Same Doctrine, Same Denomination, Far Different Spirit

by Standerinfamilycourt

Our last blog gathered and critiqued in its entirety the overall-excellent autumn 2013 video series by David Sproule of the Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ.     This more recent series, although it agrees doctrinally with the other series, is a good example of the need to exercise our spiritual gifts in these last days, especially the discerning of spirits.    (Indeed, in this first video, this Canadian pastor claims that all spiritual gifts passed away as a result of the scripture manuscripts being completed, as if the Lord would not have forseen an even greater need for the power of the Holy Spirit in the prophesied “days of Noah”, when persecutions of true Christ followers would multiply far beyond anything the Church ever faced in her first centuries, and the escalating theft of the purity of God’s word would also occur in our times, with the bible actually ending on that note.)

The purpose of this blog is to remind us all of the need to emulate Jesus in treating individuals individually, when the temptation to stereotype is almost insurmountable.    Nicodemus, Caiaphas, and Joseph of Arimathea were all Pharisees, an obnoxious, self-righteous bunch who were clearly out to get Jesus.    He could have treated Nicodemus and Joseph as indistinct members of that group, guilt-by-association, if you will.   Instead, He chose to listen to and speak to their hearts.   The covenant marriage stander community receives many opportunities from the Lord to interact with public voices of varying prominence and diverse doctrines.   We must do the same with individual discernment if we want to effectively challenge people to seek the undiluted biblical truth.   If we fail in this, we act in the flesh rather than the Spirit, and we wind up being far more heat than light, far more noise than persuasion.

SIFC posts two 8 -10 minute audios dated November, 2015 by an unnamed pastor* of the East End Church of Christ in Toronto, Ontario.    We do so with heavy disclaimer, noting that this speaker, unlike Brother Sproule, clearly lacks the intellectual curiosity and intellectual integrity in his arguments (off-topic, ignoring context, etc.), and  even worse, the sense of the fear of God seems absent that ought to be present whenever publicly discussing a heaven-or-hell topic.

(*according to the church website, they have only one “evangelist” [preacher],  Jeremy Diestelkamp who is described on the site as being the son of the former “evangelist”, and a substitute school teacher prior to taking up the church role.)

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC NOTE:  Our comments are not intended to be a disparagement of the Church of Christ per se.    In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, Jesus had a little something individual to say to  each of the seven churches, again, discerning the spirit of each.    Anyone who follows this blog is aware that SIFC  vigorously disagrees with the current marriage doctrine and practice of her own church, but agrees with the former doctrine as it had been established for 60+ years from inception until in 1973, the leadership under pressure from a group of pastors voted to drastically revise it and publish a “position paper” — to “clarify” existing practice, assuring us that nothing was fundamentally changing despite the new permission granted to perform adulterous weddings and grant pulpits to pastors in adulterous remarriages – but I digress.    Our comments are always intended to be a challenge to be unrelenting in moving toward (or back toward, as the case may be),  undiluted biblical truth.    In other words, to become those churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, toward whom the Lord had only commendations.   He was addressing locations under specific shepherds, let’s not forget, and not denominations.

Part 1, Searching the Scriptures, What Does “Except for Fornication” Mean?  –  November 2, 2015

(Speaker was addressing a question from a commenter to his site:
“Does someone in an adulterous marriage have to divorce?”)

“No opinion, just bible“, the speaker insists, as if we are to take the scriptural text, as translated, at face value.   That is equivalent to saying “we’re not interested in applying the harsh fluorescent light of hermeneutic principles or analysis to our dogma.”     Bible version?    He doesn’t tell us, but since the word “fornication” (rather than generic, interchangeable “sexual immorality”) has been translated into a few of the contemporary English versions that were derived from the faulty Westcott & Hort Greek translations, and his supporting arguments go far off into left field in Part 1, we’re not at too much of a disadvantage not knowing.    But, did this expositor actually answer the person’s question by the end of these two audio files?  Indeed, did he even perceive correctly what the question actually was?

Part 2, Searching the Scriptures, What Does “Except for Fornication” Mean?  –  November 2, 2015

(Speaker was continuing to address a question from a commenter to his site:
“Does someone in an adulterous marriage have to divorce?”)

To “detox” from the from the shallow and misguided definition of fornication found in this audio, we recommend the scholarly research by  Rev. Dan Jennings, Except for Fornication“,  and by Sharon Henry, Jewish Marriage, Biblical Divorce and Remarriage” (both also available in paperback book form).   We also remind that the definition of the Greek “porneia” (fornication) only address one law of hermeneutics (Content) out of at least five essential laws, the remainder of which include Context, Culture (History), Comparison, and Consultation, not addressed in either of these two audios.    Once these are honestly and carefully applied, it matters very little whether “porneia” includes adultery.   It becomes very clear to the honest scholar that Jesus was not using porneia in the context that this expositor wishes.

This speaker goes on to declare that “we must not put limits on people that ‘God didn’t require’, and we must not call ‘sin’ anything He didn’t call sin.”   He says this without even showing nominal awareness of the supernatural joining of the one-flesh state, nor of God’s role in the covenant vows of the marriage of our youth (unlike David Sproule, same denomination).  Given the heaven-or-hell nature of getting this matter wrong, there should be clarity beyond any reasonable doubt from the evidence that is abundantly available and cost-free, even online.    Even an erroneously-divorced second marriage to reconcile with an adulterous  true spouse is far less of a costly gamble than an eternity in hell.   You cannot go to hell for using a purely man-made device to undo the ill effects of wrongly availing of that same man-made device!   As a practical matter, nobody makes that kind of a life-correction without being led and overwhelmingly convicted by the Holy Spirit, and we daresay, without extensive research of their own until firmly convinced.    It is far more common for most to take their comfort from what a man says, and abort any further investigation of their own.    Every covenant stander prays fervently that the Holy Spirit will intervene and keep their dazed, deceived prodigal far away from such men!

All that said, there’s something very odd about his perception of the question being asked, given that he says up front that the inquirer presented him with some of the missing hermeneutical “C”‘s (which he proceeds to dismiss– with little or no valid support).     This strongly implies that his question was from a person in a second “marriage” of the sort that Jesus explicitly defined as adultery on three separate occasions –  Matt. 5:32(b), Matt. 19:9(b) and Luke 16:18, where He addresses the third party who would presume to marry someone’s one-flesh spouse after man’s divorce.    He proceeds instead to answer the very different question,
“If my spouse is committing adultery, must I divorce them?”

He does this after expending tremendous energy convincing us of the utmost importance of the definition of fornication, which is in reality completely irrelevant to the question he perceives to answer, and only nominally relevant to the question that is apparently being asked.    This, folks, is mindlessly parroting denominational dogma without personal examination, and it’s shepherdly cowardice.  Contrast this with Brother Sproule who very forthrightly addressed the correct question in videos 8 and 9 of his series, and did so with a significant level of biblical integrity, even though he would agree with an “exception” (wrong in our view) for the so-called “innocent party” or “non-fornicating spouse”, as he puts it.   (We would argue that married folk who are still one-flesh with someone by irreversible act of God never “fornicate” – they commit adultery.)

