Category Archives: Marriage Restoration

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

Pilgrimministry.org2by Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

This author begins by asserting:

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

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

But what would Jesus say? “

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

So what did Jesus actually say?

And He answered and said,  “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  and said,  “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?    So they are no longer two, but one flesh.   What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate….He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

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

The author continues….

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty straightforward, actually.   FB profile 7xtjw

Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“standerinfamilycourt”

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

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

HermasQuote

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the time the first lady contacted “standerinfamilycourt”,  yet another lady appeared to be reading these materials and embracing them, in this instance while in the process of coming out of an adulterous remarriage, and suffering backlash from some of her children for it.   This erroneous teaching appears comforting while under that kind of horrific emotional turmoil, and while knowing that not every one-flesh covenant relationship is restored on this earth.   If someone becomes a covenant marriage stander who has themselves committed the sin of divorcing their one-flesh and “marrying” another, even though they’ve repented, somehow there is considerable doubt in their heart that God is capable of that big of a miracle of forgiveness and healing in the heart of their spouse.   However, since forgiveness is a heaven-or-hell issue in and of itself (Matthew 18:23-35). that is akin to saying that God willed our spouse to not inherit the kingdom of God.    We regularly share miraculous accounts of Almighty God moving mountains to mend a covenant family, sometimes after decades of man’s divorce.    If this Anabaptist theory is correct, then those covenant reconciliations that only the hand of the Lord could have brought about are a “sin” against all subsequent adulterous “spouses”.    Quite clearly, that cannot be the case.
FB profile 7xtjw

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  –  2 Peter 3:9

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legalism, Fundamentalism…and Time-Limits on Almighty God

Psalm-32-9-Posterby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Esh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 


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

by Standerinfamilycourt

October 11,  2017

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

RE: Skit, Day 2 of Revive 17 livecast

Dear Nancy:

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

“You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall not commit adultery’ 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 “It was said,  ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 32 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATorrey2

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

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

 

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

sarka_oneflesh2

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

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

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

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

 

Respectfully,

“standerinfamilycourt”
Blogger

Delavan, WI

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

AugustineOneFleshby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  Permanence and indissolubility are not equivalent concepts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________________________

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

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

DontDivorcePt2by Standerinfamilycourt

OUR RESPONSE TO PART 2

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

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

DontDivorcePt1by Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

OUR RESPONSE TO PART 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next post:  Our response to Part 2

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Pardon us for declining to play….reshared testimony about “blended” families

Transcribed by:  Standerinfamilycourt

(h/t to Jamie H.  Rivera, a  member of the community of covenant marriage standers, but is not the unknown author)

Every now and then we get an opportunity to give a voice to those whom our society (and, sadly, the corrupted church) does its level best to silence – the wounded adult children of legalized, institutionalized, papered-over adultery.    Please share this short, impactful blog with someone who is entrapped in hell-bound remarriage adultery, while praying they will come to their senses and escape Satan’s trap.  Since Jesus made it clear that remarriage adultery is an ongoing state of sin until fully repented, escaping this trap always entails legally exiting the immoral. civil-only union and making restitution to the covenant family members, and to the body of Christ.
(Please pray also for this young family because the stresses involved in living with this situation while fulfilling their own parental duty to protect innocent grandchildren from immoral exposure can become unbearable and can sometimes take a toll on the marriages of the next generation.)

DeadNotDivorced

Shared Testimony **

Our parents are mad because we will no longer play along with their imaginary game of house, by continuing to pretend that they and their remarriage adultery partners are actual legitimate couples. They are also angry over our refusal to allow history to repeat itself with our own daughters through the brainwashing and programming we received as children. We will not condition our girls to embrace their twisted fantasies and deception. Our children will not call our parents’ pseudo spouses by pet titles reserved for actual God given grandparents. Does this mean we are deliberately and maliciously endeavoring to hurt anyone?  Of course they think so, but truly we hope and pray for the salvation of all involved.

We didn’t ask for our caretakers to uproot our family tree, and put it in artificial soil and an artificial environment (in an environment that’s not even viable for sustaining life nonetheless…in darkness and a sterile environment which is hostile to it’s wellbeing and void of the essential elements necessary to actually keep it alive).   After they put this uprooted tree in artificial soil and in an artificial environment, they continued their toil by attaching artificial limbs to what was left of the real tree–as if to graft those fake tree limbs into it.

