Category Archives: Church Discipline

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

by Standerinfamilycourt

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

A RECENT EXCHANGE ON A RIVAL FACEBOOK PAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

by Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Currently on the board of CBMW:

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 EXAMPLE LETTER TO CMBW :

Dr. Denny Burk & Directors


CBMW Executive Office
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40280

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

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

 

 

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! 

Annulments: A CONcession to Human Weakness?

Shakingby Standerinfamilycourt

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.   See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
– Hebrews 12:12-16

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
– Matthew 5:8

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Matthew 5:48

SIFC’s admired friend and comrade, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, paid the fine compliment this week of tagging us on Facebook to her post of an article in Crisis Magazine by Deacon Jim Russell of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Roman Catholic Church.   Anyone who has followed this blog for very long knows that we give “equal time” to offending evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics alike, if their allegiance is with the extrabiblical doctrines of the established leadership of either church.    They also know that “standerinfamilycourt” is a Protestant (not that the leadership of most of those denominations would “claim” this blogger.)    It is always a delight to connect the community of those standing in faith for the God-restored wholeness of the covenant marriages of their youth, and those who have righteously exited an adulterous, civil-only union (entered into with somebody else’s spouse), with the larger faith community of stakeholders in the marriage permanence movement. In fact, SIFC believes this exact role of bringing different groups of stakeholders together around the word of God is the specific one entrusted to this ministry by the Lord, while many others in the movement perform a variety of other very effective and indispensable roles under their own specific anointing.  

Here are Dr. Morse’s comments, as she shared this piece:

“My friend Deacon Jim Russell on the Catholic annulment process:
“Some well-meaning Catholics wrongly say the decision NOT to pursue an annulment is “pathological” when in fact it’s heroic and virtuous…. Think about it. If I really believe I meant what I said about marrying for life, for better or worse, until death do us part, even if I’m abandoned by my spouse, it doesn’t automatically mean that I “need” an annulment.”

We wholeheartedly agree.   In fact, allowing for  SIFC’s (admittedly) limited understanding of Catholic doctrine and practice, but based on God’s explicit word, the only “marriage” where an “annulment” would be automatically needed is for a marriage least likely to take place under the blessing and consecration of the RCC, namely the nuptials where one or both of the parties is divorced from a living, estranged spouse.   However, such weddings that Jesus routinely called adulterous do indeed happen increasingly today under the Roman Catholic roof, where the aforesaid piece of man’s paper has been obtained “invalidating” that which God joined,  yet He still recognizes, and He still defends as indissoluble holy matrimony,.

Several points in Deacon Russell’s piece seem troubling.   He begins with a fairly accurate statement:

Scripture tells us that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16), and it doesn’t sound like Jesus was too thrilled with how Moses handled it, since “it was not so” in the beginning. But, what about annulments?

Our response:   Anyone who could quote Jesus’ definitive words of Matthew 19:8, and then in the very next breath ask, “What about annulments?”  has strong myopia in our view, and needs to go back to Matthew 5 to meditate on the Sermon on the Mount.    There, Jesus pointedly and provocatively said,

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
– Matthew 5:20

Deacon Russell is darn right that Jesus was less than pleased that Moses chose to “manage” the sin of those he was called to lead, rather than having the moral courage that Jesus and John the Baptist had to seek to eradicate it.   The full quote from Christ’s lips in Matthew 19:8:

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.

In other words, it was Moses, not Jesus, making the concessions to human weakness.    Was the Sermon on the Mount that launched and defined Jesus’ ministry not all about raising the moral bar back to what existed before the bite of the apple?    How then does it logically follow that Jesus would go on condoning “concessions to human weakness” ?

Today, would He not be saying to Roman Catholics, Because of human weakness, Innocent III permitted you to claim your marriage was invalid, but from the beginning it was not so… ” ?

Of course, SIFC would be completely remiss in not mentioning the evangelical Protestant equivalent of this false doctrine of “accommodating human weakness”,  the equally spurious notion that hard hearts must be “allowed for”, therefore Jesus “made provision for divorce and remarriage.”