We wrap up with this simple question for both of our Christ of Christ “evangelists”:

Does it make sense to you that the One who told us [Matt. 5:38-39],  “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also”….

….would explicitly and repeatedly define adultery as marrying the one-flesh covenant spouse of another person, then proceed to “allow” the ongoing state of further adultery as the remedy for an act or season of adultery?

We think not!

Praise be to God that He is being merciful and bringing some men of God to the restored truth in this area, as well as emptying them of their fear of men, compelling them to speak out in power and forcefulness!    For a time, even the best of them will bring some Erasmean, Lutheran or Calvinist denominational biases with them, sometimes even at the cost of contradicting key points in their own message, by the time they come to the wrap-up.     In the most forceful rebuke we’ve yet to encounter of “exception clauses” and of pastors who perform weddings over people who have a living, estranged spouse, this Baptist pastor nevertheless tries to reconcile at the end with the false doctrine of “once saved, always saved”,  and implies that marriages Jesus called adulterous can be “confessed” and “repented” without actually severing them.    Just as the Lord has called standers of many denominations  into fellowship with one another, and into a better understanding of God’s word, may He build cross-denominational fellowship with His remnant of true shepherds, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

Is the Tide Turning in God’s House? One Courageous Shepherd

by Standerinfamilycourt

Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.   For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.   Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.   Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.     Ezekiel 36

 

And have mercy on some, who are doubting;  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.    Jude 1

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC Note:  [Late edits have been made to this piece due to the kind advice from a stander who is a Church of Christ member, that ministers in this denomination do not approve of being addressed by a title, such as Reverend.   This was done quite inadvertently, with no offense intended.    Our sincere apologies to David Sproule. ]

 

In the fall of 2013, a pastor in a very large Florida church did something unheard of in our age that put a huge smile on the face of the Master.   To the very best of his knowledge and comprehension, he stood up for 10 weeks and preached a 97% accurate series on covenant marriage, civil-only divorce and civil-only “remarriage”.    He did so with so much uncommon depth of biblical understanding that it could only have been done in the power of the Holy Spirit, and with so much fearlessness that it’s hard to watch the videos that follow without being reminded of the oratories of Peter or Paul or Stephen.   This shepherd clearly fears God and labors to snatch real souls from the hell-flames.   If our nation is to survive as divinely founded, we need every pastor who calls himself by the name of Jesus Christ to emulate this man!

To be sure, there are other pastors stepping up to the plate to try and shore up “the culture of marriage” in the wake of the horrifying Obergefell ruling last June, and a handful of them are beginning to do so with some degree of introspection because they are beginning to see the “handwriting on the wall” (so to speak).     However, the worst of these are urging adulterously-remarried couples to “remain faithful to your current marriage”,  which is contrary to the word of God which says they are living in ongoing adultery, as specifically defined on three separate occasions by Jesus Himself.    Many are preaching a 90% accurate sermon, but covering their tails by saying something at the end that effectively negates what they’ve just preached, and are stopping short of urging the only action that will help such spouses recover their inheritance in the kingdom of God.   Most likely, the majority of them continue to solemnize weddings that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous.   No wuss, this pastor sees the message all the way through to its moral and logical conclusion.

Why do we say David Sproule of the Palm Beach Lake Church of Christ is preaching only a 97% accurate call to action?  
This is an excellent question.     Brother Sproule repeatedly refers to Jesus making an “exception”  in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 which he asserts was Jesus’  “permission” for a believer to initiate a divorce (1 Cor. 6:1-8 notwithstanding ) and to remarry if their covenant spouse has committed “sexual immorality”.

At the time Brother Sproule delivered these teachings, he was presumably unaware that his contemporary English bible translation (he tells us he’s reading from the New King James Version) had been tampered with by the manuscript selection / bible translation team led by Brooke Westcott and Fenton Hort  who in the 1880’s altered the translation of the Greek word porneia from its traditional rendering of “prostitution or whoredom” to “fornication”,  then successors changed it to the far more interchangeable “sexual immorality”.     Throughout the series, in a false argument that the innocent spouse may remarry,  he has used the word “fornication” interchangeably with “adultery”,  perhaps not considering scholarly evidence that these two separate sins were not at all used interchangeably by Jesus in those verses, nor several others.   Brother Sproule has also frequently interjected “sexual immorality” in the remarriage discussion without recognizing the key point that Jesus was specifically referring to in both of the Matthew passages, that is,  undisclosed premarital immorality while a legally binding bride-purchase agreement, predicated on the bride’s virginity, was in force – the betrothal ketubah.    We are in the process of writing to Brother Sproule to commend him and to send him an excellent book by Rev. Daniel Jennings,  “Except For Fornication“.   Please pray that it is received with favor and direction of the Holy Spirit.

FB profile 7xtjwAn excerpt from our letter where we write to commend Brother Sproule for his series:

Here’s where we feel you are very much on target with your teaching in a way that is truly rare, courageous and biblically-faithful:

  1. Crucially, you recognize and publicly acknowledge that there is a unique one-flesh joining that is supernatural and accomplished by God that is never an element of adulterous remarriage.
  2. You are unequivocally clear that only God can unjoin what He was joined, but the only act of men that does this is death.    
  3. You further recognize that God remains in covenant with that one-flesh entity He joined, even when a mountain of man’s civil paper says otherwise.   (You are, therefore, more truthful than Dr. John MacArthur).
  4. You deal faithfully with Greek verb tenses in a way that some national ministry leaders who certainly have the education to do likewise can’t seem to muster the courage to do. (You are more accountable than Drs. Voddie Baucham and Russell Moore).

5. To the best of your own knowledge and awareness, you seem to also be very faithful with word translation, and rightly dividing some passages of scripture that most others abuse.

6. You capably debunk the notion that baptism washes away inconvenient marriage covenants. (You are more accountable than Dr. James Dobson and host of other international voices).

7. You are honest about the heaven-or-hell issue involved, and that 1 Cor. 6:9-10 applies to respectable, church-going people whose pastor presided over their second or third wedding.

8. You are forceful instead of wishy-washy in urging people to act on the biblical truth and exit their immoral unions, even when there are children, as if real souls and eternal destinations ARE indeed at stake. (You are more concerned about those souls than Dr. John Piper and most of the stander community’s own pastors.)

9. You refrain from the cowardly and intellectually lazy device of covering the story of the Samaritan woman at the well with unsupported inferences.   (You are, therefore, more truthful than Drs. Russell Moore and Robert A. G. Gagnon.)