Some of them might have regularly watered this tree with a substance they chose to believe was equivalent to water (alcohol) as if to chemically induce merriment and simultaneously convince themselves and those with whom they naturally shared the parts of the real tree, that they truly did love and care for it and want to nurture it, and that it was alive and well.

Some fertilized the tree with candy, toys, money, and other materialistic goods…some even used drugs…some used flattery.

Some took no care at all and left it in that near-desolate environment to continue perishing, and got mad when it wasn’t adapting and flourishing. The majority went above and beyond in their vain endeavors by ceaselessly covering it with artificial decor to hide the rot and decay that was underneath the pretentious facade.   All along, as they went through these elaborate efforts, they kept working to convince us that this new tree was not only real but was also superior. They put more work into their attempts to make a dead tree alive and a fake tree real, and [into] convincing themselves and everyone else of these foolish ideas, than they put into caring for their own real tree.

It seems they will spend their entire lives perpetuating their fanciful yet deluded illusion.  We were children when all of this began, and had no choice in our parents’ decision to edit our God-given family via cut-and-paste tactics.  We were forced to go along with their deranged fantasies and accept these contrived fairytales as reality, all while we were unknowingly being alienated from our own true parents. The adults who spent decades playing these charades refuse to see the difference between an iLLogical family tree they themselves MANufactured versus a bioLOGICAL tree that was created by God.

 

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.   – Luke 14:26

“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…”    –  Matthew 10:34-35

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

For Those Who Like Their Truth En Flambe, We Give You… Pastor Gino Jennings

by Standerinfamilycourt

Two favorite things “standerinfamilycourt” dearly loves to share with you, dear audience, are miraculous restoration testimonies of a God-joined, one-flesh relationship after decades of man’s divorce, and pastors’ sermon series from the small but growing number of faithful shepherds who preach the whole counsel of God concerning the sinful state of dying “married” to the spouse of another… no excuses, no exceptions.    Previously, we shared the bold and truthful series by Brother Sproul, a Florida pastor in the Church of Christ, and Brother Phil Schlamp, a Canadian pastor of an Evangelical Church. We left you with a teaser to stay tuned, because we had our eye on yet another pastor whose sermon series (and plain-spoken boldness for the kingdom of God)  is well worth the listen.

SIFC is not African American but has great admiration for the fire and passion of several wonderful black pastors, unfortunately not all of whom preach an uncompromisingly biblical view of marriage indissolubility, though the one just cited  did teach a faithful view until his own daughter “married” another woman’s estranged husband in 2001.   By way of contrast,  Pastor Jennings, of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Philadelphia,  is a sterling (if slightly brash) example of faithfulness to the hard teachings of Jesus Christ in this matter.   We apologize that most of these recordings end pretty abruptly, but we guarantee that not a single one will put you to sleep.

PastorGinoJ

From a 2001 sermon on divorced remarriage:
Part 1  Summary:  After dealing with false salvation, Pastor Jennings begins to deal at 6 minutes in with remarriage after divorce, based on Romans 7:1-3.
Part 2:   Continues…”if the husband be….what?”  Pastor Jennings continues on, to Matthew 19 and wealthy adulterers running the church, and taking on the homosexualists in the church, as well as the legalized adulterers who try to use the existence of concurrent polygamy in the Old Testament and some current faiths to justify serial polygamy: marrying another while estranged from a God-joined spouse.
Part 3:   Continues in Matthew 19…”who commits fornication?” and underscores it with Matthew 1:18.   “You can go to church tomorrow and shout all you want with that second wife….”    Pastor Jennings goes on to deal with physical abuse in marriage based on 1 Cor. 7:10-11.
Part 4:    Continues in 1 Cor. 7:11…”Most of the preaching in Delaware is different from this …because the preachers there gonna pick a second wife for ya!…Some of you may marry a man who already got a wife…you can’t say that’s your husband….you got another woman’s husband!!”
Based on Hebrews 13:4, he rebukes pastors who justify and even participate in serial polygamy, based on spiritual condition at the time of marriage, as false prophets.   

