Tag Archives: Restoration

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

by Standerinfamilycourt

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

A RECENT EXCHANGE ON A RIVAL FACEBOOK PAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Currently on the board of CBMW:

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 EXAMPLE LETTER TO CMBW :

Dr. Denny Burk & Directors


CBMW Executive Office
2825 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40280

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

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

 

 

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

FrMartinDrGby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

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

Transcribed by:  Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

DeadNotDivorced

Shared Testimony **

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Can “Shame” be Purposeful?

SC-pastor-protests-marriage-equality-by-dressing-horse-in-a-wedding-dress-WJTV-TV-800x430by Standerinfamilycourt

For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—  I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything  through us.  For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.   –  2 Cor. 7:8-10

Truth warriors are finding out lately that no longer is the faithful pronouncement or application of God’s word merely “legalistic” or “judgmental” in the estimation of the secular and even religious humanists.   Oh no, now we find out that truth-bearers are personally responsible for the immoral behavior choices (“acting out”) of others because we are “shaming” them!   Dare to produce the yardstick (moral absolute), and the instinctive flight from measurement is deemed in our culture to be directly due to the fact that this standard has been brought to bear at all.

However, this concept isn’t totally foreign to some compassionate, Christ-centered evangelicals, either, especially those who have spent some time as a prodigal or backslider.     The late Rev. Bob Steinkamp, for example, who founded Rejoice Marriage Ministries with his wife Charlyne, regularly urged spouses who are standing for the restoration of their covenant marriages, and for the repentance of the spouse of their youth from an adulterous union, addiction or other destructive behavior, to carefully avoid being the cause of their prodigal’s feelings of shame or guilt.    The argument, with a certain amount justification, is that these feelings hinder and delay a prodigal’s repentance.    Each and every day of hindered and resisted repentance is a day upon which that prodigal might further harden their own heart, and could eternally run out of time to repent.  Who wants to be an accomplice in such a tragic ending for someone they love and are one-flesh with?

Beyond that, people whom “standerinfamilycourt” truly admires frequently look down on “slut-shaming”, as when during last year’s U.S. presidential primary campaign, a lurid photo of our nation’s first centerfold First Lady was produced by its far-from-first adulterous Chief Executive to demonstrate how much more “attractive” his wife is than his opponent’s covenant wife.    People who responded in perfectly reasonable expressed disgust were then accused of that allegedly-thoughtless infraction of “slut-shaming”.

At the other extreme, there is a Facebook page called “Home Wreckers Exposed (She’s a Ho)” where aggrieved wives can publicly expose by name and photo their spouse-poaching nemesis who has used the nation’s immoral family courts and the culture’s growing acceptance of cohabitation to destroy a covenant home.    On a related note, there was a post recently going around on a closed support page for covenant marriage standers that showed such a wife dragging her husband’s much-younger naked girlfriend through the street by the hair after catching her in the act.  (One naturally wonders, similar to the story in John, chapter 8 where the male adulterer was at that moment).

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC Disclaimer:  this kind of shaming is never purposeful!  Jesus called it, “not leaving room for God’s wrath.”

ShesAHo

Somewhere in the middle of all this is the notion of vicarious or indirect shaming, such as SIFC’s beloved son-in-law recently rebuked (since he has an aunt who is in a longstanding lesbian relationship, and consequently he resents the idea of marriage adhering to an absolute biblical standard).   It seems that many of the posts on our own Facebook page (Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional) can be seen as the public “shaming” of practicing homosexuals, as well as of legalized adulterers.   His allegation is that such posts turn people like his aunt off to “Christianity” altogether, because the real Jesus “didn’t throw stones”.   We would suggest in the alternative that the universal requirement to put Christ first and remove idols from our lives is what actually turns most people off to following Christ, regardless of their sexual orientation.

It could reasonably be argued that any effort to resist full cooperation with a unilateral divorce petition could lead to the “public shaming” of one’s petitioning spouse, since in most cases doing so leads to a public trial that will expose the person’s deeds as a matter of public record.    Hence, some situations which our immoral “family laws” put an innocent target of such a petition in will involve some very real and painful moral trade-offs.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4

So, is there a biblical imperative against causing or allowing one’s wayward spouse to experience shame which is so strong that it compels a true Christ-follower to sign under oath their concurrence with the typical slate of lies in such a “dissolution” petition, some of which directly deny the power of God to redeem their holy matrimony union?    How does one balance the seemingly competing biblical imperatives not to resist an evil person with the warning in Rev. 21:8 that ALL liars will be thrown into the lake of fire?

Furthermore, if we follow the biblical instructions from Jesus in Matthew 18 for bringing church discipline on someone who is sinning against their family,

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.   But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.   If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
(verses 15-17)

…it also results in public shame (and sometimes social media shame), does it not?   Matt Chandler and his Village Church suffered backlash in 2015, finding this out the hard way when there was blowback from an attempt to discipline a church worker for having her 3-year marriage civilly annulled because her husband struggled with same-sex attraction.

Matt Walsh was recently “up to here” with the shame-blame game himself, in his own recent blog (but scout’s honor, this blog was started way back in August, long before Matt’s was ).

As only Mr. Walsh can so eloquently put it:

And for those who shame all of this shaming there’s shame shaming, which often leads to shame shaming shaming and even shame shaming shaming shaming, which gives rise to the shaming of shame shamers who shame those who shame shamers for shame shaming shaming. We’re all just ashamed all the time, it seems, but not so ashamed that we won’t post heroic pictures of ourselves doing whatever it is we claim we’re persecuted for doing. And, although society supposedly “shames” this activity, we’re sure to get 100 thousand likes and 50 thousand shares and 10 thousand laudatory comments. “

He continues:

“Contrary to what these shame fighters say, many of our societal problems are born from a cataclysmic lack of shame. We have become something like the spoiled brat who throws a tantrum because her parents got her the wrong color Ferrari for her sweet sixteen. It’s not as though this indignity is the last straw in a long series of incidents where the poor, neglected child wasn’t given exactly what she wanted. Rather, this is the first time in her life that she didn’t get exactly what she wanted.”

Is there an outright biblical prohibition on “shaming” another?    Is there proverbial wisdom against it?   Is there a proverbial description of negative consequences from publicly drawing attention to the immorality of another, or from engaging in indirect communications that allude to that immorality?    What definition of “shaming” actually triggers negative consequences for the “shamer” according to biblical wisdom?

SIFC has found that an effective biblical word study on shame and shaming requires quite an investment of time.     According to www.biblegateway.com, there are 262 Hebrew or Greek references to shame or shaming between the Old and New Testaments, and literally dozens of different Hebrew and Greek words from which the word “shame” was translated, with differing shades of meaning, especially in Hebrew.

A sampling, which is far from exhaustive:

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/954.htm    bosh
A primitive root; properly, to pale, i.e. By implication to be ashamed; also (by implication) to be disappointed or delayed — (be, make, bring to, cause, put to, with, a-)shamed(-d), be (put to) confounded(-fusion), become dry, delay, be long.