10. You have quite capably recognized and called out, in an easy-to-understand fashion, several of the more pernicious heresies out there in evangelicaldom (some of which, sadly, appear in my denomination’s 1973 position paper, a cowardly document written in the wake of unilateral divorce enactment, given 60 years of sound prior doctrine that it drastically revised)….

 

We herewith bring you the entire series, to the extent we could round it up from Youtube.     We give a couple of brief highlights or caveats for each video.    Most of the videos are 40-45 minutes long, but with minimal overlap, and each one very much worth the time investment to listen.

 

Introductory Matters on Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage – September 16, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC’s Observations:
(+)  
Rightly gives context to the future of our nation depends on obeying God’s marriage law
(+)  Points out that the believers’ choice to obey or not obey affects our relationship with God, and is a matter of salvation.
(+)  Despite the 21 different views MDR, only God’s commandment matters
(+)  Diplomatically acknowledges the sensitivity of the topic without pandering or back-pedaling
( + )  
Our love for God must supercede our love for everyone else.
( + )  Puts forward the true view of repentance
( + )  Exposes the wrongful invoking of God’s love, mercy and grace while in a sinful relationship and unrepentant state
( + )  Cautions about emotions overriding obedience; refers to Ezra purge of unlawful marriages

 

God’s OVER-view of Marriage and Divorce – September 16, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  God is the only One with authority to regulate marriage
(+)  Civil law never supercedes God’s law
(+)  Emphasizes “1 + 1 = 1”  (but see below*)
(+)  Points out one of the purposes is to help each other make it to heaven
(+)  
Astutely quips that if Rom. 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39 were taken seriously    it would be considered “hate speech” in our culture
( – ) Erroneously claims a “divorced” victim of adultery may remarry            
( – ) Erroneously implies a civil marriage license is necessary in God’s eyes
( – )  *Erroneously implies that human action is necessary to create the
one-flesh state,  rather than God’s supernatural, instantaneous act.

Special encouragement to standers at approximately 28:00, where a permanent marker analogy applies to man-made “permanence” – it does eventually dissipate despite early resistance, but it’s God’s participation in true covenant matrimony that creates the actual permanence; His lack of participation that dooms permanence in the church-sanctioned counterfeit.

 

Matthew 19 in God’s Original Plan – September 17, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Provides insightful context to Matthew 19
(+)  Discusses John the Baptist’s martyrdom for rebuking remarriage adultery and does not wimp out by claiming the problem was “incest”
(+) Unequivocally states that God did not design or provide for marriage dissolution while spouses are alive
(+)  Calls out the imperative tense in Matt. 19:6 “let not man separate”
( – ) 
 Equated “uncleanness” in Deut. 24 with adultery – no support offered
( – ) Erroneously claims a “divorced” victim of adultery may remarry                   
( – )  Erroneously implies a civil marriage license is necessary as a godly citizen (when that license does not reflect God’s law in any aspect)

The Authority and Amenability of Matthew 19:9   – Oct 23, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Points out that God’s marriage law applies regardless of spiritual condition of either spouse at the time of vows
(+) Appropriately emphasizes Christ’s authority to override Moses
(+) Points out that Christ had a role in the Creation – He was there
( – ) Claims Matthew 19:9 as the “core” of Christ’s teaching on divorce and remarriage, instead of the same-occasion, no-exception, mixed-gender passage in Mark 10
( – )  Erroneously repeats that  a divorced victim of adultery may remarry
( – )  Appears to be unaware of the relevance of Hebrew betrothal to correctly interpreting Matthew 5:32 and 19:9

 


Adultery and Jesus’ One ExceptionOct 21, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Points out that there was no gender difference in the way Jesus applied his teaching
(+)  Addresses annulment as unbiblical and beyond men’s authority
(+) Calls out that the Church doesn’t join or regulate marriage; God does
(+)  Points out that God does not join ineligible marriages
(+)  Debunks (instead of appealing to) the Samaritan woman encounter
(+) Calls out the present tense usage in the Mark 6 account of Herod’s remarriage adultery – “nothing Herod could do to ever lawfully have Herodias”
(+) Calls out other pastors who rationalize keeping adulterous marriages intact based on “loopholes”
( – )  Misstated Matthew 19:9 as the “core” of Christ’s teaching on divorce and remarriage, instead of the same-occasion passage in Mark 10
( – )  Repeats (wrongly) that  a “divorced” victim of adultery may remarry            
( – )  Discussion of “adultery redefinition” discussion seems more complicated in this video than strictly necessary
( – ) Skips discussion of Matthew 19:12 while arriving at a position equivalent to Shammai.   Agreeing with one of the two false choices presented by the Pharisees would cause the disciples’ extreme reaction?  This would lead into a discussion about becoming a eunuch?

 

The Put-Away Fornicator May Not Remarry –  November 18, 2013
FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Refers to the full content Matthew 19:9 including the commonly-omitted prohibition on marrying a divorced person
(+) Calls out the false justifications for remarriage by the adulterous party
( – ) Fails to discern the “slippery slope” of claiming one party is “released” from the marriage bond while the other is not 
( – ) 
 Inappropriately conflates fornication with adultery
( – )  Reads from NKJV, inserting “sexual immorality” for the more accurate, specific translation of porneia  as a premarital sin as Jesus stated it
( – ) Erroneously repeats that a “divorced” victim of adultery may remarry
( – )   Inappropriately limits Christ’s  absolute prohibition against marrying any divorced person to marrying the “fornicator” so divorced 
( – )  Relies on an inappropriate inference, which the Greek sentence structure and article usage in Matthew 19:9 does not support
( – )  Neglects to reconcile this theory to Luke 16:18, the exceptionless third occasion where Jesus prohibits everyone  from marrying any divorced person.    

(Presumably, for the widowed  “put-away fornicator”, it is better to remarry than burn !)

 

 


The Deserted Believer May Not Remarry – November 18, 2013

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Debunks 1 Cor. 7:15 unequivocally and very effectively. 
(+) Debunks the related heresy that Christ’s marriage commandments only apply to believers.
(+) Accurately traces Church history back to the 4th century and Catholic apostasy.
(+)  Accurate care made to the different audiences for the various instructions in 1 Corinthians 7
(+)  Calls out that every part of 1 Corinthians7 is equally inspired
(+)  Calls out that Greek choridzo (depart) is not equivalent to apoluo (put away), and that divorce and remarriage are out of context
(+) Calls out that “not under bondage” means not required to choose allegiance to spouse over allegiance to God

 

Adulterous Marriages Are Sinful and Must Be Severed – November 18, 2013

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Acknowledges the emotions that conflict with God’s law, and the need to set aside own prejudices
(+) Calls out the false doctrines that have been raised up in the church
(+)  Refutes the heresy that salvation and baptism dissolve pre-salvation covenants or that God’s law does not apply to non-Christians
(+)  Debunks the abuse of 1 Cor. 7:20 and 1 Cor. 7:14 to justify staying in legalized adultery 
(+)  
Debunks the idea that repentance from a state of adultery is satisfied by confession without requiring severing and termination of the relationship
(+)  Affirms that God’s word does not contradict itself
(+)  Calls out that elders / shepherds are responsible for the souls of their members
( – ) Refers (wrongly) to “one exception” that permits divorce and remarriage – discussed in a previous video.

