Just as it seemed we were finally seeing the last of those endless versions of Kevin DeYoung’s 40 Questions (For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags), we are presented with a new culture war story-of-the-month where everyone who is anyone must weigh in. The evangelical “establishment” seems to have taken another hesitating step toward graphic understanding that fearing men more than God carries real consequences – a reckoning we can all praise and thank God for! These leaders have said they must rebuild “a culture of marriage”. Perhaps the Lord is going to see to it that the rebuilding cannot proceed, as initially hoped, on its current shoddy and cracked foundation of systemic adultery atop flippant hypergrace.
Mag-pies outside the church are casting “righteous indignation” (not to mention unsolicited advice) on both a devastated Anna Duggar, and the chastened church, both of whom are no doubt struggling to sort things out while still reeling. The world’s way of dealing with infidelity is to put self first, and discard the souls involved, as though this world were all there is, and as if God were powerless to transform hearts. Meanwhile, there have been several reports that some 400 pastors were on the hacked and leaked Ashley Madison list, and will be resigning their pulpits, as they should. While many are shocked by this number, “standerinfamilycourt” is actually amazed that it’s not far more, given the anonymous self-reported survey rates of confession among pastors polled about pornography use.
We stand with Anna Duggar’s decision to stand for her covenant marriage. Were she to take the world’s, or her own brother’s advice, and obtain a civil divorce, she would join millions in holding a civil piece of paper while her marriage covenant remains undissolved in God’s eyes by anything a county judge or one-flesh husband can do. We pray she is doing it with godly counsel and with sustainable motivation. We are thankful that Josh Duggar has checked himself into a long term treatment program for sexual addiction, and that she will have the support of her husband’s family during the separation. Anna has chosen God’s way to deal with the devastation. She deserves our prayers because the too-common situation most of us get to deal with in our privacy, she must walk out in a fish bowl setting. We pray that God is glorified in the outcome, and Anna’s whole family is rewarded by her obedience.
We must keep in mind that Christ’s definition of adultery begins with the lust of the eyes, to the extent that He advised that an offending organ be severed and cast away (Matt. 5:27). Adultery in Christ’s estimation is not only of the sort committed by Josh Duggar and his million list-mates. Adultery in the sight of Jesus also comes dressed in man’s civil and ecclesiastical paper, which does not change the immoral character of the relationship (Luke 16:18; Matt. 5:32(b); Matt. 19:9(b)), despite the pastoral pretense that God does that sort of joining. Both types of adultery must be physically repented in order to recover any inheritance in the kingdom of God. The flock has not heard any such preaching for the past 50 years, and only a handful of Christ’s shepherds are starting to speak out on this.
While Christendom was riveted on Planned Parenthood barbarism, presidential politics, and Duggar-overload, there was rather meager reporting on a significant development related to the Ashley Madison hack, which should trouble all of us. The American Family Association reported this past week that the Obama Administration decided to make a pre-emptive raid on the homosexual counterpart of Ashley Madison, an online hook-up matchmaker called Rentboy. Given more than 1,000 U.S. government officials employees listed in the clientele of Ashley Madison, our POTUS was hoping his ordered raid has come before that sodomous site suffered a similar hack.
Cynically, some also see this as an opportunistic bid to trigger lawsuits that might give his Leftist judicial appointees an opportunity to legalize prostitution in all 50 states without the consent of the voters. This would be the ultimate in the libertarian cry to “get the government out of the bedroom”, at the further expense of the traditional family. Prostitution has been legal for many years in various European countries including the UK and the Netherlands, where visitors to London know that one can walk past doors that actually say “Licenced Brothel”, while visitors to Amsterdam pass bay windows with live, scantily-dressed “mannequins” for rent.
In the Kennedy-wrought brave new world of defining Constitutionally-protected “liberty” as the fundamental right to boundless sexual expression, the presumption, will no doubt be that it’s not the clients or the service that caused the problem, but the “meddlesome and outdated” laws that restrict the freedoms of consenting adults. Once again, the current U.S. church would helplessly watch from the sidelines because this battle is inherently spiritual, requiring the intervening hand of the Most High, yet the moral authority she once had to put a stop to such distortion has been dissipated on her own widespread disrespect for God’s law of sexual purity and the sanctity (indissolubility) of covenant marriage.
(IMAGES OF THE HARLOT CHURCH)
All the defining evils in Corinthian society such as the Apostle Paul spoke into would be at this point fully established in the U.S., adding to it a layer of legalized sodomy, polygamy and incest that was not known by that society. 1st century Corinth, where the local church established by Paul struggled mightily against a pervasively immoral culture, was the center of temple worship to Aphrodite and was reputed to have some 1,000 prostitutes at the time of Paul’s ministry there. According to some scholars, prostitution was seen in that culture as an ironic and perverse means of “safeguarding” marriage and family. Expect to hear a similar contemporary argument, especially on the homosexual side.
Even with nothing but moral and cultural adversity to contend with, the heavily-persecuted 1st through 4th century church proved that the only antidote was Spirit-led monogamous, permanent covenant marriage with which they also proved that obedient, faithful believers, who reverence God’s holy ordinance at all costs, can transform a hostile and thoroughly immoral society through perseverance in mere example. Quoting bible historians Kenneth E. Kirk and Felix L. Ciriot, author Milton T. Wells describes this history-and-culture transforming feat as follows:
““What is more astounding than the mere fact that the early Church taught and practiced the complete indissolubility of marriage for so long, is the fact that the Church chose to take its stand against the strong contemporary lax social and legal attitudes toward divorce which prevailed so universally all about them. The Church, today, feels that it is on the horns of a dilemma, because so many divorcees are coming to her for help and encouragement. Shall she accommodate the Scriptures to the apparent need of the unfortunate divorcees, or shall she uphold the Biblical standard of the indissolubility of marriage for any cause while faithfully discharging her duty to such distressed individuals? Every church of today which considers the lowering of its divorce standards should remember that the early Church stood true to the Biblical doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage in a world that was pagan and strongly opposed to the moral and marriage standards of the New Testament.
Not only did the Church maintain her stand on the indissolubility in the early centuries, she changed the attitude and standards of the whole world toward it. Even today the whole Church of Christ and the entire western world is still reaping the rich benefits of that heritage.….“There were other grievous social evils in the early Christian centuries. Slavery enveloped the Roman Empire of that age, yet the Christians did not set themselves to change the thinking of the masses against it, but they did set themselves to change the thinking of the masses toward marriage and divorce. Why did they not attack slavery with the same vehemence? The reason was that the Apostles had not received a “thus saith the Lord” from Christ respecting it. They had, however, received such in the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. No sect or school of philosophy is known to have influenced the early Church in this teaching. From whence, then, did she get the teaching? Certainly she received it from the teaching of the Gospels and from the teaching of the Apostles, who had earlier conveyed the same orally (as well as in writing) to the leaders of the early Church who succeeded them.”
Rev. Milton T. Wells, “Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage?” (1957), Chapter VIII.
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