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_937.htm    buz     (laughingstock)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_8103.htm    shimtsah  (derision)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_6172.htm    ervah   (nakedness, indecency)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_4045.htm  migereth (rebuke)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_3971.htm  mum (blemished)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2781.htm     cherpah  (reproach)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_3639.htm   kelimmah (dishonor; reproach)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/955.htm  bushah (related to bosh)

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7036.htm  qalon (ignominy, dishonor)

…As in, Proverbs 9:7, He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself,  And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.” 

http://biblehub.com/greek/818.htm  atimazó (dishonor)

http://biblehub.com/greek/819.htm  atimia (dishonor)

http://biblehub.com/greek/2617.htm    kataischuno  (confound, put down)

http://biblehub.com/greek/150.htm   aischros (base / disgraceful)

http://biblehub.com/greek/5195.htm  hubrizó ( using unfair tactics to inflict undeserved harm)

http://biblehub.com/greek/1788.htm  entrepó  (put into a state of turning or recoiling)

http://biblehub.com/greek/1791.htm  entropé  (confusion / shame)

HELPS Word-studies

1788 entrépō (from 1722 /en, “in” and trépō, “to turn”) – properly in (a state of) turning, i.e. to turn one’s attention to in a riveted (“locked-in”) way. This term is also used of recoiling (turning away) in shame, at times of a “wholesome shame which leads a man to consideration of his condition” (Berry).

When we get to the Greek, we can start to see that shame can also have a positive purpose (entrepó), and indeed, Paul reminds us in Romans 12:20 that it is entirely possible (and desirable) to cause someone to feel shame even as a by-product of actual kind acts, especially when done in response to malicious acts done to us by the same individuals…

But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

“Standerinfamilycourt” likens the culturally-popular rhetoric around “shaming” to the popular claims that Christians are not to “judge”.    Logically, a judgment must be made before one makes a determination to “shame”, so the connection is obvious.    Carefully examined, however, the scripture says that Christians are not to judge in an unrighteous manner while being guilty of the same or similar infraction of God’s law.   That is, they must be able to withstand being measured by the same yardstick they would apply to another (Luke 6:37-38).

Furthermore, it is impossible to accuse someone of judging unless the accuser is also judging the accusee.    But, if one instead complains about the end product of applying that judgment (or any similar form of rebuke or criticism), i.e. “shaming”, this self-righteous difficulty is effectively bypassed in the (non-discerning) eyes of most people.   After all, those who object to Melania having been accurately described as an adulterous trollop can’t very well say to anybody else, “you have no right to make a moral judgment against someone posing nude and her ‘husband’ publicly boasting about it”.

A clear distinction certainly must be made between “shame” that is an unavoidable by-product of some action that carried a larger, selfless purpose, and actual shaming that is carried out vindictively or manipulatively as an end in itself.  Guilt remains unproductive if the Holy Spirit does not transform that feeling into conviction, and shame remains unproductive unless that emotion matures into godly sorrow.   This is more likely to occur with incidental, rather than targeted rebuke.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Romans 12:19

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Misusing the Movement: The “Cover” that Just Won’t Work

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by Standerinfamilycourt

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
How much more the hearts of men!
Proverbs 15:11

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

In these latter days, the true word is getting around and rapidly taking root about what Jesus and all of the disciples’ disciples taught for the first 400 years of the Messianic Covenant — that the husband and wife of youth are God-joined into a one-flesh entity which man’s courts cannot sever with the tallest mountain of civil paper,  and a covenant bond which includes the Lord’s participation and which is, therefore, severable only by the physical death of one of the spouses.    This is coming in spite of 60 years of false teaching and immoral practice in the American church, and despite 500 years of falsehood which the Reformation brought to church doctrine / practice in this area.

“Standerinfamilycourt” has come to personally know almost a dozen men and women who, in following Christ, were shocked and appalled to learn from a deep study of God’s word that what they thought was a valid marriage in the Lord, was actually legalized adultery,  amounting to serial polygamy.  Some found out their spouse was still married to the partner of their youth.   Some found out that they were themselves still married to the partner of their own youth, and quite a few found out that the adultery was on both sides of the marriage.    Most had agonized over their own soul and over the soul of the person they had adulterously married without realizing it was adultery.    Most took at least several months, to a couple of years, to intensely study to be certain of this biblical conviction before acting to renounce and exit their sinful state.   All were motivated by a compulsion to put Jesus Christ first in their lives and to never again stumble into unwitting sin at the hands of the rogue pastors who had betrayed them.    Those who have a living covenant partner are praying fervently for the salvation or restoration to the kingdom of that partner and for restoration of their holy matrimony companionship.  Many of those who were single prior to their adulterous marriage, while they could righteously marry another never-married or widowed person, are in no hurry to do so — they want to live for the Lord first and foremost.

But, it doesn’t always happen quite that way…..

Those of us who run ministry pages are contacted by many individuals seeking help and prayer, or seeking answers to questions.     It is a tremendous privilege to help and pray for each one of them.   But it is also a sacred trust whose aim must always be to build up the kingdom of God, pointing people toward the cross and toward heaven.    When it comes to marriage, far too many big-name, well-respected ministries point people in quite the opposite direction.

A gentleman we’ll call “Bob” contacted our page.   He complained of being hammered by his church, and had been kicked off several Christian social media pages because he was contemplating a civil divorce from his wife “Carol” who had been married briefly before.   According to Bob, Carol’s earlier marriage was a drunken elopement when she was under age, and was quickly annulled after less than a week.    Bob reasons that the marriage was consummated, so it must have been valid before the Lord.     Though Bob and Carol eventually got saved together, he confessed that he never did feel as though he were one-flesh with Carol, and this must be the reason why.  (She’s not happy, either, as evidenced by the way she sits around, piling on the pounds and not caring about remaining attractive to Bob, as he relates.)

Bob had been really studying up and talking with people in the marriage permanence movement, especially since he’d caught up with “Alice”,  his old high school flame.    Alice had married “Ted” whom she had become involved with before he had divorced a covenant wife to marry her.   True to character, Ted is on the prowl again and sleeping around, but Alice has now found the Lord.   Bob kept saying that he couldn’t help still being concerned for Alice’s soul since 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5;19-21 make it pretty plain that no adulterer will inherit the kingdom of God.    “She needs to marry someone who can be all hers”, Bob declared, “and have a marriage in the Lord”.     He sheepishly asked, “since God didn’t covenant with her adultery and didn’t make her one-flesh with Ted (who was still one-flesh with his true wife, “Tina”),  Alice would be free to remarry, wouldn’t she?”    He said he was pretty sure he has convinced Alice to come out of her non-covenant marriage after pointing out his studies to her.    He believes he has mercifully snatched Alice from the hell flames.   (Curiously, Bob fails to recognize that there are several other souls at-risk in this scenario, including those souls in the trail of jettisoned spouses and their children, but while Alice’s soul is precious to him, oblivion seems to prevail everywhere else souls are on the line.)