 

Adulterous Marriages Are Sinful and Must Be Severed (Part 2) – November 25, 2013

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC’s Observations:

(+)  Points out that we will be judged according to God’s word alone, not what a church, pastor, friends or others teach or practice
(+) Revisits in-depth the heresy that baptism washes away prior marriages and “sanctifies” the existing adulterous relationship
(+) Clarifies that baptism forgives repented (discontinued) sins
(+) Correctly points out the Matt.19:9 present-tense verb that makes the definition of adultery an ongoing state of sin
(+) Correctly emphasizes God-joining, only in a righteous marriage
(+) Truthful definition of repentance, contrasting with false repentance
(+) 
Courageously relates the story of the purging of illicit marriages (with children) in the book of Ezra, elevating God’s instructions above emotional arguments
( – ) Refers (wrongly) to “one exception” that permits divorce and remarriage – discussed in a previous video
( – )  Omits discussion of Hebrew betrothal’s connection with the Matthean exception

FB profile 7xtjw  Concluding remarks:    In the book of Ezra, chapters 9 and 10, the priests of Israel were amazingly quick to agree with the Spirit-anointed, bookish prophet of God even though he told them they must saw off the immoral branches of their own families in order to recover the sovereignty of their nation after decades of exile.   Deep-down they knew they had willfully and knowingly violated God’s clear commandment, and the fact that there were children involved wasn’t going to deter God’s directive to purify their community and to purge the immorality from their midst.    In many cases, this was polygamy that competed with an existing God-joined covenant marriage between two Jewish spouses whose marriage remained intact and blessed.   The separation and severance did not happen without provision for those separated concubines and their children, nor did it happen without a solid plan.

In the same fashion,  separating and civilly-divorcing out of a subsequent non-covenant marriage (undertaken while a covenant spouse remains alive) must be led by the Holy Spirit and motivated by an authentic desire to put nothing ahead of our relationship with the Holy One.   The plan of severing must treat the children and severed spouse as we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.    It must encourage the severed spouse to make changes in their own life, such as seeking reconciliation with their own covenant spouse, that will recover or attain their inheritance in the kingdom of God, and it must be undertaken with firm finality.   (There are many “standers” who are currently standing for restoration of an adulterous remarriage who are hostile to the idea of reconciling with their true spouse for various reasons).

A few of those in an adulterous remarriage now have covenant spouses who are deceased.   The death of that true spouse does not instantly transform an immoral union into holy matrimony without taking a few deliberate steps of repentance.   Is there a living, estranged covenant spouse on the other side of the union?   If so, the adultery continues and your remarriage needs to be terminated.
If not, a season of separation is still a good idea to get alone with God and purge the idolatry that originally motivated entry into the non-covenant union.   If and only if Jesus is our first love are we ever qualified to take a spouse.     Are there estranged relations with covenant children, and / or are they also living in a state of immorality due to emulating your example?    Fix those relations while separated and celibate – confess your wrong choice to them and seek to make restitution to them as best you can.
Will you be unequally yoked if you attempt to undertake holy matrimony?   Under those conditions, you will be renewing a relationship with idolatry if you do.   If and when you are in a place where it makes sense for the whole of your family,  and you can do so with a clear conscience before God, take new covenant vows before godly witnesses and pastor so that the supernatural one-flesh joining that was precluded from occurring in the adulterous prior vows can now occur by God’s hand, and His irrevocable covenant will attach, transforming the union into holy matrimony if there are no remaining impediments.

“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

 

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

Mary and Joseph: Why Protestant Theologians Downplay Their Betrothal

MaryAndJosephby Standerinfamilycourt

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.    And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.   But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”…… And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,  but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son…    Matthew 1:18-24

 

They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
John 8:41

Even before the time God met with the Israelites on the mountain in the wilderness, gave them the Ten Commandments and told them they would be His people and He would be their God (effectively vowing an indissoluble wedded state on an unconditional basis),  we see the analogy of indissoluble holy matrimony woven through virtually every book of the bible from Genesis to Revelation, with some particularly powerful examples, such as the books of Hosea, Malachi and Ezra.   Arguably,  holy matrimony is the first and holiest symbol He has chosen for His purpose and plan for human families in His creation.   We see also throughout scripture how jealous God Most High is of His chosen symbols.   Woe to anyone who would mock and trample them in Old Testament times, how much more so after the Bridegroom has laid down His life for His bride and solemnly promised to return for her!  

[….Promised to return for her…]    At  some point, perhaps just a few months prior to her conception by the Holy Spirit, Joseph paid a bride price for Mary as part of the traditional Hebrew kiddushin, the engagement ceremony that resulted in a legally-binding contract to marry a year or so in the future, called a ketubah.    Just as Jesus had recited these words to his disciples at the last supper, Joseph had ceremoniously recited them to his Mary:

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.   If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”     John 14:2-3

Joseph was going about his business preparing a place for Mary when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy and before he was visited by the angel.    At that point, the law uniquely regarded Mary as his wife, even though the marriage was not yet consummated.   Had Joseph died before returning for Mary, she would have all the rights in Joseph’s family prescribed by the Law of Moses that a consummated wife would have.    Had the Romans continued to permit the Jews to carry out capital punishment by stoning, he could have exercised those consequences for her pregnancy, but in the years since that option was withdrawn, a legal document called a “get” or a writ of divorcement was required to dissolve the ketubah, and free him to seek another wife, but only up to and including the wedding night.   However, as stoning became unavailable, the remedy for “some uncleanness” found in Deuteronomy 24 was expanded by the rabbis in the centuries between Moses and Ezra or Malachi to unilaterally dispose of betrothed wives such as Mary, as well as wives of long standing.   An ugly example was thereby established that would prove troublesome sixteen centuries later.

Even with the most biblically-faithful exegesis of God’s marriage laws, rarely is this important piece of context mentioned or discussed in Protestant churches, despite the heavy emphasis Jesus gave it while instituting the sacrament of holy communion.    But why not?   When members of the community of covenant marriage standers engage online with various theologians concerning divorce and remarriage based on the culture and context of Hebrew betrothal in understanding Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32, most become uncomfortable and dismissive, as if an annoyingly irrelevant point has been interjected into the “scholarly” discussion.    Why?