Jesus gets blamed for much in carnal, humanistic Christendom, does He not?      Anyone who labors under the delusion that nursing and coddling either “human weakness” or “hard hearts” is consistent in any way with following Christ needs to spend some significant time in the book of Hebrews….(verses 3:8, 3:15, 4:7)

Russell:    “First, let’s be clear that divorce and annulment are utterly different. One erroneously says an indissoluble marriage covenant can be ended before death (divorce), and the other truthfully says that sometimes an attempt at marital consent doesn’t really ‘make marriage’ because of some defect…”

Actually, Deacon Russell, there isn’t a fly’s whisker of difference between the two in their immoral effect.   Both are fabrications of mere men, whereas Jesus tells us, “from the beginning it was not so!”  They both contradict the clear word of God on two counts.   Both falsely claim to remove God from His covenant with a one-flesh entity He supernaturally created with His own hand,  and both claim that something besides physical death can sever that entity.    Nobody vainly “attempts” consent, especially before the altar of the Lord.    Nobody should be allowed to retroactively disavow consent if they don’t want to answer some day to the Most High.

You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.   Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.   But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.    – Matthew 5:33-37

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.   Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?   – Eccl. 5:4-6

Russell:  “If we were not weak and wounded creatures, we simply wouldn’t need the annulment process. But we are, so we do.”

Apparently, the Ten Commandments (such as the 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th)  do not apply to anyone who believes themselves to be, (or can persuade their bishop that they are) a “weak and wounded creature”, according to Deacon Russell.     See Matthew 5:48 above.   

Russell:  “…but the Church’s annulment process exists to preserve the truth of the indissolubility of marriage. This sacred truth is so important that an explicit process to determine whether marital consent should be declared “null” is absolutely necessary. Why? To maintain the other side of that coin—those occasions when marital consent cannot be declared null.

Is that so?   Wouldn’t the better way be to excommunicate the unrepentant adulterer and those who seek to abandon their God-joined spouse and children?     That seems to be what Paul was advocating in 1 Cor. 5, not because he had it in for divorced people, but because Jesus made it quite clear that souls were on the line with unrepented  immoral relationships.   Why is “judging consent” necessary?    Did God delegate that authority to men?     Not according to Jesus Christ:   therefore what God has joined, let NO MAN put asunder.”

Russell:  In saying this, the Holy Father [ referring to John Paul II]  is not impugning the process that faithfully renders authentic declarations of nullity—he’s just placing that process in the appropriate pastoral context that is always to favor every attempted marriage that is still capable of being convalidated rather than abandoned, no matter what stage of divorce or the annulment process the man and woman may find themselves…”

Beware any high-falutin’ word that either begins or ends with “CON”.      “Convalidation”  (CONvolution / CONcession)

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.- Proverbs 10:19

This is still denying both the power and the will of God.    SIFC, not being Roman Catholic, had to do a bit of research on this one.     This human contrivance seeks to claim that God sometimes uses defective “glue” in joining that one-flesh entity, therefore the human subjects can deign to “re-glue” themselves with a “new act of consent”.    But according to this particular article, it doesn’t stop there.   Apparently, an adulterously “married” couple can also “CONvalidate” :
“….but more often, it is because one or both of the spouses was not free to marry in the Catholic Church because of a previous marriage or because they were awaiting an annulment.”     Guess what?     Such a couple can “CONvalidate” until the cows come home.    It still won’t CONvert legalized adultery into holy matrimony under any church roof.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

CMS_Shannonby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

–  1 Cor. 12: 8 -10

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

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

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

A few nuggets from various chapters in the book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

www.standerinfamilycourt. com

 

 

NDOP 2017 Is In The Books (Yawn!)

NDOP_EOby Standerinfamilycourt

The word of God is a seamless garment, and men who deny its law deny its eschatology also, and are deprived of God’s power.   It is not surprising, therefore, that this is an era of impotence in the church.   That impotence will no more be cured by frantic and earnest prayer meetings than was the problem of Baal’s prophets by their shouts, “O Baal, hear us (1 Kings 18:26).   True faith mean law-obedience, and obedience spells power and blessing.   Deuteronomy 28 tells us precisely, and for all time, how prayers are answered and a people blessed.   –  Rousas John Rushdoony (2002), as quoted by Jack Shannon, author of Contra Mundum Swagger (2017), pages 136-7.

Shannon goes on to say, “Rushdoony is absolutely justified in taking a swipe at prayer meetings.   He’s exactly right.  You can pray for reformation and revival as earnestly and frantically as you want, but as long as you continue to disobey the law of Christ….and disregard all call to repent of your adulterous marriages, the Church will continue to be powerless.”