Ten years later in 2011, the quality of the recording is much-improved, but there is no improving on the guidance in  1 Cor. 7:10-11, as Pastor Jennings’ application of this timeless word is made to a letter inquiry from Jamaica asking about marital abandonment…putting the listener in God’s shoes when Israel left Him…based on Jeremiah 3:8-14.   “Come back, come back…I got lot of backsliders watching me now….God is calling for you, backslider!”  

A second letter addressed in that 2011 broadcast service asks about a 65 year old “coworker” who has both a God-joined and a counterfeit wife, having spent the longer period with his legalized adulteress….Romans 7:1-3, “listen at the bible, never mind Pastor Jennings…listen at the bible!”    In this one, he calls out “religious spoiled brats!”   He calls out a woman who marries an already-married pastor for “playing the whore” based on Sirach 23, and continuing…   “A man that breaketh wedlock saying thus in his heart, ‘Who seest me?  I am compassed about with darkness…the walls cover me…nobody seest me, what need I to fear?  The Lord will not remember my sins!”  

“….Any preacher…(and I know you’re watching, hypocrite!)…(11:45) ..because you Apostolic churches now have changed and now you promote divorce!…You got a preacher that justifies divorce…
[ FB profile 7xtjw SIFC: we would have said “that justifies remarriage“], “you’re following a false prophet, you’re following a liar.  And if you stay under him, you gonna go to hell with him!”

Circa 100 A.D., the martyred bishop of Antioch said something very similar:    “Do not be in error my brethren.  Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God.   If, then, those who do this as respects have suffered death, how much more will this be the case with anyone who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified!   Such a one becoming defiled in this way shall go away into everlasting fire and so shall everyone that harkens unto him.”

For a lot of people, connecting  remarriage with a journey toward hell is about as incendiary as preaching can get, unless like another faithful shepherd we recently covered, you rebuke a remarriage adulterer’s church and birth family for not shunning him or her according to the instructions to the church in 1 Cor 5, in an effort to salvage their soul by forcing actual repentance.   Yet, didn’t John the Baptist preach the same thing?    Was Jesus not preaching exactly the same thing in the sermon on the mount?

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.   If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.   If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body,   than for your whole body to go into  hell.   It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’;  but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a  divorced woman commits adultery.

If the risk of hell from the random but easily-repentable act of adultery with the spouse of another (without the civil-only fiction of subsequent “marriage” to that person) was so high that Jesus earnestly advised physically removing the temptation at the first sign that it was going to be a problem,  how can anyone behind the pulpit possibly entertain the delusion that forsaking one’s covenant family and one-flesh, God-joined partner to establish a faux “blended” family with someone else’s one-flesh is going to be OK with God to the point where that adulterous state can continue until death?   What kind of contemporary fool mocks God to His face by actually becoming a “blended family pastor” ?  No wonder the liberal theologians have all dismissed these words of the Lord as “hyperbole” in their commentaries !    How could we possibly fantasize that the One Who said we would give an account before God for every useless word we utter would engage in “hyperbole” while speaking to us of hell?

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

A Marriage Permanence Teaching That Actually Goes A Bit Too Far?

Hertzler_DearPastorby Standerinfamilycourt

Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?    –  Acts 15:10

This week SIFC  was reminded that the surprises never end when it comes to the battleground around the biblical truth and the indissolubility of holy matrimony.    That’s why what we believe must be based on the very same anchor that Jesus Himself dropped when He was challenged by those who didn’t take kindly the change from the Law of Moses that managed sin in lieu of eradicating it from the heart.    When Jesus asked what Moses commanded, and was given the Pharasaic response, He bypassed the regulation found in the book of Deuteronomy, and reminded His hearers that not only did Moses capture the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20),  but he penned the account of the first wedding (Genesis 2:21-24), including the taking of Adam’s rib to form Eve to be “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh”.   Jesus should have known whereof He spoke:   He was actually part of the “Let Us” of the creation;  He was there.
Jesus Himself testified that Adam parted with a single rib for a very good reason, namely #1M1W4L.

Roger Hertzler is a lay elder or pastor in an Anabaptist-affiliated fellowship, possibly Brethren or Mennonite.   An accountant by education and trade., Mr. Hertzler has written an extensive set of sermons on www.sermonindex.net called “Dear Pastor“.    He may have a part time congregation,  since lay pastors are especially common in Brethren churches.   Views toward, and acceptance of, adulterous remarriages vary widely in these Brethren / Mennonite / Anabaptist churches in practice, but there is a formal body of doctrine that reinforces that marriage is one man and one woman for life.    Some of the Anabaptist teachings we have featured on our Facebook page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional are quite sound and enlightened, according to scripture.     This particular piece, however, argues that someone exiting an adulterous remarriage in repentance (and who was not previously married or was widowed) is prohibited by the Lord from remarrying, as is the person they so divorced.

