

 

With God’s help a marriage can survive the worst sins.

A civil-only “marriage” (unlike true holy matrimony) cannot survive the worst sin, that of being only carnally joined to someone else’s one-flesh covenant mate, as per 1 Cor. 6:16, rather than joined by God’s hand as per Matt. 19:6.   There is no “help from God” for that which Jesus repeatedly called adulterous.   In fact, in Luke 16:19-31, Jesus gives us the true picture connected with violation of Luke 16:18, after commending John the Baptist for rebuking the adulterous remarriage of Herod and Herodias, being concerned enough for their souls that he gave up his head.

 

In Matthew 19:3-9, Christ teaches clearly that divorce is an accommodation to man’s sin that violates God’s original purpose for the intimate unity and permanence of the marriage bond (Gen. 2:24).

Error #4 – in Matthew 19:8, Jesus teaches clearly that civil divorce is a man-made construct under which Moses tried to regulate the dissolution of Hebrew betrothal so that an unholy arbitrage in the bride price paid under ketubah would not result.   With regard to consummated holy matrimony, God may have a “purpose” for marriage, but that “purpose” is fully a COMMANDMENT, because Jesus very clearly and imperatively stated, “therefore what GOD has joined, let NO MAN separate.”

 

He taught that God’s law allowed divorce only because of “hardness of heart” (Matt. 19:8).

Re-assertion of Errors #2 and #4 discussed above.   Jesus did not say, “God allowed”, He said “Moses allowed.”

 

Legal divorce was a concession for the faithful partner

Re-assertion of Error #3 above.   Jesus was clearly stating in 19:6 that man is given no power or authority to dissolve a covenant in which God Himself is an irrevocable participant, nor to unjoin the one-flesh entity He has joined.

 

….due to the sexual sin or abandonment by the sinning partner, so that the faithful partner was no longer bound to the marriage (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:12-15).

Error #5 – both Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19:9 (full text) clearly state that anyone / everyone who marries any divorced person commits continuous, ongoing adultery. Since marriages cannot possibly be only half-adulterous, it follows that there cannot therefore be any provision for either partner to remarry so long as both spouses remain alive.  

Error #6 – Dr. MacArthur is being intellectually dishonest in his claim that 1 Cor. 7:12-15 releases the “faithful partner” from the marriage bond.   Any lay person going online and consulting a Greek-English interlinear tool can see that the word dedoulōtai δεδούλωται (Strongs 1402) means “enslavement / subjection”, not “marriage bond”.   The true word for marriage bond, dedetai δέδεται (Strongs 1210) is used, however, in verse 39 where Paul makes clear that nothing but physical death breaks that bond, echoed also in Rom. 7:2.   For the founder and president of a theological seminary, Dr. MacArthur’s sloppy hermeneutics is inexcusable.

 

Although Jesus did say that divorce is permitted in some situations, we must remember that His primary point in this discourse is to correct the Jews’ idea that they could divorce one another “for any cause at all” (Matt. 19:3), and to show them the gravity of pursuing a sinful divorce. Therefore, the believer should never consider divorce except in specific circumstances (see next section), and even in those circumstances it should only be pursued reluctantly because there is no other recourse.

Error #7 – there is never “no other recourse” for problems in the holy matrimony covenant of our youth.   In fact, 1 Cor. 6:1-8 forbids Christ’s disciples to take matters before a pagan judge instead of the church. Also, 1 Cor. 7:10-11 provides for separation without dissolution or remarriage for the most dire of cases that might arise in holy matrimony.   That said, an unlawful civil marriage where one of the spouses has a living, estranged prior spouse must be dissolved civilly in a step of repentance since Jesus defined adultery as marrying a divorced person, and nobody living on in the state of adultery has any inheritance in the kingdom of God.
 

 

 

The Grounds for Divorce

The only New Testament grounds for divorce are sexual sin or desertion by an unbeliever. The first is found in Jesus’ use of the Greek word porneia (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). This is a general term that encompasses sexual sin such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and incest.

