Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to Me, and have neither remembered Me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear Me?
– Isaiah 57:11
The Lord is not being silent any longer on the abomination of serial polygamy, nor legalized adultery in the church. Just about this time last year, we were delighted to highlight an unusually courageous pastor in Florida, and run his entire 10-week sermon series with only one significant disclaimer. We became aware of another similarly courageous pastor of a small church in Ohio around the same time, and we corresponded with both these gentlemen on behalf of the marriage permanence community, which is international and growing. At the time, we thought debunking all the excuses for marrying another person while having a living, estranged spouse, calling it what Jesus called it – adultery, saying there are no “biblical” exceptions, and urging people to sever those false marriages as a matter of heaven or hell, was about as courageous as it gets.
That is, until we caught up with Pastor Phil Schlamp, of Maranatha Evangelical Church in Alberta, Canada. We believe Pastor Schlamp is the first to go beyond the uncompromised truth on this matter, as addressed to the individuals, to actually take strong exception to the condoning behavior of Christians who surround remarriage adulterers, including their church family and their extended family who call themselves by the name of Christ. Indeed, Paul had some rather pointed instructions for these folks, too, which is substantially ignored today.
We are just delighted to bring you Pastor Schlamp’s 5-part sermon series “Divorce: Meet Goliath“, with just a bit of commentary on each installment.
(+) Refers to the worthy book by Dr. E.S. Williams, The Great Divorce Controversy on relevant church history around sanctity of marriage.
(+) Is straightforward in pointing out that divorce and remarriage is a sin that sends many to hell.
(+) Points out that “allowing” any “exceptions” to the absolute indissolubility of holy matrimony opens the door wide to endless exceptions.
(+) Accurate and concise integration of kiddushin (Hebrew betrothal), whereas most theologians ignore or are dishonestly biased against its relevance to God’s marriage commandments.
(+) Points out accurately from Deut. 22 that even in the Mosaic system (at least while Moses governed) that consummated holy matrimony cannot be dissolved – in a metaphysical sense as well as a moral sense.
(+) Addresses the contentious issue of whether Moses’ limited divorce allowance was inspired or not, in a way that is compatible with other scripture.
(+) Acknowledges the rampant scripture revision in all of the contemporary English translations, including the mistranslation of “porneia”.
(+) Makes the truthful point that separation is not biblically equivalent to marriage dissolution, in correctly rendering1 Cor. 7.
(+) Emphasizes the crucial hermeneutic principle that unclear scriptures must yield to the clear scriptures, not the other way around.
(+) Accurately refutes the false claim that remarriage is only a one-time act of adultery rather than an ongoing state of sin.
( – ) Failed to consider other types of “some uncleanness” (ervat dabar) in Deut. 24 that would have also led to legal cancellation of the betrothal contract – for example, consanguinity, or a contacting a disease of uncleanness (leprosy, bleeding disorder, etc. ) that would have been a non-capital reason to have a different law outside Deut. 22 — a minor point.
(+) Points out that both the conservative and the liberal views of a matter may each fail to reflect the true biblical view.
(+) Explains permissive theology on divorce and remarriage as humanistic, and contrasts that with theism, the faithful approach which is God-centered.
(+) Accommodations and exceptions allowing divorce eventually have led to unilateral divorce.
(+) Rabbi Hillel was considered “kind” and “compassionate” – he was liberal on divorce and was a humanist. Points out (correctly) that both Hillel and Shammai were wrong.
(+) Suggests that divorce and remarriage led to the great decline of Judaism.
(+) Gives important church history from the 1st century to the Reformation and its relevance to the apostasy of allowing remarriage in the contemporary evangelical church.
(+) Warns of the corrosive effect Pope Francis is having on the sexual morality of the Roman Catholic Church.
(+) Explains why marriage should not be owned by the civil state, and why the Reformers were wrong to claim that holy matrimony is not a sacrament.
(+) Explains why the Reformation didn’t change the mass practice in the church until the 1950’s.
(+) Accurately connects the high rate of cohabitation with unilateral divorce- on-demand, and with the church’s failure to defend the sanctity of holy matrimony.
( – ) Appears to accept without close examination the view of E.S. Williams that there was a significant time difference between the U.S. and the UK in adopting legalized adultery as a matter of public policy and church doctrine.
(+) Reviews hermeneutics and relevance to rightly dividing God’s word on this topic
(+) Points out the immense contrast between the 1st century church vs. Judaism, which held until 1500 A.D. and the rise of Protestantism.