The second part is basically true, with the truly biblical exception of reconciliation with the God-joined one-flesh spouse of their youth, to whom in God’s eyes they never ceased to be wed.     However,  Bro. Hertzler insists that both must remain celibate for the remainder of their lives following the severance of the adulterous union.

Here’s a quick summary of Bro. Hertzler’s arguments advocating for the ongoing celibacy of all divorced parties who have living spouses, either covenant or non-covenant, and why each of these arguments are each either extra-biblical or unbiblical:

(1)  Hertzler:  Remarriage after divorce (church-sanctified adultery) is not just a sin against God, it’s a sin against the non-covenant spouse whom the repenter felt compelled to dissolve the unlawful union to.

[“The raw nature of adultery is that despite all the arguments that we could present, a remarriage has the potential to feel like adultery to the offended party, even when the first marriage was not valid. If a man would, for the sake of purity, leave an adulterous marriage and then remain single, it could be seen as both understandable and honorable to the wife (and children) who are left behind. But for her to see him to get married again while she must remain single would be like a perpetual sword being plunged into her heart. Does it not seem reasonable that Jesus was thinking of this very scenario when gave the “against her” statement in Mark 10:11? “]

(2)  HertzlerThe one repenting of remarriage adultery is still bound to keep their second vows even if they should not have been made, hence remaining celibate is the remaining way to do that while honoring Christ’s commandments.

[“Perhaps we could argue, “Since the second set of vows should never have been made, God didn’t hear those vows, and therefore they can’t be violated.” This argument is dubious since Scripture seems to affirm that God hears even those vows that should not have been made. But whether or not this is true, this argument only takes into account the potential sin against God and ignores the potential sin against man.”]

(3) Hertzler:   Allowing a divorced person who was never legitimately married in God’s eyes to subsequently marry a widow or never-married person creates a “man-made exception” to both Mark 10:11 an d 1 Cor. 7:11, which is presumptuous at best and creates confusion / bad witness.

[“To allow for this exception adds a murkiness to the issue at a time when clarity is needed. It makes the question of my standing with God rest on the actions of other people, people who for the most part are outside of my control.   To make this exception would force us to drastically complicate the methods of dealing with divorcees who are seeking repentance. Rather than simply asking, “Do you have a former spouse that is still living?” we would need to examine each of the former spouses to see if they had been married before. Then, if they had been, we would need to examine the marital situation of each of their former spouses, and so on.”]

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   if Bro. Hertzler indeed does have a congregation, in addition to his accountancy practice,  it is easy to see how his theories would appeal to him and seem like the only acceptable truth.   In a way, his dilemma (and his interest), in the ugly face of the mess made by many unfaithful shepherds of the flock over the last five decades, is not too unlike what other evangelical pastors of strong conscience but misguided application (for example: John Piper) .   They don’t want to sort through complicated facts and circumstances in determining when to perform a second, third or fourth wedding.    They don’t want the gossip in the church that they know is sure to result if there is covenant reconciliation after an intervening adulterous union (perhaps on both sides), especially where there are non-covenant children.     Counseling everyone to remain celibate seems like the best solution.    However, it is not.

Before getting into the incompleteness of the picture Bro. Hertzler has painted, it is good to get grounded in the core truth about the indissolubility of holy matrimony as Jesus related it.    Armed with this foundation, marriage heresies become much easier to spot.   This process is akin to holding a counterfeit $20 bill up against the real thing.   Many of the truths that rebut Bro. Hertzler’s theories are the same ones that apply to John Piper’s theory that disciples should stay in their adulterous remarriages rather than rebuild their covenant families, or build a first-time covenant family.   