Back to Bob’s remarriage question….was Alice also married before she pried Ted away from Tina, Bob?    “No, she was not”, Bob says.    Yes, Bob, then biblically-speaking, Alice would be free to marry a never-married or widowed man, after exiting her adulterous union, but only in the Lord.    That “only in the Lord” part  is a huge “BUT“, however.   As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7, it goes far beyond whether or not the new hoped-for spouse is a believer, and even beyond that person’s biblical eligibility to marry:

But if you marry [speaking to the widowed], you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.  But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.   This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
– 1 Cor. 7:29-35

This is a very similar situation to someone adulterously remarried according to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16:18, but whose true spouse has passed away during the adulterous union.     There’s the small matter of God-joining, of creating the inseverable one-flesh entity.   No marriage is holy matrimony unless and until He performs this.    Most Christians presume this to be an automatic thing, either because they think the one-flesh state is a gradual human development (confusing sarx miaMatt. 19:5-6; Eph. 5:31,  with hen soma1 Cor. 6:16), or because they fancy that God “defaults” to it somehow if all the biblical barriers are suddenly removed, for whatever reason.    Is the Lord Most High a vending or stamping machine?    Does He not retain sovereignty to join whom He will join, to forgive whom He will forgive, and to set the conditions for doing both?    If He can judge the thoughts and motivations of the heart, can we really hope to “game” Him with our biblical technicalities?    

To understand those conditions whereby God exclusively covenants with a union and supernaturally, instantaneously creates a one-flesh entity between a man and his wife, we must do as Jesus did, and look closely at the Genesis 2:21-24 account of the first wedding in the bible to discern what Jesus taught were the essential elements of “two becoming one.”

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.   The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.   The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Essential elements that were present at that first-ever wedding:

(1)  Consent to live for life as one-flesh :    “This is now bone of my bones,  And flesh of my flesh.”

(2)  Witnesses:   this included Jesus, and (apparently), the serpent, satan.

(3)  Vows: She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

(4)  God’s hand as the officiant:  “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

(5)   No prior living spouses:  He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.   Jesus and Paul repeatedly echo this last point throughout the gospels and the epistles.

Conspicuously-missing nonessential elements at that first wedding:

(1) A human officiant (also true of ancient Hebrew wedding tradition)
(2) A religious test
(3)  Civil permission or regulation
(4)  An age test  (Eve was a “newborn”, after all)

Let’s leave Alice and Ted to the side, since it only takes an adulterous condition on one side of an immoral union to render it so for both partners  –  it is obvious that Jesus would not hesitate to call Alice and Ted’s civil marriage adultery.   So, by this standard, is there good reason for Bob to err on the side of accepting that he is in a God-joined, one-flesh holy matrimony union, such that God would regard divorce out of it to be treachery and violence?    At least to the extent of requiring Bob to take extreme care, time and prayer before he concludes that his vows to Carol are false and dissoluble?

Was there Carol’s / her first husband’s mutual consent to live as one-flesh for life in that impulsive, drunken and brief elopement which was civilly annulled?    Was there consent to live as one-flesh for life in the sober justice-of-the peace wedding between Bob and Carol, given that they’ve done so for 15 years and borne three children?    (Apparently, there were vows and witnesses in both instances, but in which situation did God actually create sarx mia ?)

Given the answers above, in which situation was God the Officiant?
Just how probable is it that Bob is indeed one-flesh with Carol despite his doubts?   Is the misuse of God’s word to emphasize technicalities creating a form of legalism that would not normally be there in discerning the situation between these struggling, intertwined couples?

And is Alice truly snatched from the hell flames at this point, as Bob fancies, or is it too early to judge?     Does one technically go to hell because they die in a state of adultery,  or is this ongoing sinful state something that leads to greater heart-hardening and idolatry in the form of self-worship?    Will she live on in unforgiveness toward Ted for his lifelong pattern of adultery, or will she continue to pray for his salvation?    Who will be her first love as she goes forward with her life apart from Ted?    Will she be motivated to encourage the reconciliation between Ted and Tina, his actual one-flesh?    Will Alice look for ways to make godly restitution to Tina?   If she succumbs to Bob’s already-contemplated advances, what then?

Before we close this post, let’s reflect for a moment on the famous 1970 cover for MAD magazine.    This was exactly one year after Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the legislation in California creating the first-ever unenforceable-while-legally-valid contract in in the United States, and the only one such as we’ve seen since.   September 1970 was still a few years before most Protestant denominations “updated” their doctrine and practice around marriage and divorce to make it more “culturally-relevant” and “empathetic”.    Is this magazine cover not very telling of how far our society and the church has fallen, when a pagan periodical was drawing such shock value in a heathen society for behavior that today makes us yawn, shrug and produce voluminous “blended family” advice within our churches?     Contrast that with the September 2015 spectacle of CNN and MSNBC reporters shaking their Gideon motel bibles at Mrs. Kim Bailey Wallace  Davis McIntyre Davis, the elected issuer of Rowan County adultery licenses who was jailed for saying she would “lose her soul” for issuing Rowan County sodomy licenses.

If repenting prodigal spouses (and the movement as a whole) are constantly under unjust fire from the hypocritical harlot church, then carelessly or wrongly- motivated application of marriage permanence principles — most especially where there’s an apparent rebound relationship following in short order thereafter — simply undermines the credibility of the many who are indeed doing the right thing for the right, unselfish reason.   Meanwhile, within the marriage permanence community, while unified that all remarriage wherever there is a living, God-joined spouse is always adultery, there is significant (and sometimes fiery) debate about the Gen. 2:21-24 point where that inseverable joining occurs.    We still need to keep in mind that what the apostate church and the pagan world sees when Jesus isn’t really our first love in these situations (even if biblically-permissible)…is spouse-swapping!

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;  for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s….
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.
I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Romans 14:7-8,13-14

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Let’s Take an AUTHENTIC Stand for Marriage, Christian Right

NatMarriageWkby Standerinfamilycourt

February 7 – 14 is National Marriage Week.
During this week, there will be much going on that is vital and valuable to our nation, but there will be no getting away from the fact that in the corrupted culture of contemporary evangelicaldom, it will be “finders keepers”, and millions in faux “marriages” which are not holy matrimony, will be encouraged to stay there at the peril of their very souls.  The excellent organization, Breakpoint.org promotes it in this audio link dated January 5, 2017.

Talking about marriage “permanence” is politically acceptable to this crowd, but it will not resolve the nation’s problems because it will not touch the root issue.   Rather, the message needs to be around the far more relevant and offensive topic of holy matrimony indissolubility, according to Matt.19:6,8 and Luke 16:18. This needs to be in the heaven-or-hell terms that Jesus and Paul unflinchingly cast it.

Some crucial topics not likely to be on this year’s agenda:

– When will pastors stop performing weddings that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (and tell the congregation why) ?

– When will pastors stop signing civil marriage licenses that reflect the only unenforceable contract in American history, and which since 1970, in no way corresponds to Christ’s Matt. 19:4-6 definition of marriage?

– When will pastors stop smearing and stigmatizing the growing stream of true disciples of Jesus Christ who are coming out of adulterous civil unions to in order to recover their inheritance in the kingdom of God? [1 Cor. 6:9-10; Mal. 5:19-21-KJV)

– When will repealing unilateral divorce in all 50 states become as high a moral priority as outlawing the slave trade, or repealing Row. v. Wade, or ending sodomous “marriages” ?

