Category Archives: marriage

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

Amazing-Grace-movie-posterby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AG_Metaxas_Photo2.jpeg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

FrMartinDrGby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

DontDivorcePt2by Standerinfamilycourt

OUR RESPONSE TO PART 2

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Transcribed by:  Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

DeadNotDivorced

Shared Testimony **

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law…”    –  Matthew 10:34-35

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

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

by Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

PastorGinoJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

TheDunlapsby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NeverGiveUp

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

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

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

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

‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate’….He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.     Matt. 19:6, 8

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Hertzler_DearPastorby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MarriageHeresy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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!

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

KrauseFamilyby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

From a December 28 post by a local news service:

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

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

Per the Texas Statute, as currently enacted:

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

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

The local article continues:

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

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

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

MKrauseFB_post

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

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

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

Are there any Family Policy groups supporting you at all?

Thanks, and Godspeed! 
“standerinfamilycourt”

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

 

TX HB93_2017

Texas does indeed have a family policy council:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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