From Malachi, chapter 2, just ahead of the far more famous passage dealing with the sanctity and indissolubility of holy matrimony is this description of unlawful marriage which causes God to reject the false worship offered in any and all attempts to appease Him, short of actually repenting…..

For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction

10 “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.

And while U.S. Christendom prayed Thursday, the National-Symbol-for-Violence-and-Treachery -Toward-One’s-Own-Family held a Rose Garden Ceremony, complete with persecuted nuns,  to sign an Executive Order promising to uphold the religious freedom of those who voted for him.      Incredibly, the Chief of the Executive Branch ordered his troops not to enforce a Federal statute (which several successors of Eisenhower and LBJ had never enforced anyway, even  Obama) which forbids tax-exempt religious organizations from engaging in political activity.     Common conservative consensus on this one is that Trump tossed his supplicants a religious freedom bone, but one outspoken seminarian quipped that Trump-daughter Ivanka stripped every particle of meat residue off before she would allow Daddy to toss it out there.    (The ACLU concurred, announcing the same day that they wouldn’t bother to sue.)

That morning, Christian radio stations across the land conducted their usual interviews with twangy-voiced female guests who served as the organizational spokespersons of the year to tell us all about this year’s theme (“For Your Great Name’s Sake”), merchandizing,  and where to go pray that Roe and Obergefell would be overturned (but not unilateral divorce nor Amoris Laetitia), that Obamacare would be repealed, that boys would return to being content to use the boy’s room and if they remain confused about how God made them, that coercive governments would stop interfering with truth therapy.   Later in the day, Joyce Meyer came on in their station time slots as usual, as did Ron Deal, the “blended family” guru.     There was no evangelical  thanksgiving to be heard over the fact that God’s hand was moving, after 50 long years, behind two states who are actively  in the process of seeking repeal of the immoral “family” laws that are the root cause of these existential threats to the survival of our nation.   Prayers went up for revival to break out across the land,  from folks who would be the last people to recognize it as such if God did so move.

How life-giving would have been the public recognition by church leadership  that in 2017, God Most-High was giving off many signs to the pure-hearted watchful ones that indeed repentance and revival is truly what He wants for our nation, rather than the far more probable destruction that is the alternative ?

We heard, as usual, about the rich history in the U.S. of national calls to prayer on the eves of other great national threats, and how God indeed heard and delivered.    We heard about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and even Ulysses S. Grant — all men who were lifelong faithful to their less-than-perfect covenant wives.    We heard about their rightful humility on behalf of the nation before the throne of the Almighty, but left unmentioned Thursday, was the very significant fact that they didn’t have to leave their offering at the altar first and go be reconciled with covenant wives and children, flesh-of-their-flesh and bone-of-their-bones – nor the fact that many of the national spokes-folk would have been far better served by doing so.    Our forefathers didn’t need a slick marketing campaign to engage people nor to substitute emotional ginning-up for actual integrity.

We treat our constitutional freedom of religious expression as something God both gave us and actually owes us.    We call it an “inalienable right” .     But is it, actually?   Are Christ-followers actually owed anything in this life by the Creator of All Heaven and Earth?     Quoting  Contra Mundum Swagger again, page 136:

“Much of the evangelical world simply makes no connection between personal and cultural destruction, and the sin in their lives and in their churches.    They just think they are righteous like Job, and are experiencing similar loss, when in reality they are not blameless servants.   They are guilty as Ham, Achan and Ahab were.   When men are obedient to the law of God, blessings are manifest.  When men are disobedient to the law, curses are. “

We bible-toting, church-attending evangelicals cannot believe how long God is taking to deliver us from Islam and homofacism, and we’re still deeply concerned that Donald Trump might not.   Ham was too cowardly to confront obvious sin in his father so he left it to his brothers.    Achan was greedy and covetous, proving that he loved baubles and trappings far more than he loved God.    Ahab was a lifelong idolator.    All three of them paid for misappropriating God-given privilege and blessing to their own self-indulgence with the cutting off of their generations of progeny — just as we are collectively doing as a nation!    How many pastors, how many religious freedom champions  do we know who are all of these things and worse?     Were we not bestowed our religious freedom for a strong kingdom purpose that transcends our own personal interest?    What happens when we not only violate that purpose but institutionalize an immoral way of life in our churches and choose leaders whose lives epitomize that immorality?