Given what Jesus and Paul both had to say about remarriage adultery (repeatedly by each), true revival when it arrives, is going to look horrifying to the organizers of National Marriage Week, but it will be pleasing to God.   The horror will not be due to the repenting prodigals, but due to five decades of false, hireling shepherds not doing the job the Owner of the fold gave them to safeguard souls first, and then covenant families.

ignatius-antioch

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Tithing Mint, Dill and Cumin…the Hollow Censure of Billy Graham’s Grandson

legalized-adultery_tchivby Standerinfamilycourt

And now this commandment is for you, O priests.  If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.  Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it….For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.  But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have [m]corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts.  So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction

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

This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.   Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS your companion and your wife by covenant.  But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring?
 – Malachi, chapter 2

 

Billy Graham’s grandson got “married” last month – to another man’s wife, while forsaking the companion and children of his own marriage covenant.   Reportedly, Tullian is not the first pastoral violator of Luke 16:18 in the Tchividjian / Graham families, only the most famous.    What God had to say in Malachi 2 about generational sin rings true once again.

There was a widely-reported attempt at what currently passes for “church discipline” in contemporary evangelicaldom, in an effort to reconcile the covenant Tchividjian family, which we know  fell short.    A few days ago, several pastors involved in that failed disciplinary effort signed and released a letter of rebuke addressed to Tchividjian following further witness accounts of the abuse of Tchividjian’s senior pastorate at megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian.   Amazingly, that letter appeared to be a pastoral admission that sanctity (if not exceptionless indissolubility) of God-joined holy matrimony is indeed a heaven-or-hell matter,

“For the sake of his eternal soul, we implore Tullian Tchividjian to repent of his wickedness and demonstrate his repentance by submitting himself to the leadership of his church of membership, pursuing forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation with those whom he has sinned against.”

Certainly, what constitutes “pursuing forgiveness, healing and reconciliation” may not necessarily align with the rightly-divided word of God, but it’s a glimmer of hope that such pastors merely admit that one can indeed walk away from the faith.    Once saved, guard your heart!

Separately, it turns out that Tullian’s uncle and brother are both board members for a pastoral counseling organization, “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)”  aimed at preventing sexual abuse in pastoral counseling settings,  as several counselees of Tullian Tchividjian in the 2014-2015 time frame came forward with lurid details of attempted seduction.   From the Christian Post article covering this development:

“The GRACE board is deeply disturbed about the revelations of sexual misconduct by Tullian Tchividjian. As an organization that deals with the abuse of God’s lambs and the damage silence causes we feel compelled to speak,” the GRACE board said, in part.

Tullian Tchividjian lost his job at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as his marriage to his now ex-wife, Kim, in the summer of 2015 after the church discovered an adulterous affair between him and a parishioner on the church’s server.

“We were caught by the IT department of CRPC on the second week of June (2015). Tullian received a phone call from a staff member at the church saying that the contents of his phone could be read on the church’s public server. Tullian asked the staff member to delete everything,” according to a recent confessional by the [married] parishioner who gave her name only as Rachel.

Standerinfamilycourt  left this commentary response to the Christian Post article on their Facebook page:

Firstly, according to scripture (Matt. 19:6 and 8; Rom. 7:2-3 and 1 Cor.7:39), there is no such thing as an “ex” covenant wife, in reference to Kim Tchividjian,  whom Tullian  “divorced” in utter disobedience to #LukeSixteenEighteen..  Nor is there any such thing as a legitimate “wife” in remarriage following man’s divorce.   Jesus repeatedly stated with zero exceptions and zero ambiguity that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced person enters into an ongoing state of adultery.

 

How many of those clergy signing onto the (deserved) censures of Tullian Tchividjian nevertheless turn right around and contribute to the perverse incentives by routinely performing weddings that Jesus called adulterous?   Or by tolerating remarriage adulterers in their pastoral ranks?   Or by preferring an adulterously “married” clergyman to run a church over an involuntarily “divorced” shepherd who is now celibate in obedience to Christ (Matt. 19:12)?

 

Jesus, in a sense, rebuked Moses (Matt. 19:8) for choosing the cowardly path of regulating and “managing” marital desecration in the desert wilderness, instead of rooting it out and removing its perverse incentives, in order to remain faithful to the 7th through 10th commandments. Here we see the GRACE organization attempting to do the same thing in doubling down on standard, coventional counseling ethics rather than the sort of much-earlier biblical screening Paul described and insisted upon in the first place:

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach….

 

Titus 1:6

namely, if any man is above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

 

In the decades since the church opted to get in (literal) bed with the Sexual Revolution, we now popularly “understand” that phrase to mean “faithful to my current serial polygamy partner” – despite the one-way trip to hell that Paul repeatedly warned about for one dying in that ongoing sinful state.

 

What does this have to do with Tchividjian who committed his pastoral crimes while literally the husband of the God-joined wife of his youth?    Simple: his calculus looked at the Kent Hovinds, Shane Idelmans, Jim Bakkers and Israel Houghtons among his ministry peers, and he reached the perfectly rational conclusion that his career would suffer no meaningful long term damage from forsaking his covenant family and indulging his lusts.

By all means, take the common-sense secondary precautions described within to protect the lambs in the counseling office, but don’t expect these things to be the ultimate solution, if the same rotten pastoral foundation is left undisturbed.
As Jesus Himself stated to a group of earlier Pharisees,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
– Matt. 23:23

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

“Nana, Why Did You and Papaw Split Up?”

420_grandma_child_imgcache_rev1285259918902

by  Standerinfamilycourt

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.   You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.”
– Deuteronomy 11: 18-21

SIFC was down in Arkansas for our eldest granddaughter’s eighth birthday, having not seen them for almost 2 years, due to some exaggerated circumstances brought about by man’s divorce.   I was trying to take a short nap on a recent afternoon when our little one plops herself down on my guest bed and says, “Nana, why did you split up with Papaw?”   I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her until later where she had heard that.   Her 5 year old sister was in the room at the time as well.

Nana responded,

“Oh, baby. Nana never wanted that, and loves Papaw very much.  It’s not possible to get a divorce like that in God’s eyes!  Nana’s wedding ring is still on, because Papaw will always be Nana’s husband until one of us dies, and it’s sinful to go into a courtroom and get a piece of paper that says differently.   We have to pray for Papaw to stop living in sin so that he won’t go to hell — we don’t want Papaw to go to hell, do we?”

(Trigger alert:   those who do not walk with Christ, and who think obedience to His stated word is optional WILL be offended by this post.   It is already well-established that SIFC “lacks grace”, is “judgmental” and is “legalistic”.     Nolo contendre :  so was John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and James!)

I was able to talk to this precious one about how God created one-flesh when her mommy and daddy got married, when her uncle and aunt got married (she was the flower girl in that wedding at age 3), and when Nana and Papaw got married, about how God looks and sees only one person instead of two for as long as both are alive.   She repeated it back to me with a real sense of relief, and grasped it perfectly – that only death unglues people who are really married, (“right, Nana?”).   Right, baby.