Many of the writings of Protestant Reformers indicated that they chafed at the idea of divorce and remarriage not being a readily available option in the church of their day.    Annulments (extremely rare and costly, though they never should have existed at all in defiance of  Matthew 19:6 and Exodus 20:16),  had only been conceived of and available for about 300 years at that point, and marriage, God’s holiest symbol, was quite reasonably considered a sacrament otherwise, since holy communion was.    The Reformers were recoiling at two basic circumstances: one supremely legitimate as laid down by Jesus, and the other a legalism later contrived by misguided clerics of the 3th and 4th centuries in response to the waves of sexual immorality attacking the church in the form of Gnosticism and similar cults.

Jesus said all of the following:   (a) anyone who marries a divorced person commits ongoing adultery, (b) anyone who divorces a consummated wife causes her to commit ongoing adultery, and (c) anyone who marries another after divorcing their spouse commits ongoing adultery.   (In other words, holy matrimony is unconditionally indissoluble by men, echoing what He said in Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9).

Ascetic clerics such as Tertulian, Origen and Jerome went beyond what Jesus said, and started to teach that celibacy was holier than God’s most sacred symbol.   They further argued that sacramental treatment of marriage was essential to cover the  resulting “sin” of the marital act, and that married couples should refrain from sexual intimacy except to procreate (thereby contradicting Paul in 1 Cor. 7:3-5,  while over-emphasizing verse 1…”it is good for a man not to touch a woman. “)   One source attributes to Origen (185-254) the strange assertion that during marital sexual intercourse, the indwelling Holy Spirit departs the bodily temples of the spouses.
Even during an act of adultery or sodomy or pornographic activity, scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Person who is grieved or quenched, but not that He departs a regenerated person’s body.
(Of course, the Holy Spirit is never present during any activity of an unregenerated person who has never surrendered to Christ’s lordship.)

The historian Eusebius also reported that Origen castrated himself in order to embody Matthew 19:12, apparently misconstruing what Jesus said (and Paul echoed in 1 Corinthians 7:11) about remaining celibate if deserted or divorced by a one-flesh spouse.    This self-castration account was widely believed during the Middle Ages, and no doubt also influenced the Reformers to ignore the powerful witness intended by Jesus, reducing it to just another “legalism”.
 
Satan has, from that bite of the apple in the Garden of Eden, constantly attacked the indissolubility and stability of God’s holy ordinance from multiple directions while stirring up the humanistic rebellion of men against it.   Erasmus, at the turn of the 16th century wrote of the “harshness” of Christ’s commandment, in his estimation (though this is far from the worst of Erasmus’ direct contradictions of both Jesus and Paul):

Eulalia:   Let your Husband be as bad as bad can be, think upon this, That there is no changing.   Heretofore, indeed,  Divorce was a Remedy for irreconcilable Disagreements, but now this is entirely taken away: He must be your Husband and you his Wife to the very last Day of Life.

Xantippe:  The Gods did very wrong that depriv’d us of this Privilege.

Eulalia:  Have a Care what you say.    It was the Will of Christ.

Xantippe:  I can scarce believe it.

(The Uneasy Wife). Nathan Bailey & E. Johnson. The Colloquies of Erasmus, Vol. 1 (London: Reeves and Turner, 1878)

Under Erasmus’ heavy influence, Martin Luther wrote:

“What is the proper procedure for us nowadays in matters of marriage and divorce?   I have said that this should be left to the lawyers and made subject to the secular government. For marriage is a rather secular and outward thing, having to do with wife and children, house and home, and with other matters that belong to the realm of the government, all of which have been completely subjected to reason (Gen. 1:28). Therefore we should not tamper with what the government and wise men decide and prescribe with regard to these questions on the basis of the laws and of reason.”

Luther, Martin: Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan (Hrsg); Oswald, Hilton C. (Hrsg.) ; Lehmann, Helmut T. (Hrsg.): Luther’s Works, Vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1956 (Luther’s Works 21, S. 21:93

Apparently, in the Age of Reason, neither God’s wisdom nor Paul’s ( 1 Corinthian 6:1-8) were “reasonable” enough any longer.   In summary, the fabrication of “biblical grounds” that purportedly removed the eternal consequences from this state of sin Jesus defined three separate times as adultery, was an opportunistic overreaction to Catholic legalism (including the spurious indulgence of marriage annulment) and to asceticism including the extra-scriptural preference for celibacy over holy matrimony.   After all, if the Popes were “all wet” with regard to issues of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, then who was to say they were also infallibly correct on the indissolubility of covenant marriage?    In an age where few had their own access to the scriptures or books on the history of the Church as yet, it was the perfect opportunity to shed the fear of God that restricted sexual options.     But, you ask, what does all this have to do with Joseph and Mary’s  Jewish betrothal?

Embrace of the Hebrew betrothal custom as part of the overall symbolism and analogy of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church presents all of the following threats to the more indefensible elements of Reformation theology, and (more specifically) to key documents arising therefrom– such as the Westminster Confession of Faith:

(1) It presents a far more hermeneutically-sound explanation and interpretation of the “exception clause”, which appears exclusively in the gospel of Matthew, than does any merely implied exception for post-wedding adultery. 

(2) It reinforces that the Matthean “exception” was limited to a very narrow premarital provision that became totally irrelevant under the New Covenant ushered in by Jesus.

(3) It causes all of the other marriage scriptures in the Old and New Testaments to perfectly align around God’s having made  no provision whatsoever for either divorce or remarriage against the spouse of our youth, and it reinforces the eternal consequences for disobeying – see point (6).

(4) It would compel countless pastors and denominations to admit they have been presiding for nearly 50 years over false weddings, and most mainline denominations to admit this has been the case for some 500 years.

(5) Their nephew is a practicing attorney (just kidding!)

(6) It directly challenges the dogma “once saved, always saved”.
Regarding our initial justification as a legally-binding betrothal that can still be broken by us, provocatively calls into question the Calvinist doctrine commonly referred to today as “hypergrace”.   Once all of the other scriptures about not being ready for Christ’s return, and about falling away due to a hardened heart are integrated, dealing with such matters as the Rapture of the Church takes on a much more serious tone.   This harmful “OSAS” doctrine asserts that our sins have no eternal consequences, even if there is not physical repentance, so long as we “confess” and “repent in our hearts” of the things Jesus and Paul both said would send us to hell.   According to the revisionists, this is attempting to “earn” our salvation, as though the “full price” hadn’t been paid by Christ.    (If this is truly the case, then three of the gospels and all the epistles are seven times more wordy and verbose than was strictly necessary.)

Not only is the Jewish betrothal spurned by all but a few modern theologians in discussions of divorce and remarriage,  pastors go to great lengths not to even mention it in sermons dealing specifically with divorce and remarriage.    Hence, you might hear about it during the “safe zone” of Christmas services, but only as an interesting (but disembodied) curiosity of bible times.