MarriageHeresy

The first problem with Hertzler’s argument #1 where the non-covenant spouse who was in legalized adultery while having a living covenant spouse is aggrieved by a covenant remarriage of their faux spouse, is that the Lord expects that previously married non-covenant to acknowledge their unique, exclusive one-flesh status with that first spouse, plead for their soul, and seek or be open to reconciliation with that original spouse.    Otherwise, there is a violation at the very least of the second “bullet” in the graphic above.    The second problem is that Hertzler’s position wrongly assumes that a supernatural one-flesh God-joining occurred in the unlawful union, and it can’t be both ways.   Hence there is also a violation of the first “bullet”, as well, entailed in this theory.   God cannot join a spouse to two living spouses at the same time.   He only took one rib from Adam.    Jesus blew the whistle on Old Testament polygamy, both serial and concurrent, when He took us back to the creation.   Covenant and non-covenant marriages are not morally equivalent at all, because neither are they metaphysically equivalent.

We respond to Bro. Hertzler’s  point #2 the identical way we responded to Dr. Piper’s similar claim that unlawful vows are still binding on both illicit partners, but in this case we can go a bit deeper.   Imagine standing before the Lord of Hosts, the God of Angel Armies, the God portrayed in Mal. 2 as rebuking the violence and treachery of discarding the woman He said IS (not was) “the companion of your marriage covenant”.    Did He say this of wife number two with whom the priest also made vows?  No, He spoke of effects on the generations of offspring.   Just imagine standing before a holy God who tells us (2:14) He was the witness to your first and only covenant vows, and having the audacity to state  this vow:

“I solemnly promise to spend every remaining day of my life violating the binding vows I made to the person You made me exclusively one-flesh with in my youth, the one who still lives.” 

Would a Sovereign who expects forgiveness, reconciliation and restitution hear or hold binding such a vow, any more than He would hear and hold binding a vow that goes, “I vow to commit murder (hatred), and unforgiveness toward my one-flesh, all the days of my life…”  ?   Few of us understand what it means for God Himself to be a party to covenant, according to His character.    Holding either non-covenant spouse to a vain, unlawful vow in which God’s holiness would never allow Him to participate is to hinder at least one of the spouses from setting the right example before covenant and non-covenant offspring alike.

Bro. Hertzler’s point #3 is the only one that comes even close to having some biblical merit, at least with respect to the spouse who was never in a biblically lawful marriage before entering the non-covenant one.   Indeed, for many years pre-1973, the Assemblies of God had a firm rule against performing a wedding over anyone with a living spouse, and against giving credentials as a pastor to anyone who had a spouse with a prior living spouse, or if they did themselves — very simple, no further questions asked.   As it happens, SIFC also knows many never-married men and women who have come out of legalized adultery unions who have no desire to marry another (widowed or never-married), even though they are free to do so because they would not be violating a one-flesh covenant.    Most of them have children from those non-covenant unions.  All of them earnestly pray for their non-covenant former partner to be reconciled with their true one-flesh.   Most of them are driven by purpose to right this eternally-deadly immorality in church and society, and to serve the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

Nevertheless, there was a joyous wedding this past week in the global marriage permanence fellowship.    A long-suffering widow whose restored-prodigal husband died a short time after he forsook an adulterous remarriage and returned to his covenant home, has been joined by God to a man who came out of two non-covenant unions, the first as an unsaved person, and the second as a convicted, repenting follower of Christ.   Like his covenant bride, this man endured years of hardship and sacrifice  in order to meet his godly obligations to the members of that non-covenant home while exiting the sin, an act that was misunderstood by everyone around him.   His testimony, written near the start of that journey, can be read here ( DWalker testimony).     The wedding was proudly solemnized by a stander-pastor who has ministered for many years to the members of the marriage permanence community who might otherwise be cut off from any fellowship with the body of Christ due to their unpopular stand for the no-excuses indissolubility of holy matrimony.

Meanwhile, within that marriage permanence community, Bro. Hertzler’s blog has unfortunately caused great (if unintended) damage because of the distortion it has caused for some in applying 1 Cor. 7:11.   It seems some carnal believers would like to apply Paul’s counsel to “remain unmarried or be reconciled” as a free choice between two equally moral and acceptable options, rather than the way he actually intended: “prefer reconciliation, but in the meantime remain unmarried“.    Some see this distortion as a way to justify estrangement from an unwanted spouse who is not a threat to their safety or wellbeing or their walk with the Lord, and merely to get around the first part of Paul’s command that a wife should not leave her husband (1 Cor. 7:10).   Once again, the heresy becomes easy to spot through the filter suggested in this post.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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