Later in the evening, her parents decided to take advantage of my visit to squeeze in a date.   Caitlin has always loved bible stories right from her big-girl bible when tucking the girls in, so I decided to tell her the story of John the Baptist, Herod and Herodias, and said Herod had a real wife once (“like you, Nana?”) and Herodias had a real husband whose name was Philip.   They both thought they could divorce their real wife and real husband and be married to each other – but how come, Caitlin,  did God not join Herod and Herodias? (she got the reason right following our earlier talk about one-flesh).  We talked about why John the Baptist cared so much about whether Herod and Herodias went to heaven that he was willing to risk having his head cut off.   It went really well, but before I did the bible story, she asked me why Papaw’s bible was in my suitcase and why Papaw didn’t want his bible any more.   I was able to explain that when someone has made up his mind that he doesn’t want to obey Jesus anymore, they can’t stand what the bible says, but we can pray that God will make them really hungry again for His word.   She wanted to know why her daddy always got mad every time she visited with Papaw on skype, and why can’t she ever see him in person.   I did my best to say her daddy just wants to protect her from Papaw’s bad friends.    Good friends help you be closer to Jesus, but bad friends make you ashamed of Jesus and make you want run away from Him.

The next day, Caitlin’s mother expressed her angry displeasure that Nana had told their daughter about hell and what sort of things send people there if they die in the same.    Nana endured the indignity of being upbraided by the child she birthed and raised and discipled,  who deems all talk of hell to be a manipulation and control mechanism, to which she will not tolerate her daughter being exposed.    How could I not “respect her beliefs”?    (This “belief” seems to be a bit late-developing, to such an extent that it was a bit shocking to hear it coming out of her mouth.   More likely, the one-flesh discussion was equally offensive to her because it inherently discredits her husband’s aunt who is in a longtime lesbian union, and it violates her liberal politics in every possible way.)

They say that God has no “grandchildren”,  only “children”.    May the telling of this family story comfort many standers who are surely going through the same struggles in their own covenant families.

The morning after that, it was the son-in-law’s turn to suggest that imposing Nana’s  “belief system”  on others was causing chaos in their family,  was directly responsible for daily strife between them, and was causing him to question Nana’s emotional stability.    We had a lengthy exchange on the infallibility of rightly-divided scripture, and the fact that there are not multiple correct alternatives when comes to rightly dividing the same.    He suggested I was not “extending grace” to my prodigal husband of 40+ years in insisting his non-covenant marriage is what Jesus called it –  ongoing adultery.     I warned him that retreating on his prior resolve not to expose his daughters to that immoral relationship will not produce the relief he craves, nor will it end the barrage of emotional blackmail the family has been receiving from my husband, who refuses to see his granddaughters unless the family embraces his adulteress.

Can admitted non-believers convey “grace” to backslidden believers? Isn’t “grace” something that flows FROM GOD THROUGH those who are exclusively His? Isn’t the “grace” of non-believers false because they themselves reject God’s grace in their own lives because they reject the idea of repentance and obedience that is attached? Aren’t they the ones who love to point to Jesus saying “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”…but they look at you stupefied when you remind them of Christ’s next sentence: “Go and sin no more!”

If one denies or doubts that there is a real hell and people send themselves there by refusing to repent and obey Christ’s commandments (the bible says in Heb. 10 that this is insulting the spirit of grace) what can the purpose of grace even be?

“Grace” without love for God’s word or His order is certainly human kindness — so long as eternity isn’t considered.   It is sympathy and empathy — making fellow travelers on a journey to the same fiery destination feel better about their unrepented sin.   Such “grace”, however, is false because it cannot supply the ingredient that restores the kingdom of God and turns that traveler around on his or her wayward road.   You cannot convey to another that which you reject for yourself, due to its high price tag, can you?

Has Nana given up on God’s ability to redeem her entire household?    Not on her life!   Over the past eleven years, the devil has launched a series of fiery attacks against various other family members, and God has always shown up and shown off.    This time last year, another son was having a massive faith crisis to which Nana’s stand was also contributing, and an even more devastating reaction issued forth from this adult married son.    It is not for nothing that Paul wrote about taking up the full armor of God while shaking up the princedom of the power of the air in the name of Jesus Christ.    Nana will be praying against any exposure of our granddaughters to Papaw’s unrepented mockery of marriage, but if it occurs, at least Caitlin will have heard the truth about it.    We will have prayed together with our arms around each other for Papaw to repent and return to the Lord, then to his covenant family.   Nana makes no apologies whatsoever for not saying something  more culturally acceptable, like…

“Sometimes people who love each other try as hard as they can, but in the end, they realize they can’t live together.   It’s nobody’s fault, so we just ‘trust God’ and move on…”       (No such pablum for this Nana!)

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.   For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”     Matthew 10:34-36

 

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Excuse Me, Was I Addressing YOU? Stop Abusing 1 Cor. 7:26-27: “Debunk” Series – Part 4

RevAllWet2by Standerinfamilycourt

 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called…..Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 
I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
   Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife?   Do not seek a wife.  (NASB)

 

While we’re at it, PUL-EEEZE let’s stop abusing any part of
1 Corinthians 7 !!    Since verse 25 makes it abundantly plain precisely who Paul was addressing in this passage, and verse 39 unequivocally  ends any doubt it was somebody “called” while “married” to somebody else’s spouse, it is a crying shame that this blog even had to be written in the first place.   But, since the U.S. state that gave us unilateral divorce back in 1969 is also the state where the abundance of “grace” flows, and from where certain mega-church multimedia superstar ear-ticklers hail, and the divorce rate in said state is now reaching 70%, and since some of these celebrity hirelings also happen to run seminaries in this slip-shod manner without the slightest qualm of James 3:1, this sad duty must be carried out by SIFC and other faithful messengers.

We began this series of blogs by first establishing Jesus Christ’s core truth in Matthew 19:6 about the lifelong indissolubility of the covenant marriage of our youth, and rigorously applying each of the five basic principles of sound hermeneutics to that scripture passage:  Content, Context, Culture, Comparison and Consultation.    If you missed that installment, please start there.

Having done that, we will now do the same with each of the most egregiously mishandled passages that apostate theologians and church leaders seek to water down or refute that unpalatable truth with.    You may see these same scholars dutifully applying these principles to other biblical topics,  but when it comes to this one, they’ve never heard of “Herman”.      We will tackle these in subjective order of damage to the church and society, doing the worst of them first, the ones that trap people in a life that the bible makes clear will send them to hell if they don’t repent and sever the illicit “marriages”.    Hijacking a message intended for the betrothed, certainly has its appeal for those who have married somebody else’s spouse (and / or do not want to forgive their own), especially when the Apostle is saying “stay as you are”.   Context is everything, and obvious context is more than everything.

The Principle of CONTENT:
As we’ve done in all of the previous posts in this series, let’s go back to the Greek manuscript and the literal syntax of the passage, and look closely at some of the key words, and the verbs with their tenses to be clear on Paul’s meaning.