(+) Re-emphasizes that remarriage after divorce is a state of continual, ongoing adultery.
(+) Sociological fallout – destruction of family, church, culture and finally the country. High crime against children, the church and the state.
(+) Younger adults now afraid of marriage as a result of non-binding marriage. Troubled, drifting and under-achieving.
(+) How does the bible deal with “blended families”? Repent!
(+) Divorce and remarriage literally invites Satan into the church. Relates the purging of unlawful marriages in the book of Ezra.
(+) Did God reject Israel because of divorce and remarriage? Malachi 2.
(+) Last 500 years has put U.S. and western countries back where apostate Israel was in Malachi’s day. God’s curse is here and now.
(+) Connects modern barbarism with current political quagmire in the U.S. and Canada. Even animals don’t normally destroy their young.
(+) “Donald Trump wants to make America great again, but doesn’t want to go back to what made America great.”
(+) Correctly diagnoses divorce and remarriage as the root cause of the rise of homosexualism, and blames the Protestant church.
(+) Israel and Rome both fell due to rampant legalized adultery – per Edward Gibbon who was not a Christian. Britain is in decline along with the U.S. for the same reason.
Sermon 4 (11/06/2016) – based on 1 Corinthians 5
(+) Explains the connection between legalized adultery and idolatry – failure to tear down the “high places”.
(+) Admits that conquering “Goliath” will only come through personal suffering.
(+) Carrying out our responsibility to do something about abominations will rouse “Goliath” against us.
(+) Renounces civil state authority over marriage – which belongs exclusively to God.
(+/ – ) Deals biblically with the need for the adulterously-“married” to separate from the non-covenant relationship…then proposes that the invalidity of it eliminates the need to get a second divorce, but the relationship itself must be terminated.
(+ / – ) Similarly, reconciling with one’s God-joined spouse does not necessitate civil remarriage because the original joining has never been dissolved.
SIFC’s additional observation: Pastor Schlamp is technically correct, according to scripture, in the above two points. However, we are to look out for our witness and not cause others to stumble, including the covenant and non-covenant children impacted by the reconciliation. We are also to obey the civil authorities to the extent that doing so does not disobey God. If unilateral divorce is repealed according the current prayers of the saints, there could be some instances where it may not be possible to obtain a civil divorce from a partner Jesus says is adulterous, and from whom the repenting prodigal has permanently separated in the fear of God. That partner may well argue, “God hates divorce” without understanding that He said this through Malachi only of the original husband or wife of our youth. They may be unwilling to enter into a mutually-agreed petition, and may be falsely advised by their pastor that the union is not adultery. In such cases, brother Phil’s advice on these points will become very pertinent. Similarly, in reconciling with the true spouse of our youth, such a pastor is likely to be unwilling to perform a recommitment ceremony, which is, in our opinion, very important for public witness of the righteous reconciliation, not necessarily a “re-joining” of what was never actually severed. Such a pastor may be unwilling to issue a church certificate without a state license. State marriage licenses are a bad idea in today’s so-called “no-fault” environment because they become de-facto warrants for state intrusion into the home. They would be more acceptable under repeal of unilateral divorce, but they would still cede false authority to the state over what belongs exclusively to God. Where a pastor will not agree to solemnize a recommitment ceremony over the original God-joined holy matrimony vows, we recommend public witnesses, and possibly a house church pastor (although the latter is not strictly necessary).
(+) Affirms the sure doom and judgment of a nation that refuses to kill “Goliath.”
(+) Affirms that if a repenting spouse’s true husband or wife has civilly remarried, it does not change the imperative to sever their own adultery and remain single or reconcile with the true spouse .
(+) 1 Cor. 7:14 – so powerful is the covenant marriage bond that the laws of holiness and contamination are reversed when one of the partners is in Christ.
(+) When discipling new believers who are divorced and remarried, they should not be taken into the church as a couple. They should be instructed that their marriage is not valid in God’s sight.
(+) Only reason to divorce is to be civilly eligible to commit adultery through remarriage.
(+) Low morality in the church is almost exclusively due to unwillingness to excommunicate people who violate their covenant marriage.
(+) When church discipline leaves a church, Christ departs with it.
(+) Family members are not exempt from the instructions in 1 Cor. 5 not to even eat or associate with remarried adulterers, whether the church does so or not. (This is meeting Goliath).