In the natural, it appears for all the world that God answered the fervent prayers of 2017 that very day.    After all, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare that day, along with its coerced mandate for abortifacients and its financial penalties for noncompliance.   Will that event result in the recovery of our nation’s integrity, since the fervent and effectual prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16)?  What if, instead of another twangy-voiced spokeswoman who prospers temporally from being “married” to another  woman’s God-joined covenant husband, the national spokesman for NDOP 2018 is the prophet Ezra ?

But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God; and I said,

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.   Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and on account of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity and to plunder and to open shame, as it is this day.   But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

“Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,  which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity.   So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this,  shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape?   O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”   —  Ezra, Chapter 9

Instead, when it comes to restoring our 1st Amendment privileges, we may wind up with the “prophet” Hanson in how we sound to the One to Whom we are appealing:

 

HansonNDOP  (MMMBop by  pop group, Hanson, 1997)

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Moody Radio Responds to “Standerinfamilycourt” (Sort Of)

MBIby Standerinfamilycourt

On March 26, SIFC sent a letter in response to the Moody Bible Institute’s pleas to donate to meet an 8% shortfall in their semi-annual fundraising goals.   SIFC pointed out that it was unconscionable for a growing number of us to fund a considerable portion of their programming because it encourages people to remain in, rather than repent of, their sin of “marrying” someone else’s covenant spouse under the nation’s immoral divorce laws.  The hope was that they would seriously consider the eternal consequences of this policy and practice, that the Holy Spirit would convict somehow.   They were kind enough to respond,  and not to send a canned form letter, but the content of that response was better left unsaid.    I share it with our readers now:

April 3, 2017

Dear [“Standerinfamilycourt”],

Thank you for listening to Moody Radio, for your past financial and prayer support, and for taking time to write expressing your concerns about Family Life Ministries feature FamilyLife Blended with Ron Deal.  

I can understand your concern for any programming content that would “sanction legalized adultery”.   I will be standing right beside you on that.  However I fail to see where the content in the programs you listed are sanctioning adultery.

May I take your thoughts a little further on the topic, beyond the thought that divorce led to the creation of a blended family?   Ron Deal at FamilyLife could give you more specific information, but we are learning that many people who come to Christ ater in life are from broken homes.  We receive emails nearly every week, mainly from Christian women, that their spouse has divorced / left them, some recently.   We also know of Christians who are widows or widowers who remarry.   In fact, several years after my grandfather died, my 82 year old grandmother remarried a wonderful widower.

Most churches do not address the unique issues that are present in these Blended Families.  We believe that the feature and FamilyLife Ministries is helping these marriages and families not only to survive but possibly thrive by providing helpful information not available anywhere else.

[“Standerinfamilycourt”],  I’m sorry that I don’t have the audio to send you, but here is the script of one of the first FamilyLife Blended features.

What would you do if your fiancé told you she was pregnant and it wasn’t your child?   I heard about one man that found himself in that very situation.   He was distraught, he was hurt, and he chose to walk away.   I mean, after all, the responsibilities were not his.  But then the Spirit of God let Joseph know that there was something bigger going on.   And Joseph chose love.  This Christmas as you remember our dear Savior’s birth, let’s also remember and encourage the step-parents and adoptive parents who, like Joseph, didn’t have responsibility or obligation, but they chose to love anyway.

I hope this information may shed a little more light on the reasons that we broadcast the FamilyLife Blended feature on Moody Radio.

Again, we appreciate you listening to Moody Radio, and appreciated your financial and prayer support through the years.   If you feel the Lord directing you to support another ministry, we understand and pray that He will multiply the impact of your gifts to that organization.   We do hope you will continue to pray for us as we seek to minister to as many people as possible and help them take their next step in their relationship with Jesus.

Blessings!

Dan Craig
Manager of Programming


SIFC had to go back to the original March 26  letter / blog to make sure we remembered to  mention that Moody Radio was leading millions of people toward hell as adulterers with this programming, but then again, Mr. Craig admitted that he didn’t  “see how the programming content was sanctioning adultery”.