1Cor7_25(source:  www.scripture4all.org)

Verse 25:
Peri de                           tōn   parthenōn   epitagēn                 Kyriou         ouk  echo    gnōmēn         de            didōmi     hōs              ēleēmenos

Περὶ   δὲ                         τῶν παρθένων    ἐπιταγὴν             Κυρίου            οὐκ  ἔχω       γνώμην         δὲ             δίδωμι   ὡς                 ἠλεημένος

Concerning moreover the virgins a commandment of [the] Lord          not  I have   judgment          however I give         as     having received mercy

hypo     Kyriou       pistos           πιστὸ
ὑπὸ      Κυρίου       πιστὸς         εἶναι

from   [the] Lord trustworthy     to be


Verse 26:

Nomizō        oun touto   kalon   hyparchein   dia                     tēn   enestōsan      anankēn       hoti         kalon

Νομίζω         οὖν   τοῦτο καλὸν   ὑπάρχειν     διὰ                     τὴν     ἐνεστῶσαν   ἀνάγκην ,     ὅτι           καλὸν

I think   therefore this   good                   is     because of       the
present   necessity         that     [it is] good

anthrōpō     to     houtōs     einai
ἀνθρώπῳ   τὸ   οὕτως       εἶναι
for a man           as [he is]   to remain

Verse 27:

Dedesai                                       gynaiki                     mē   zētei       lysin   lelysai apo                                             gynaikos                      mē   zētei   gynaika

δέδεσαι                                      γυναικί ?         μὴ   ζήτει     λύσιν    λέλυσαι ἀπὸ                                                        γυναικός ?     μὴ     ζήτει   γυναῖκα .

have you been bound to a wife (woman)             not   seek   to be loosed have you been loosed from  a wife (woman) not  seek a wife(woman).

 

So who are these  παρθένος   (parthenos)   whom  Paul was counseling to “remain as they are?”   And what precisely is a “wife” here?

According to  Strong’s exhaustive concordance parthenos are:  “a maiden, virgin; extended to men who have not known women.”     According to  Thayers:  a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry, and so has kept his chastity“: Revelation 14:4, where see DeWette.  In ecclesiastical writings, one who has never had commerce with women; so of Joseph, in Fabricius, Cod. pseudepigr. Vet. Test. ii., pp. 92, 98; of Abel and Melchizedek, in Suidas (10 a. and 2450 b.); especially of the apostle John, as in Nonnus, metaphorically, ev. Joann. 19, 140 (John 19:26).

Is there any way in the world they can be someone whom God has previously made one-flesh (σὰρξ μία sarx mia) with another–against whom they’ve committed  chorizeto and  apoluo , according to Matt. 19:6?       Is Paul addressing the adulterously remarried and urging them to stay as they are?

So then,  how can a virgin be bound to a wife?    How can he be loosed from a wife?    We need to move on to the CONTEXT study to answer that.


The Principle of CONTEXT:
Paul was writing in response to a letter full of questions from the Corinthian church body about the place of marriage in the church.    He’s doing so after dealing with immorality, specifically the use of prostitutes in chapter 6, and the fornication between a young man and his stepmother in chapter 5 necessitating church discipline.  In dramatic fashion Paul has just ended chapter 6 by reminding us that in Christ our bodies do not belong to us;  we used to be fornicators, adulterers, sodomists and idolators, but now we are justified and are being purified,   Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit with which we’ve been permanently sealed once we accepted the bride price of that justification.    Keeping in mind that there were originally no chapter breaks in Paul’s letter (added by bible editors), he then seques into chapter 7 by also reminding us that when the Lord made us permanently one-flesh (Matt. 19:6) our bodies also came to belong to our husband or wife.

Paul proceeds to answer those marriage questions by partitioning off and addressing each status group very specifically.    Therefore, as we read 1 Corinthians 7, we must pay attention in each section to who he’s talking to.   We also must keep our cornerstone verse firmly in mind, (Matthew 19:6) and the one-flesh joining that can only be unjoined by death (as Paul confirms in ending this very passage, verse 39, as well as Romans 7:2-3).   For example, when Paul says “to the married“,  he would be referring to that one-flesh relationship, whether or not there was a purported dissolution under civil law.

Paul starts to address the questions concerning the “unmarried” and widows in verse 8:

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.    But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion  (NASB).

Here the term agamois (unmarried) is different from parthenos (virgin).     It certainly includes virgins, but also includes those who have been put away, who may or may not have a living, estranged spouse.   Based on Matthew 19:6, Romans 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39, it cannot mean that the marriage bond is dissolved if both original spouses are living.   It is noteworthy that 1 Corinthians 7 is the only book of the bible where the term agamois is actually used.    This term cannot mean,  for those who have irrevocably been made one-flesh with a spouse who is still living, that lustful desires now justify “marrying” another person and staying in an ongoing state that Jesus called adulterous on three separate occasions.    Paul starts out by saying “it is better for a man not to touch a woman.”    And Jesus says in Matthew 5:29-30, “if your eye or your hand ensnares [entraps] you, rip it out / off and cast it away” rather than be thrown into hell with a whole and intact body.

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(Greek:  skandalizó   σκανδαλίζω )

{Modern English translations take the considerable liberty of adding the translation phrase “with passion” to the literal and supportable phrase “burn“,  thereby losing the unfashionable original connotation consistent with Matthew 5:29-30, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21 and Jude 23.   Faithful older bibles simply say “burn”.]

Once we’re back to a faithful understanding that this is an admonition about avoiding hell, rather than merely avoiding our addicting lusts, we should be able to readily see that it does no good at all to simply exchange one path to hell for another, hence the latter part of verse 8 is addressed to the never-married and to the widows (divorced or otherwise), and not to those whom Paul tells us just 30 verses later – as does Jesus, that they are subject to their one-flesh marriage bond until a death severs it.

That being the case, then how do we explain how Paul can be speaking in verse 27 about virgins being bound to a wife?  (And unlike verse 15, this is indeed based on the term dedetai (deóδέδεσαι  for marriage bond).   We’re back to the centrality of the Hebrew kiddushin (betrothal contract – ketubah) for the explanation.  If only contemporary pastors would teach this very rich area, understanding of the indissolubility of holy matrimony would be greatly enriched, but they are loathe to do it.

Once a ketubah marriage contract proposal was accepted and the bride price paid, the bride became the legal wife of the groom approximately 12 months before the groom returned for his bride and consummated the marriage.   If the bride committed fornication (played the harlot) during this time, or lied about her virginity and it was discovered on the wedding night, she was brought before the priests and stoned to death unless her parents could produce the “tokens of her virginity” in the form of bloody bed sheets.     However, harlotry was not the only cause for seeking dissolution of the binding arrangement.   Other traditional (Mosaic) reasons may have included disease such as leprosy developing during the betrothal period, discovery of too-close a consanguinity, a bleeding disorder, and other causes short of provable infidelity (however, the arrival of Jesus eliminated all of the ceremonial uncleanness laws, made the elimination of capital punishment for allegations of adultery permanent).    The only way in all those cases to legally dissolve a ketubah was a writ of divorcement.   If the betrothed wife died before the wedding, was put away for fornication or some other cause, the virgin man was now loosed, not yet made one-flesh with his former bride, otherwise he was legally bound to the ketubah.