Error #8 – There is no stated grounds to dissolve holy matrimony ever mentioned in scripture for desertion.   To the contrary, Jesus clearly stated in Matt. 19:6 that men have no power or authority to dissolve consummated holy matrimony.   The only sexual sin where Jesus permitted divorce was in the case of fornication (porneia) – rendered prostitution or whoredom in all lexicons and translations prior to 1850 – that occurred during contractual Hebrew betrothal and only up to the wedding night.  

Error #9 – Porneia is not a general term that encompasses adultery, bestiality or incest according to the older, more reliable lexicons where it was consistently rendered as prostitution. The Roman term “fornication” literally comes from the fornix – the arches under which prostitutes carried on their trade, and a porne was a temple prostitute during Christ’s time on earth. In fact, both Jesus and Paul consistently referred to porneia (fornication) and moicheia (adultery) separately in several lists of grave sins, and also referred to sodomy separately.

 

When one partner violates the unity and intimacy of a marriage by sexual sin—and forsakes his or her covenant obligation—the faithful partner is placed in an extremely difficult situation. After all means are exhausted to bring the sinning partner to repentance, the Bible permits release for the faithful partner through divorce (Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 7:15).

Re-assertion of errors refuted above, with “extremely difficult situation” duly acknowledged, as Christ acknowledged it.   Discipleship and purity carries a cost – that of laying down our lives for the kingdom of God.

 

The second reason for permitting a divorce is in cases where an unbelieving mate does not desire to live with his or her believing spouse (1 Cor. 7:12-15). Because “God has called us to peace” (v. 15), divorce is allowed and may be preferable in such situations. When an unbeliever desires to leave, trying to keep him or her in the marriage may only create greater tension and conflict. Also, if the unbeliever leaves the marital relationship permanently but is not willing to file for divorce, perhaps because of lifestyle, irresponsibility, or to avoid monetary obligations, then the believer is in an impossible situation of having legal and moral obligations that he or she cannot fulfill.

Error #10 – the “peace” the disciple is called to is not a lack of conflict with the departing spouse, but the inner tranquility of a life in Christ for the obedient spouse who continues in the unbroken covenant with God.   The assumption that civil divorce is “necessary” to avoid conflict itself conflicts with many other scriptures, notably 1 Cor. 6:1-8.

Error #11 – while the believing, abandoned spouse is indeed left in a difficult situation, there is no impossible situation in Christ.   Indeed, Jesus discussed this situation in Matt. 19:10-12 when He talked about the three types of “eunuchs”, with the third type being the one who wasn’t born that way, nor physically injured that way, but becomes a eunuch voluntarily for the sake of the kingdom of God.

 

Because “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” (1 Cor. 7:15) and is therefore no longer obligated to remain married, the believer may file for divorce without fearing the displeasure of God.

Re-assertion of Error #6, discussed above.   The very reason the brother or sister is not “under bondage” is their salvation / sanctification itself, not any man-made attempt to dissolve what Jesus said cannot be dissolved except by death.    Of course we risk the active displeasure of God and all fellowship with Him when we disobey His explicit commandments.

The Possibility of Remarriage

Remarriage is permitted for the faithful partner only when the divorce was on biblical grounds. In fact, the purpose for a biblical divorce is to make clear that the faithful partner is free to remarry, but only in the Lord (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:39).

The only purpose for a “biblical divorce” is to repent from an adulterous remarriage while having a living, estranged prior spouse, as repeatedly defined by Jesus (Matt. 5:32b; Matt. 19:9b and Luke 16:18) in order to recover one’s forfeited inheritance in the kingdom of God.


Since divorce is only a concession to man’s sin and is not part of God’s original plan for marriage, all believers should hate divorce as God does.…Those who divorce on any other grounds have sinned against God and their partners, and for them to marry another is an act of “adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). This is why Paul says that a believing woman who sinfully divorces should “remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband” (1 Cor. 7:10-11). If she repents from her sin of unbiblical divorce, the true fruits of that repentance would be to seek reconciliation with her former husband (Matt. 5:23-24). The same is true for a man who divorces unbiblically (1 Cor. 7:11). The only time such a person could remarry another is if the former spouse remarries, proves to be an unbeliever, or dies, in which cases reconciliation would no longer be possible.