I will betroth you to Me [pay  a  bride price for you]  forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,  And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord.       Hosea 2:19-20

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
2 Corinthians 11:2 

 

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com
 

 

 

 

Jesus was a Libran (Not a Capricorn)…But He Did Eat Organic Food

12299221_10153487499221645_8196301818129518010_nby Standerinfamilycourt

Jesus was a Capricorn
He ate organic food
He believed in love and peace
And never wore no shoes

Long hair, beard and sandals
And a funky bunch of friends
Reckon we’d just nail him up
If he came down again

‘Cause everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on
Who they can feel better than at any time they please…..

– Kris Kristofferson, circa 1970

 

So goes the ballad from the heady days when we were all assured that “you can’t legislate morality” (and before the days when we found out that legislating immorality is no problem at all, once this fallacy had been fully embraced by those in civil and ecclesiastical power).

This blog, despite appearances, will not be a rant against paganism in the  yuletide traditions of Western culture.    There are few aspects of New Testament history where paganism doesn’t pervasively intertwine.    This will be more of an urgent plea to the marriage permanence community to “keep our powder dry”,  in order to assure that our more urgent message is heard by this culture.    We must choose our battles wisely and with eternity in firm focus, Standers.    The time seems to be growing short.

It is true that the actual birth date of Jesus is far more likely to have been late September rather than late December.    We find this by the account of the conception and birth of cousin John the Baptist, whom scripture tells us was 6 months older than the Son of God (see Luke 1) .    We also surmise it by the fact that shepherds would not have had their sheep out overnight in the fields at that December time of year (Luke 2:8-14) .    It is also true that some of the things said by the Hebrew prophets concerning Asherah poles, and the like (Jeremiah 7:18, Jeremiah 10:2-4)  find a valid enough analogy in the Christmas tree, for a reverent Christ-follower to learn about the pagan history of various traditions, to gain strong insights into how the more serious heresies took root in the Church in similar fashion, and to seek the Lord’s face on how to best honor His birthday, which most likely came in the month of Tishrei (in which both Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and Rosh Hashanah occur), rather than Tevet, the month in which Hanukkah falls.
(Those who instead believe Jesus was born in early March are interpreting the reference to “the sixth month”, concerning the timing of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth in Luke 1, not as the sixth month of that pregnancy, but as the sixth month of the modern Julian calendar.  For more information on the Hebrew months of the year, click here.)

 

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Legalism over holiday-tainting seems to be one of the 4 or 5 “wedge issues” dividing and distracting the marriage permanence community, as though celebrating Halloween, Christmas and Easter were transgressions of equal magnitude as those on the 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 lists (though some would be quick to call having a Christmas tree idolatry), and as though a spirit-filled believer, suddenly dying while in the act of committing one of these celebrations, is going to be ushered into hell.   Some current-day Judaizers would go so far as to say that Christ-followers should be celebrating Hanukkah and Passover instead of Christmas and Easter.    SIFC says, “why choose?”   Why not be free to enjoy the richness of all of them?

St. Augustine of Hippo said,

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Prior to that,  St.  Paul of Tarsus said of an idolatry-tainting issue in his day in the Corinthian church:

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.    All things are lawful, but not all things edify.   Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.   Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake;  for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.   If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.  But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake;  I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.    Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;  just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
1 Cor. 10:23-33

As the early church grew into the European regions they found the native / pagan holidays had evolved around the agrarian cycle with its busy fall harvest time, followed by the means  (in both time and food availability) to celebrate.   Winter was also longer and darker there than in the Middle East, so winter festivals were also a time of lifting people’s spirits.    It is questionable whether Jesus’ actual birthday could have been celebrated during the height of the harvest season in many of those countries.   Making the most of the available time and conditions to harvest was a matter of survival in those days.    Is this so dissimilar to the run-in with the Pharisees, when the Lord’s disciples were gleaning grain on the Sabbath?

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.  But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”  But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions,  how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?   “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?   “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.   “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
Matthew 12:1-7

Yes, it’s true that many of the symbols that became associated with Christmas traditions in Europe had pagan origins, since that was the tradition those pagans had converted in.    See this short video for a very balanced and informative look at this.    On balance, I find it not that unreasonable that from the time of Emperor Constantine, early church evangelism started wrapping biblical teaching around what its pagan proselytes knew best, so long as Christ’s essential commandments weren’t compromised.    Jesus used object lessons in the same way, for sure, and the Apostles likewise saw the need to agree on essentials for the earliest Gentile converts, in order to avoid the legalism of trying to Judaize them, so that the greater work  of discipleship, and of advancing the kingdom of God weren’t hindered.    By comparison, it was a far more serious matter that Constantine’s court started undermining the commandment of Christ that no man has authority to dissolve the marriage covenant joined by God Most High.

December 25 seems to coincidentally be the observed birthday of quite a few pseudo-deities.   (Disclaimer:  SIFC has not verified any of these.)

12347760_1237665472915500_1012862929238615774_n

These observations are not being written to slam anyone who feels convicted in this area, but only to stimulate a little more thought about kingdom priorities.   Covenant marriage standers certainly would have a tendency to be drawn to these ideas, absent any other input.    After all, year after year, many of us suffer through the holiday season having to put up with the miserable fact that our one-flesh is celebrating with the counterfeit who is doing their best to escort them to hell.   There typically isn’t much money for gifts, travel, party invites, or ability to accept the ones that come, for many who stand praying for the repentance of their prodigal.    The joke’s on the adulterers, isn’t it, if they’re reveling in a false occasion while the real date brings the everyday relational turmoil of living in a sinful state.

But what of maintaining an attitude and welcoming environment for the sudden repentance of that wandering one-flesh?   Is a home that now bans all the things the Holy Spirit has perhaps been faithfully stirring up in their memories going to feel welcoming to them?   Is that the message that’s plastered all over your wall, Stander?

May I suggest applying the “T-H-I-N-K  filter” to the frequency, tone and content of posted items on this topic?

Is it True?    (Mostly, it is!   But what do they see you actually doing?)
Is it Helpful?  (Probably not — are there better ways to walk this out by positive example?)
Is it Inspiring?  ( We have to be honest here, don’t we?  Scrooge was inspiring!  Leaving room for the work of the Holy Spirit is inspiring.)
Is it Necessary?  (Most things that aren’t heaven-or-hell issues are probably best left to the move of the Holy Spirit, and led by our example instead of grating rebuke.)
Is it Kind?   (That depends on each of the elements above, does it not?)

If our conviction is strong about celebrating Jesus’ birthday as close as possible to the actual date, and doing so in some way that excludes objects that could be seen as idolatrous,  why not start that tradition in our home and invite someone over in late September, perhaps even post those pictures with a non-disparaging explanation?    Why not then spend Dec. 25 serving the community in some way?   We’re sure to be asked about it, which then opens up an opportunity to witness.    Could a posted meme possibly be more effective than this?