[translation:  we don’t consider remarriage following civil dissolution of a consummated marriage to be adultery, even though Jesus repeatedly said it was, as did Paul.  But just in case, we’re going to obfuscate the issue by jumping topics to widowhood and betrothal].

A zinger of a rebuttal could certainly be had, if only it were profitable to the kingdom of God to do so:

Dear Mr. Craig,

A sincere thank you for responding, and doing so with your personal thoughts.

Since most churches do not address the unique issues that are present in LGBT families, would you therefore recommend that Moody promote programming by a comparable sodomy “pastor”?

….Most churches do not address the unique issues that are present in these Gay Families.  We believe that the feature and GayFamilyLife Ministries is helping these homosexual marriages and LGBT families not only to survive but possibly thrive by providing helpful information not available anywhere else.    (Right!)

And then there’s the emotional bit about Mary’s Joseph….with the acute dissimilarities swept conveniently under the rug.    Taking the analogy a bit further, had Joseph indeed put Mary away privily, being a just man, would it have been adultery for another man, for whom the “responsibilities were not his”,  who (correctly) perceived from the Spirit of God that “there was something bigger going on” to have come along and married this forsaken unwed mother?  Or  would that have been holy matrimony in God’s eyes?    Yes, but not for the reasons fancied by Mr. Craig.    Mary was not yet made irrevocably one-flesh with Joseph, unlike the sort of “bride” that Ron Deal has the unbiblical audacity compare her to.

Taking Ron  Deal’s analogy even further, Mary would be “divorced” (that is she would have been given a Hebrew get, a bill of divorcement), but that’s not the kind of “divorce” Jesus was referring to on all three instances / occasions where Matthew (in Hebrew text) , then Luke (in Greek text) quoted Him as saying,

“whosoever marries one who has been put away from a husband commits [enters into the ongoing state of]  adultery. “

Had another man married Mary and raised Jesus, it would not have been adultery according to the laws of the kingdom of God, because she would not have been impeded by an unsevered, undissolved one-flesh bond with Joseph whether or not there was any of man’s paper involved.    Jesus was referring to exactly the sort of otherwise-godly, unsullied and innocent third party man (and still calling him an adulterer) that Mr. Deal would like us to believe is exempt from the clear, repetitive commandment of Christ, so long as he’s doing it out of apparent compassion.    But let’s not forget the  five-ton elephant in the room — that it’s not strictly necessary for a man to marry an unwed mother (even if the one Mr. Deal has in mind isn’t exactly unwed) to show her the love of Christ or meet her essential life needs for a season.   Boaz, after all, married a widowTrue love always considers its impact on everyone’s eternal destination who is involved in the picture.

Yours truly,

“Standerinfamilycourt”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC is pondering at this moment whether another attempt to enlighten Mr. Craig by return response is likely to be fruitful or merely be casting pearls before swine.    Who knows whether he is among the 40-50% of the contemporary evangelical church who is living in this sin himself, or among the even larger percentage who has a loved one who is perishing in this immoral state.    It seems likely to further offend him personally to tell him that adulterous homes are not supposed to “survive and (possibly) thrive”,  but are to instead repent the same way one repents of any hellbound sin, by severance and forsaking and (possibly) reconciliation with the covenant spouse(s).      After all, he saw fit to ignore the most forceful points in the first letter and pretend that he didn’t see them.   He never responded at all to our serious inquiry about why Moody is not at least covering the unilateral divorce repeal efforts in Texas and Oklahoma.   Lastly, longtime listeners to Moody know that the MBI of today is steeped in Calvinism, where you hear at least implied umpteen times a day that Jesus died for regenerated persons’  past, present and future sins.   The corrosive, lethal mix of Calvinism and legalized adultery have stripped the church of nearly all of its supernatural power in the last five decades.    Between  the days of Luther / Calvin and the stroke of Ronald Reagan’s pen in 1969, most of the Spirit-led Protestant  church didn’t succumb to it, even though it’s been out there since the 16th century Reformation.