Since Christ repeated three separate times using the present indicative verb tense of moicheia (commits continuous adultery), that an otherwise perfectly-innocent person is entering a state of ongoing adultery by marrying any divorced person, it should be abundantly clear that there is no “permission” to remarry while having a prior covenant that is undissolved by death.   It should also be clear that man’s divorce neither unjoins one-flesh, nor removes God’s participation from the original covenant.   Paul says to remain un(re)married or be reconciled because to remarry without being widowed is to forfeit heaven.

 

The Bible also gives a word of caution to anyone who is considering marriage to a divorcee. If the divorce was not on biblical grounds and there is still a responsibility to reconcile, the person who marries the divorcee is considered an adulterer (Mark 10:12).

The last part of MacArthur’s last statement is ironically true, and it echoes Matt. 19:9b, from which most modern English translations fraudulently omit this critical phrase (see King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, and Wilbur Pickering’s The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken).   The two other occasions where Christ made this same unconditional, exceptionless statement are Matt. 5:32b and Luke 16:18. This alone should be ample proof of the heresy of MacArthur’s liberal and soul-destroying position.

 

The Role of the Church

Believers who pursue divorce on unbiblical grounds are subject to church discipline because they openly reject the Word of God. The one who obtains an unbiblical divorce and remarries is guilty of adultery since God did not permit the original divorce (Matt. 5:32; Mark 10:11-12). That person is subject to the steps of church discipline as outlined in Matthew 18:15-17. If a professing Christian violates the marriage covenant and refuses to repent during the process of church discipline, Scripture instructs that he or she should be put out of the church and treated as an unbeliever (v. 17). When the discipline results in such a reclassification of the disobedient spouse as an “outcast” or unbeliever, the faithful partner would be free to divorce according to the provision for divorce as in the case of an unbeliever departing, as stated in 1 Corinthians 7:15. Before such a divorce, however, reasonable time should be allowed for the possibility of the unfaithful spouse returning because of the discipline.   The leadership in the local church should also help single believers who have been divorced….

While there are believers who have been divorced, it certainly does not follow that they are “single”, since man’s divorce does not dissolve holy matrimony per Matt. 19:6, Rom. 7:2 and 1 Cor.7:39, as well as a host of other scriptures.   The only “single believer who has been divorced” is the widow or widower who never reconciled with their one-flesh.

….to understand their situation biblically, especially in cases where the appropriate application of biblical teaching does not seem clear.

[This paper by MacArthur appears to be the classical example of Calvinist misapplication of biblical teaching….]

….For example, the church leadership may at times need to decide whether one or both of the former partners could be legitimately considered “believers” at the time of their past divorce, because this will affect the application of biblical principles to their current situation (1 Cor. 7:17-24). Also, because people often transfer to or from other churches and many of those churches do not practice church discipline, it might be necessary for the leadership to decide whether a member’s estranged or former spouse should currently be considered a Christian or treated as an unbeliever because of continued disobedience. Again, in some cases this would affect the application of the biblical principles (1 Cor. 7:15; 2 Cor. 6:14).

In addition to the spiritual state of the spouses being an  entirely irrelevant matter in this context, each believer is irrevocably sealed with the Holy Spirit who can be grieved or quenched.   It is never the domain of church leadership to pass judgment on the state of anyone’s soul beyond what scripture says about their final, unrepented destination.   This is why in 1 Cor. 5:5, Paul instructs the church to hand a man who is  fornicating with his step-mother over to Satan “for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved. ”   MacArthur apparently would have made a subjective judgment of salvation based on the man’s  present conduct, of whether the man had truly been born again.  This, even though Paul specifically says in this same passage that we don’t judge those outside the church, but only those within it.

 

Pre-conversion Divorce

According to 1 Corinthians 7:20-27, there is nothing in salvation that demands a particular social or marital status. The Apostle Paul, therefore, instructs believers to recognize that God providentially allows the circumstances they find themselves in when they come to Christ.