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 

 

What Therefore God Has Joined Together, Let the Bishop Annul? (Years Later)

r”McAnnulment2by Standerinfamilycourt

They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.
“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing:
The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;
And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.
Jeremiah 23:13-14

Effective today, December 1, 2015, Pope Francis has determined that it will be cost-free and streamlined for a covenant-breaking Catholic to unilaterally obtain a denial that God supernaturally joined them with their covenant husband or wife as an inseparable  one-flesh entity.   A single bishop can now decide that even vows made decades earlier in a Catholic church wedding were “not sacramental” and did not create an indissoluble covenant, due to various “impediments”,  usually a taking the form, in most U.S. dioceses, of a perjurous retroactive claim of “lack of consent”.    Imagine a cleric lacking the awe, reverence and holy fear of God, instead finding the temerity to inform the Most High of the effectiveness of His Own supernatural act and covenant participation, while bearing false witness before and about the Omniscient and Omnipresent One in the process.
God help them!

The true witness of Jesus Christ is this:  ‘…For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall be — the two — for one flesh?  so that they are no more two, but one flesh; what therefore God did join together, let NO MAN put asunder.’   
(
Matt. 19:5-6)

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,

A valid Catholic marriage results from five elements:
(1) the spouses are free to marry
(2) they freely exchange their consent
(3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children
(4) they intend the good of each other
(5) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority.

Rationalization:
“And the church also recognizes—with the same love of justice and desire for mercy as Jesus—that imperfect people enter into what are called “attempted marriages”. Despite their good intent, their best efforts, and maybe a very long time, something vital was missing or in the way that prevented the union from ever being able to rise to the level of a sacrament.”

Same mercy as Jesus?   Would that be mercy and justice toward the rejected covenant family, or futile “mercy” toward the one who wants a decree of Church permission to ignore Jesus’ thrice-stated definition of adultery (creating a hellbound offense if not repented by termination of the immoral relationship, according to 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal. 5:19-21)?   What was    Jesus’ definition of the ongoing state of adultery?      Did He not say it was the attempt to legalize and sanctify an unlawful union to one who has a living estranged spouse, and therefore, an undissolved covenant in God’s sight–not any man’s faulty, fleshly sight, including that of a hireling shepherd?

The Lord Jesus said:

“…and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Matt. 5:32

“…and he who did marry her that hath been put away, doth commit adultery.” Matt. 19:9b  (YLT)

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”   Luke 16:18

The Protestant Church, of course, would be all about trying to find several “biblical exceptions” for blanket application (whereas there are none stated above by Jesus) to counter the unpalatable, allegedly “unmerciful” marriage law of Christ.   The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, pretends to respect Christ’s commandment by not finding per se exceptions, but instead by paying meaningful lip service, in a manner as recently articulated by Fr. Peter Daly:

“It is pretty clear from the Gospels that Jesus did not approve of divorce and remarriage.  He says it amounts to adultery, which is pretty strong language, especially coming from Jesus.  But if we are his followers, we have to at least try to deal with his teaching.   Our annulment process is an attempt to take his teaching seriously and still allow people a second (or third) chance…..The problem with the process in the Roman Catholic church is that it takes what ought to be a pastoral matter and turns it into a legal one.”     –  National Catholic Register, January 13, 2014

In what way, exactly, is the Roman Catholic annulment process taking the teaching of Jesus “seriously”, Fr. Daly?    And… “rise to the level of a sacrament”?    Does the performance of the human participants in covenant with God make the covenant a sacrament, or is it a sacrament precisely due to God becoming a party to that covenant?     When Jesus, in that upper room on the night when He was betrayed,  as He took up the bread and the cup, reciting verbatim the words of the traditional Hebrew betrothal ceremony, did He hold out standards for His disciples’ participation to “rise to the level of a sacrament” that evening?    Do  the Catholic Fathers have that same expectation of those receiving Eucharist, that some element of their performance “rise to the level of a sacrament”?    Was it not Jesus who took up the basin and washed the disciples’ feet in that last supper ceremony?   Did John the Baptizer offer to examine the “sacramental validity” of Herod’s and Herodias’ respective covenant marriages before putting his head on the literal  execution block, in bluntly warning them “it is not lawful for you to have her”  ?

Pastoral matter, Fr. Daly?   What about the more urgent pastoral matter of snatching people from the fire?   Is it not more urgent to warn people to get out of unlawful adulterous unions, warning them away from hell?    Is their temporal happiness really more important than their souls or their inheritance in the kingdom of God?

fiery-furnace

The usual purpose of committing the unspeakable abomination against one’s covenant family, of denying that the covenant marriage ever validly existed, is usually undertaken to gain (purported) sacramental status in a church ceremony for a subsequent and conflicting union that Jesus made crystal clear was continuously adulterous–by even the ready admission of the Roman Catholic Church.    But Who is it that judges whether He created a one-flesh entity?  And Who is it that determines whether He will replicate the same between two adulterers?   Is it even plausibly the Bishop?   From Whom does the claimed sacrament flow?    What man will dare desecrate His sacred symbol of holy matrimony, which the Holy Spirit has woven through scripture from Genesis to Revelation, and hope to stand upright before a Jealous God?

Did the apostles, Peter or Paul, ever “onboard” the sinners along with their sin in any of the churches?

“You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

“For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.   But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.   For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?   But those who are outside, God judges.   Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”    1 Corinthians 5

It appears that Paul was decidedly “unmerciful” when it came to the sanctity and utter indissolubility of holy matrimony!    Almost as “unmerciful” as his Lord and Savior.

 Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the ante-Nicene church fathers is aware that the 1st through 4th century early church, then the Roman Catholic Church, grew and developed for centuries without any apparent need for sanctioned marriage annulment — in an epoch that knew little else than arranged marriages. 

Indeed, the words of St. Ignatius (A.D. 100) should give strong pause to the contemporary fathers of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as every shepherd of the universal church of Jesus Christ:

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 the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with any one 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 every one that hearkens unto him.”

According to The Original Catholic Encyclopedia, the codification of provisions for declaring a sacramental marriage “null” first emerged in the mid-12th century under the papacies of Alexander III and Innocent III, after some bishops had been allowing remarriage on an ad hoc basis.    This development led to a period in history where a succession of pontiffs in the 14th and 15th centuries were themselves far from celibate, and many lived profoundly immoral lives before and during their papacies.   Earlier codifications from the Roman era dealing with marriage and breach of marital sanctity, such as Julia et Papia and Codex Theodosius do not mention any provision for seeking a declaration of nullity even though Theodosius promoted unilateral divorce in the 5th century.    There is nothing scriptural on which to base the heinous practice that was formally adopted in the 12th century (while ironically also formally adopting requirements that clergy must take a vow of celibacy), and both practices were a clear departure from earlier authority that held more faithfully to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles.