It would be good to at least let him know that those of us in the biblical marriage permanence movement are indeed praying for Moody Bible Institute and Moody Radio.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Dear Moody Radio Share 2017

by Standerinfamiycourt

——————————————–
On Wed, 3/22/17, Moody Radio, Share 2017 <moodyradio@moodycommunications.org> wrote:Subject: There’s Still Time to Give!
To: [standerinfamilycourt]
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 9:52 AMWe are so close, but we still need your help!{ SIFC noteabout 8% short of goal on the day after their recent 3-day funding campaign ended, about the same as in the four prior years.]
If you haven’t already given during Share 2017, will you help Moody Radio reach our national goal?
So many of you have already given, but we are still short of our total need. If you have considered giving, it is not too late.
Remember, when you give to Share, you are sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in your community and across the globe.
Please prayerfully consider a generous gift today and Share the Word with others!

——————————————–

On Sun, 3/26/17,  <“standerinfamilycourt”> wrote:

Subject: Re: There’s Still Time to Give!
To: “Moody Radio” <moodyradio@moodycommunications.org>
Date: Sunday, March 26, 2017, 1:13 PM

Dear Moody Radio Management,

Perhaps this shortfall Moody keeps experiencing over the past few years is the Lord’s chastening, and not the economy.   Many of us certainly love Up for Debate and most other Moody programs, but can offer no money for Moody Radio until all programs that regularly sanction legalized adultery are ceased and apologized for.  If there’s a need for a “blended family pastor” ( just because he appears to be a “successful” legalized adulterer), it’s not surprising at all.  People living in defiance of God’s clear word, rightly-divided, have homes absolutely rife with dysfunction – how can it be otherwise with the coveting and wrongful retention of another’s God-joined, covenant spouse (Matt. 19:6; Mal.2:14) ?  It is the wicked desire to cling to this soul-destructive ongoing state of sin that fuels the demand for the likes of “Pastor” Ron Deal, as well as wicked books written by a host of adulterers and adulteresses (James 4:4).

Moody has on occasion shamelessly even offered these books as a donation-spurring mechanism, tickling the ears of people who desperately need to instead repent.  Programs such as Focus on the Family, Family Life, and Building Relationships are three among many on Moody which are an affront to the kingdom of God for this reason, encouraging millions to live for self instead of taking up their cross of forgiveness and obedience to the harder commandments of Christ.
.

ὃς                    ἐὰν         ἀπολελυμένην                      γαμήσῃ          μοιχᾶται
whoever          if             her having been divorced     shall marry   commits [ present-indicative verb tense – Matt. 532b; Matt 19:9b-KJV, Luke 16:18 adultery  

What IS surprising is Moody’s unabashed embrace of something that’s pointing the audience to hell instead of away from hell.  R A Torrey would have been appalled, since Jesus stated on 3 different occasions that EVERYONE who marries a divorced person is committing ongoing adultery.

Torrey, in “How to Pray” (1900):  “The prevailing immorality is found everywhere.  Look at the legalized adultery we call divorce.  Men marry one wife after another and are still admitted in good society; and women do likewise.   There are thousands of supposedly respectable men in America living with other men’s wives, and thousands of supposedly respectable women living with other women’s husbands.”

RATorrey2

It is on this same basis Paul stated twice to the body of believers that no unrepentant adulterer has any inheritance in the kingdom of God, and also stated twice that only death, not any act of men, dissolves God-joined holy matrimony or severs the God-created,. supernatural one-flesh entity (sarx mia) which Jesus described in Matt. 19:6.

History has shown that no society can stand for more than 2-3 generations after enacting unilateral divorce if church leadership also accommodates it rather than remaining salty in resistance – witness ancient Israel who had to undertake the purging repentance from unlawful marriages described in Ezra, chapters 9 and 10, to recover their nation.   Witness the late Roman Empire which was vanquished two generations after enacting the equivalent of today’s unilateral divorce — but Christ’s church survived and thrived because early church fathers were nearly unanimous in the faithful teaching that only death ends holy matrimony, and in disciplining its adulterers in the fashion Paul instructed in 1 Cor. 5.   Failure to repent always leads to an insufficient number of well-adjusted citizens to overcome the rising numbers of wounded, deranged, demented and dysphoric citizens produced when both church and state institutionalize what Jesus consistently called adultery.

Blended

Two states with rare, godly legislators (Texas and Oklahoma) are currently working to repeal this immoral and unconstitutional civil law that has cost much of the church its very integrity over the past 5 decades — why do we hear nothing of this on Moody?   Where is the call to prayer and fasting for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven?   Could it be the snare of the fear of man is greater than the fear of God?

Respectfully, There’s Still Time to REPENT !

[“standerinfamilycourt”]

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