It’s also helpful to look at the verses 17 – 24 immediately preceding verse 25, where Paul is still addressing the married-but-not-intact,
“Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk…”,
just before he shifts to address the not-yet-married, or “virgins”.     He likens being called while in the married state and having it cause marital separation or alienation, first to circumcision (symbolic of Hebrew citizenship) or uncircumcision (Gentile citizenship).   Next he compares it to slavery.   None of these compared conditions are intrinsically immoral nor against God’s law –  a hugely important point.   All of these conditions are generally beyond the disciple’s control, though never beyond God’s power, nor possibly the disciple’s influence.
By contrast, choosing to marry another person while being estranged from a living one-flesh spouse, or choosing to remain married to someone else’s one-flesh spouse, is intrinsically immoral and violates God’s law.   It is fully within the disciple’s control to repudiate and turn from this ongoing state of sin, as traumatic as that requirement might be.   Nothing in all of chapter 7 gives any support for either entering into, or remaining in, this profoundly sinful condition.    Just imagine Paul saying, “were you called while entrapped in sex trafficking?…do not seek to be free”   or “were you called while in a homosexual civil union?  do not seek to be released” !

The verses that follow verse 27 allow the eligible to enter into holy matrimony, without giving the ineligible any license to marry adulterously.    However, all are warned not to become too comfortable with this present world, and to seek first the kingdom of God because the world is transitory.    Always in marriage, we are to love the Lord more than our spouse, then love our spouse out of love for Him.   Anything else constitutes idolatry, which gets to the heart of why remarriage while having a living covenant spouse is immoral and a hell-bound offense, if not fully repented.

The Principle of CULTURE:
Corinth was just the sort of hyper-sexualized culture that our Western culture has degenerated to in the past few decades.   Premarital fornication, especially prostitution was rampant.   Serial polygamy due to free and easy civil divorce was also epidemic.   Some in the church were pushing a reactionary asceticism, even for the married.   There were also those in the church who were of Jewish background who were betrothed under the traditional Hebrew kiddushin contract and were questioning whether it was  less godly to carry out the contracted marriage.   In addition, there were those who became Christ-followers while already married, and they wondered if they could be a true disciple while unequally-yoked.    Paul addresses each of these groups in turn in his letter, in response to the questions he had received.

A single temple in Corinth was reported to have 1,000 legal prostitutes, both male and female, while a young Corinthian man typically did not marry until age 30.   Using prostitutes until that time was legal and considered a normal expectation .   Quoting from Sharon L. Fitzhenry’s book, Jewish Marriage, Biblical Divorce and Remarriage, page 30,

Idol worshippers believed that they could join with the gods through sex with sacred prostitutes. Greco-Roman society encouraged young men with no other outlet to resort to prostitutes and slaves, but Paul warned, “Abstain! Avoid!” What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot [porne] is one body? . . . Flee fornication” (1Co 6:16-18).

In chapter 5, Paul rebukes a young man for living with his father’s wife (apparently, his stepmother).   It is unknown whether the father’s absence was due to death or divorce, nor whether the father’s marriage to this woman was also adulterous because it followed a previous divorce, all possibilities.   What is said is that there was such “fornication as was not found even among the pagans”, and Paul demanded that they put this man out of the church (which seemed not to realize the need to administer church discipline, and had to be told to do it.)

The Principle of COMPARISON
Scripture must always be interpreted in light of all other scripture on the same topic, and accomplished in such a way that there is no contradiction.    All canonized scripture is equally-inspired.  The Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.    Where there appears to be an inconsistency, disciplined investigation must continue until the source of the error is proven, and until scripture again aligns.   All of the relevant Old and New Testament scripture passages must be considered, and appropriate rigor demands that none be ignored as “analogy”, or dismissed as “hyperbole”.

We established earlier Matthew 19:6 as the cornerstone scripture for comparison (Part 1 of our series) before accepting a particular interpretation of any other other scripture.

So they [that is, the man who leaves FATHER and MOTHER to be joined by GOD to the wife of his youth] are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

In the same disciplined, hermeneutic approach as we’re pursuing here, we substantiated the following unchangeable facts from this passage:

(1)  from the point God joins husband and wife, they cannot be unjoined as long as both live

(2) God actively and instantly creates the joining

(3)  God commands and decrees that no act or law of men has any power or authority to unjoin holy matrimony.

Therefore,  we must reject any interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:26-27 that conflicts with these three immutable truths.    This alone should immediately rule out remarriage while having a living, estranged spouse as part of the mix.    Our holy, righteous God does not participate in a “marriage” where one of the spouses is still joined and covenanted with the spouse of their youth.    In other words,  the “joining” (gluing) of Matthew 19:6 is not replicated for legalized adultery even if a pastor performs the ceremony, any more than He would “join” two homosexuals as one-flesh who stand up in front of a pastor willing to perform a “wedding” over them.

Matthew 19:6 / Mark 10:8-9  –  established by the divine, instantaneous act the irrevocable reality of the one-flesh relationship, and its permanent inseverability by any act of man.     Since it is God who performs this miracle of one-flesh joining, and since it is never in His holy character to break covenant or enter into a competing covenant, this is never replicated in a union of the type that Jesus called adulterous in Matt. 5:32b; Matt. 19:9b and Luke 16:18.

Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18 –   Citing the King James version here, because virtually all modern English translations wrongfully omit the phrases, “whoever marries one who has been put away commits adultery” and “causes her to commit adulteryfrom Matthew 19:9, due to the deliberate choice of the bible translation team to translate a faulty and incomplete manuscript.   These are three separate occasions where Jesus redefined the popular understanding of adultery from the patriarchal view (going into somebody else’s civil current wife) to marrying anyone’s divorced partner of either gender under any circumstances.

Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39  –  Two pronouncements of Paul, echoing each other, that only death dissolves the covenant of holy matrimony and frees a previously married person to marry another.    On what basis was Paul saying this, if not Matthew 19:6, and the other exceptionless instances where Jesus is calling marriage to a divorced person adultery?     We add that it is in these two verses that the actual Greek word  (dedetai (deo) for marriage bond IS used:

A wife is bound for as long as time may live the husband of her if however shall have died the husband free she is to whom she wills to be married only in the Lord.  7:39

Gynē DEDETAI (deo) eph’ hoson chronon zē ho anēr autēs ean
de koimēthē ho anēr eleuthera estin hō thelei
gamēthēnai monon en Kyriō

Γυνὴ δέδεται ἐφ’ ὅσον χρόνον ζῇ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς ἐὰν
δὲ κοιμηθῇ ὁ ἀνήρ ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν ᾧ θέλει
γαμηθῆναι μόνον ἐν Κυρίῳ .
(1 Cor. 7:39)

Luke 14:26 –  Although chapter 7 begins with the counsel that to avoid sexual immorality, every believer should possess their own one-flesh covenant spouse [literally, the one “that is theirs / of them“], it does not follow that anyone is entitled to a sexual relationship.   Whether in an intact marriage or not, Christ-followers must each take up their cross and follow Him, loving Him most and their spouse second after that.   Central to loving Him is obeying His commandments.   Anything or anyone else put ahead of that is idolatry, which will also cause a believer not to inherit the kingdom of God, if unrepented.
    

Matthew 18:7, 23:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4 – Neither are we to interfere in any way with another person’s entry into the kingdom of God through maintaining an ongoing state of sin by willful direct violation of God’s law.  (Speaking of stumbling blocks, we’re citing the King James version here because virtually all modern English translations wrongfully omit adultery from Galatians 5:19 due to the deliberate choice of the Westcott & Hort late 19th century bible translation team to translate a faulty and incomplete manuscript, and to merge the separate single / married sins of fornication and adultery into the far more fungible “sexual immorality” in order to appear to justify civil divorce with remarriage while having a living covenant spouse.)