(+) Treats as fallacy those who claim that it’s necessary not to shun / separate friends and family members living in sin on the excuse of “winning them back” to Christ. Freedom to talk about it only diminishes in the absence of shunning — it constitutes the de facto “acceptance” they seek.
(+) Don’t take on Goliath unless you are very sure that what you believe aligns with what God demands. Be prepared for cursing, slander and rage, and possible wrongful excommunication.
“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. ” – 1 Samuel 17
In this final installment, we learn what “happening” in Phil’s church triggered this sermon series. It wasn’t at all what you might think!
(+) Reiterates the need for strong hermeneutics to avoid delusion — unclear passages must give way to clear passages.
(+) False teachers are gathered by the adulterous to deflect from clear biblical prohibition of excuses and exceptions to marry another after man’s divorce. (“Silence the whistle of our conscience.”)
(+) Evangelists from D.L. Moody to Ray Comfort won’t address the issue of remarriage being adultery, and this is a fatal flaw in contemporary evangelism.
(+) Hardest sin to remove from the church of any other. Disdain and contempt for the obedient in separating from these adulterers by the fangs of Goliath.
(+) We no longer tremble at the word of God as Ezra and the priests did.
Action would then follow. Non-widowed remarriage is today’s unlawful marriage per the commandment of Christ.
(+) Pointed out that the sin was repeated in Nehemiah’s day, only twenty-five years later, then seventy-five years after that in Malachi’s time. God sent no more prophets for the next 400 years until John the Baptist.
(+) Relates personal extended family circumstances, accused of “inflicting pain” on his family (adulterous siblings). “Each one of my siblings could change their sinful state in a moment, while I can’t change it no matter how much I want so. Yet I’m at fault [for the division in the family]?”
(+) Goliath is a master of emotional manipulation and gas-lighting, once someone crosses the line to take a real stand that costs something.
( – ) Does not suggest some other practical steps that the church could and should take beyond severing fellowship, corporately or as individuals, with remarriage adulterers, such as: (1) not performing such weddings and (2) not signing civil marriage licenses, with a view toward influencing the repeal of unilateral divorce by boycott. Pastor Schlamp probably does not officiate over weddings that Jesus would call adulterous. However, since the law tends to drive culture “for better or worse”, we would prefer to see pastors also taking an active role in driving repeal of immoral laws beyond abortion and sodomous “marriage”.
Triggering incident account at 33:50 minutes: A 16-year old young lady from brother Phil’s Canadian church visited an American family whom she had met during an earlier trip to Israel. Two ladies were taking her to Branson to a retreat, when conversation came up about their American pastor’s brave stand against homosexuality, preaching against it, when the young lady asked what stand the pastor took on divorce and remarriage. The response was that their pastor hadn’t studied or preached on it, and the revelation came that one of these ladies was divorced and remarried. When asked what her church thinks about it, she had to say, “we believe it’s wrong”.
Church lady #1 : “That’s between Mrs. ___ and the Lord.”
Church lady #2: “Well, I’m the one who’s going to have to stand before the Lord’s judgment for that sin.” (conscious of the sin, but not at all concerned about the clear biblical consequences of it). Quick change of subject ensued, and attempts to ignore that the exchange had occurred. They were giving the girl an opportunity to also ignore it and thereby not take a stand….
The young lady asked to stop the car and not continue on [consistent with 1 Cor. 5]…and the backlash from Church lady #1 followed for “judging” Church lady #2 in the face of God’s “forgiveness” (of ongoing sin). Listen in for the rest of the story….
SIFC’s additional observation: How refreshing to hear that the triggering incident for this sermon series was not some tawdry episode in the Canadian home church, say, the clamor for an adulterous wedding ceremony — along with backlash for refusing, but one of a young lady’s polite and firm saltiness abroad!
On top of this being by far the most integrity-filled treatment of this topic by any preacher SIFC has ever heard, this young lady’s ability in a high pressure situation to handle it with TRUE mercy speaks incredibly well of how the biblical truth is handled in this Canadian congregation on a consistent ongoing basis. Such is “caught” more than it is “taught” when it comes to teenagers.
Our last observation is probably the most encouraging of all: these courageous pastors seem to be emerging in a wide variety of denominations and geographic regions as the Lord anoints them. In Jesus’ name, may the trend continue to build. We have yet another gutsy pastor to highlight in a future post…stay tuned.
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!