The sharply rising incidence of “nullity” in the 20th and 21st centuries also seems to be tied primarily to Western nations with easy, unilateral divorce.   It is certainly notable in those countries that arranged marriages among Catholics, where consent might legitimately be called into question, are virtually nonexistent.   According to Robert H. Vasoli, author of What God Has Joined Together – The Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism” ( Oxford University Press, 1998), approximately one-third of the average 60,000 annulments per year are granted because one spouse was a non-Catholic, with the bulk of the remainder being granted on claims of lack of consent, usually due to a purported “lack of emotional maturity” to sustain a viable marriage (conflicting evidence of longevity being deemed “irrelevant” for this purpose).

In this, they join the rogue family law courts in adjudicating a  fiction that a marriage that was obviously healthy for 3 or 4 decades is suddenly “irreconcilable”, even worse, wasn’t “viable” from the beginning due to the requisite lack of “emotional maturity” on the part of one of the spouses.    (Emotional maturity that was ample on the wedding day might more likely have taken flight in the fear of losing a late-life adulterous relationship.)

Citing the “rubber stamp” predilections of the U.S. tribunals (which on average grant 3 annulments for every 1 annulment granted anywhere in the rest of the world despite representing only 6% of the world’s Roman Catholic population), on page 7,  former Notre Dame sociology / criminology professor, Dr. Vasoli  asserts,  “A salient premise that undergirds the system, one seldom stated for public consumption, is captured succinctly in an anonymous tribunalist’s comment, ‘There is no marriage which given a little time for investigation, we cannot declare invalid.’  ”     Is there overwhelming evidence that this staggering number of “invalid” marriages (as in some cases retroactively determined some 30 years after the wedding) being driven by anything other than our immoral unilateral divorce laws ?   According to this author, the result has been a tidal wave:  in 1968, the American church granted fewer than 600 annulments; today it hands out more than 60,000 a year.

More recently, two Catholic writers independently reported on the September, 2015 announcement by Pope Francis authorizing local bishops to remove barriers to annulment on demand, countering the Vatican’s claim that what outsiders accurately saw as the most comprehensive changes in annulment policy in some 300 years were merely an “administrative improvement”.    John Zmirak  wrote in Stream Magazine, September 11, 2015:

“…But liberal priests and bishops did not view annulments as what they are — rare, exceptional events that recognize an injustice, such as a girl who was married by force.   Instead, many bishops, especially in America, began to hand out annulments to almost anyone who asked, on spurious psychological grounds such as “emotional immaturity.” In my own Catholic high school, the quarters that once housed Christian Brothers (who all cleared out after Vatican II) were turned into an annulment tribunal with the highest “success” rate in the world. Some 99 percent of marriages examined in that tribunal turned out to have been invalid….That means one of two things: a) We Americans are very good at faking annulments of perfectly valid marriages, so that couples can contract second, adulterous marriages with a clear conscience; or b) We are very bad at performing valid marriages….

Zmirak continues, “Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI ….saw the American annulment rate as an international scandal, and tried to tighten the rules from Rome, making it harder for local bishops to accommodate the divorce culture, and giving some support for those spouses who didn’t want their marriages (sometimes of 20 or 30 years, with multiple children) declared in retrospect null and void. An abandoned Kennedy wife, Sheila Rauch Kennedy, famously fought her powerful husband’s annulment petition — and when she lost had the bad manners to write a book exposing what a farce the procedure had become.

“Pope Francis has apparently reversed most of the reforms that the previous two popes imposed, and made annulments easier, quicker and cheaper. That surely will mean that they will become more common.”

 

Writing in Crux, September 8, 2015,   John L. Allen Jr.  suggests a very sinister political calculus by this Jesuit pontiff:

“All along, reform in the annulment process seemed the most obvious compromise measure, a way of giving both camps at least part of what they wanted. Those opposed to revising the Communion ban could take comfort that the Church was not softening its stand on divorce, while progressives would be pleased that the Church was at least trying to show greater compassion and outreach.”

We would suggest that the only “compromise” was to what remained of the integrity of Catholic families.   The result allows “the faithful” to continue to live in sanctioned adultery with the Church’s unobstructed blessing  — disregarding the commandment of Christ entirely, along with the eternal consequences awaiting unrepentant adulterers, instead of counseling those adulterers to terminate the relationship in order to take communion in a worthy manner (1 Cor. 11:27-32),  not to “eat and drink judgment to himself if he does not judge the body [of Christ] rightly”,  and to recover their forfeited inheritance in the kingdom of God.   For all of Pope Francis’ profession of “mercy” and “compassion”,  His Holiness’ failure to see beyond the temporal,  mirrors that of most Protestant leaders, and turns both of those concepts on their head considering the eternal costs of condoning the sin.
 

We know that there is no scriptural precedent to justify men retroactively declaring a consummated marriage “null”, and in fact no recognition in the courthouse of the Most High of man’s repudiation of the consummated marriage of our youth, as declared by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9, where He asserts that man is given no authority to unjoin what God’s hand has joined.    We also know that for the first ten centuries of Christendom, there was no provision for marriage nullity, either written about or taught until it was legislated by a medieval pope.    This begs the question, on what basis was this supported?    Contemporary Catholics point to translations of Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 where the “for fornication (Greek “porneia”) exceptive clause”  is  rendered “except for unlawful marriage”.    However, this is not the case in the Catholic Douay-Reims 1899 version nor the Catholic Revised Standard Version where the exception reads “for unchastity“.   Tellingly, the first time an exception for “unlawful marriage” occurs is in a version introduced in 1970 called New American Bible Revised.

Speaking of  fornication or unchastity, “logou  porneas”   certainly does not translate as “unlawful marriage”!

Sc4All_M5.32a
Original Greek Text (Textus Receptus)

Protestants can hardly afford to cluck about the time-honored sport of bible translation vandalism undertaken to accommodate the Sexual Revolution, wherein Westcott & Hort in the 1880’s transformed “porneia” (unchastity, whoredom, fornication) into adultery via the revisionist rendering “general sexual immorality”,  while completely jettisoning the remarriage-damning last phrase of Matthew 19:9, “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”    Indeed, we now have not only the Queen James Version, but also the 2011 New International Version coming out with homosexual-practice-friendly retranslated renderings.    Comparison with Greek interlinear text tools, as illustrated above, is becoming compulsory to the accurate bible study of the 21st century “Berean” because of this.

Baal was the pagan god of the worship of sexuality, to whom child sacrifices were made.    Jeremiah’s prophecy is being unmistakably fulfilled in our time in both the Catholic and Protestant Churches as a result of the systematic destruction of the  sanctity of marriage in both the Church and Western society:

They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.
“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing:
The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood;
And they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.

How long until judgment on our land and the American church is complete by the Lord’s hand?    Jesus repeatedly asked, what would He find on the earth when He returned, perhaps already knowing.   

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  For a deeper study into the biblical meaning and significance of the supernatural one-flesh joining, and God’s exclusive participation in the covenant of holy matrimony, including why (despite a pastor’s participation) this is never replicated where one or both of the partners has a living, estranged covenant spouse, please click here.

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com