The circumstance of every believer called while having a living, estranged spouse (and therefore an inseverable, God-joined one-flesh partner) is called while married to their living covenant spouse regardless of their civil status under man’s immoral laws.   Salvation does nothing to change this, and in fact, actually imposes a duty of purging immoral relationships such as serial polygamy (carnal civil unions which God did not join), to pursue forgiveness and reconciliation, or pursue forgiveness and celibacy while the true spouse remains alive – 2 Cor. 5:18; Matt.6:14-15, Matt. 18:21-35, 1 Cor. 7:10-11). Sanctification resulting from salvation imposes a duty to obey all of God’s revealed word, and to watch out for the souls of everyone in the believer’s life including that of the counterfeit mate and watching children who might emulate the immorality.

…If they were called while married, then they are not required to seek a divorce (even though divorce may be permitted on biblical grounds). If they were called while divorced, and cannot be reconciled to their former spouse because that spouse is an unbeliever or is remarried, then they are free to either remain single or be remarried to another believer (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14).

1 Cor. 7:39  actually states the exact opposite, that only death dissolves the God-joined union and any other “marriage” constitutes ongoing adultery.   2 Cor. 6:14 cannot therefore be retroactively applied to a one-flesh entity that GOD has joined, as Dr. MacArthur suggests. Instead, Paul assures us in 1 Cor.7:14 that the believing spouse who lives in sold-out obedience to Christ sanctifies the unbelieving spouse.

Repentance and Forgiveness

In cases where divorce took place on unbiblical grounds and the guilty partner later repents, the grace of God is operative at the point of repentance. A sign of true repentance will be a desire to implement 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, which would involve a willingness to pursue reconciliation with his or her former spouse, if that is possible. If reconciliation is not possible, however, because the former spouse is an unbeliever or is remarried, then the forgiven believer could pursue another relationship under the careful guidance and counsel of church leadership.

In cases where a believer obtained a divorce on unbiblical grounds and remarried, he or she is guilty of the sin of adultery until that sin is confessed (Mark 10:11-12). God does forgive that sin immediately when repentance takes place, and there is nothing in Scripture to indicate anything other than that. From that point on the believer should continue in his or her current marriage.

Error #12 – In cases where a believer obtained a divorce on unbiblical grounds and remarried, he or she is guilty of the sin of adultery until that sin is fully and physically repented of by exiting the adulterous union.   MacArthur’s claim that there is “nothing” in scripture to indicate anything other than “confession” being sufficient is patently false.   Jesus specifically used a verb tense to indicate this was an ongoing state of sin, which if died in would result in loss of the kingdom of heaven.   All scripture is clear that sin is only forgiven where it is discontinued, not just confessed.   Our nation is under judgment because it is repeating the grave sin of Israel and Judah of God’s priesthood being complicit in rampant immorality exactly as MacArthur is, and the book of Ezra, chapters 9 and 10 point up God’s expectation for repenting, and possibly turning away His advanced wrath.   MacArthur is mocking God by implying that lesbian and homosexual “married” couples can therefore also confess their sodomy and remain in it, while he has no clue that the Lord is returning the mockery in-kind, to get the nation’s attention.   Furthermore, pastors who perform such weddings are taking the Lord’s name in vain (misusing His name to perform a vain act). They are therefore guilty of corrupting those souls over whom they claim God forsakes His first covenant to covenant with adultery, or that He replicates the one-flesh entity of holy matrimony – neither act being within His holy character.   Lastly, living on in a state of separation from the only person God’s hand has made a covenant spouse one-flesh with is living on in a state of permanent unforgiveness and lack of reconciliation.   Jesus stated several times that unless we forgive, we will not be forgiven, also thereby forfeiting our inheritance in the kingdom of God.   It is ridiculous to presume that a one-flesh spouse is the only possible exemption in all of the kingdom of God from this basic law of God.

 

For a fuller treatment of divorce and remarriage, see The Biblical Position on Divorce & Remarriage from Grace Community Church’s Elders’ Perspective Series, from which this paper was adapted.

For a truthful and biblically-faithful treatment of divorce and remarriage which applies a disciplined and sound hermeneutical approach to the difficult scriptures and to the common abuses of them in the evangelical world, see our 7-part “Stop Abusing Scripture” series on “standerinfamilycourt’s” blog:

7 Times Around the Jericho Wall. www.standerinfamilycourt.com.