Hebrews 13:4 –  Jesus redefined adultery, repeatedly teaching that it was coveting and marrying someone else’s one-flesh.    This is another verse that confirms the wages of doing so and not repenting.   Adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at least.   It is therefore very unloving toward that second would-be spouse to be the cause of their perdition.

Exodus 20:3,14, 16,17  – the Ten Commandments were in effect a ketubah, the written evidence of an enduring covenant between Elohim and His chosen people.    In light of how Jesus redefined man’s notion of adultery, the seventh and tenth commandments also echo our understanding of Matthew 19:6.   Pursuing an unlawful relationship is setting an object above our obedience and devotion to God, and it is directly disobeying His Son – this is idolatry!   Jesus Himself called it adultery three separate times.  It is bearing false witness against the covenant spouses involved to claim that that which only God can unjoin is unjoined and dissolved by man’s paper.   It is coveting and stealing the one-flesh spouse who belongs until death to another.

The Principle of CONSULTATION:

Origen  (248 A.D.)
Just as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seems to be married to a man, while a former husband yet lives, so also the man seems to marry who has been divorced does not marry her but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her.

Innocent I  (417 A.D.)
It is manifest that when persons who have been divorced marry again both parties are adulterers.   And moreover, although the former marriage is supposed to be broken, yet if they marry again they themselves are adulterers, but the parties whom they marry are equally with them guilty of adultery; as we read in the gospel:
He who puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery; and likewise, He who marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery.

Augustine of Hippo (419 A.D.)
A woman begins to be the wife of no later husband unless she has ceased to be the wife of a former one.  She will cease to be the wife of a former one, however, if that husband should die, not if he commits adultery.

Peter Lombard (prior to 1160 A.D.)
The marriage bond still exists between those who, even if departing from one another, having joined themselves to others.

Thomas Aquinas (circa 1225-1274 A.D.)
Nothing happening after a marriage can dissolve it: wherefore adultery does not make a marriage cease to be valid.  For according to Augustine, “as long as they live they are bound by the marriage tie, which neither divorce nor union with another can destroy.

Isaac Williams (1802-1865)
‘What therefore God has joined let not man put asunder.’   Here our Lord sets aside the letter of Holy Scripture, in one case, in the passage in Deuteronomy, (which He speaks of as the command of Moses,) on account of the higher law of Christian holiness and perfection…and therefore this passage in the book of Genesis not only is spoken, as St Paul says it is, of the Sacramental union betwixt Christ and His Church, but also does signify that marriage is itself of Divine sanction, and the union formed by God, and necessarily indissoluble as such…for if God has joined, man cannot put asunder.

R.A. Torrey (circa 1890)  – Moody Bible Institute
“Look at this legalized adultery we call divorce.  Men marry one wife after another, and are still admitted in good society, and women do likewise.  There are thousands of supposedly respectable men married to other men’s wives, and thousands of supposedly respectable women married to other women’s husbands.”

7:25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single, whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments; here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for the things of the Lord.

I suppose – I think; I give the following advice.

For the present distress – In the present state of trial. The word “distress” (ἀνάγκην anagkēn, necessity) denotes calamity, persecution, trial, etc.; see Luke 21:23. The word rendered “present” (ἐνεστῶσαν enestōsan) denotes that which “urges on,” or that which at that time presses on, or afflicts. Here it is implied:

(1) That at that time they were subject to trials so severe as to render the advice which he was about to give proper; and,

(2) That he by no means meant that this should be a “permanent arrangement” in the church, and of course it cannot be urged as an argument for the monastic system.

What the “urgent distress” of this time was, is not certainly known. If the Epistle was written about 59 a.d. (see the introduction), it was in the time of Nero; and probably he had already begun to oppress and persecute Christians. At all events, it is evident that the Christians at Corinth were subject to some trials which rendered the cares of the marriage life undesirable.

It is good for a man so to be – The emphasis here is on the word “so” οὕτως houtōs; that is, it is best for a man to conduct “in the following manner;” the word so referring to the advice which follows. “I advise that he conduct in the following manner, to wit.” Most commentators suppose that it means “as he is:” that is, unmarried; but the interpretation proposed above best suits the connection. The advice given is in the following verses.

26. I suppose—”I consider.”

this—namely, “for a man so to be,” that is, in the same state in which he is (1Co 7:27).

for—by reason of.

the present distress—the distresses to which believers were then beginning to be subjected, making the married state less desirable than the single; and which would prevail throughout the world before the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ’s prophecy (Mt 24:8-21; compare Ac 11:28).

I suppose therefore that {u} this is good for the {x} present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

(u) To remain a virgin.

(x) For the necessity which the saints are daily subject to, who are continually tossed up and down, so that their estate may seem most unfit for marriage, were it not that the weakness of the flesh forced them to it.

I suppose, therefore, that this is good,…. The opinion of the apostle, the sentiment of his mind, his judgment in this case were, that it was better, more advisable and eligible, for persons that were single to continue so; his reason for it follows,

for the present necessity; by which is meant not the shortness of life, and the necessity of dying, when husband and wife must part, upon which trouble ensues; nor the various sorrows, cares, encumbrances, trials, and exercises that attend a conjugal state, as bearing and bringing forth, and bringing up children, provision for the family, &c. which are common to all, and at all times more or less; but the present time of persecution, under which the churches of Christ were; agreeably the Syriac version reads it, , “because of the necessity of the time”, or season: using the very Greek word in text; as the Targumists (q) also have frequently adopted it into their language, and use the phrase , “an hour, or time of necessity”, for a time of great affliction and distress, just as the apostle does here; because this was the present case of the Christians, he thought it most prudent for such as were single to remain so; since as they were often obliged to move from place to place, to fly from one city to another, this would be very incommodious for married persons, who might have young children to take care of, and provide for; see Matthew 24:19 upon a like account, the Jewish doctors advise to the same the apostle here does (r);

“from the day that the empire is extended, which decrees hard decrees upon us, and causes the law and the commandments to cease from us, and does not suffer us to circumcise children; it is right that we agree among ourselves, , not to marry, and beget children:”

I say it is good for a man so to be; to remain unmarried, to live a single life, to be a virgin; for the word “virgin”, as here used, relates to men as well as maidens, and denotes the single state of either. The apostle does not add, “even as I”; as he does in 1 Corinthians 7:8 which seems to confirm the conjecture already made, that he was not a bachelor, but a widower; otherwise he would doubtless have enforced this advice by his own example, as before.

(q) Targum Jon. & Hieros. in Genesis 22.14. & xxxviii. 25. & Targum Sheni in Esth. v. 1.((r) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 60. 2.

26. the present distress] The literal rendering of the word here translated distress is necessity, and it is so translated in 1 Corinthians 7:37. But it frequently in the New Testament, as in the Septuagint, has the sense of distress, as in St Luke 21:23; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:7. Here it means either (1) ‘the great tribulation’ which was to precede our Lord’s coming (see St Matthew 24.; St Mark 13.; St Luke 21.; Revelation 7:14), or (2) the general distress and anxiety which attended the profession of Christianity in those times.

so to be] “thus to be,” as explained in the next verse.

1 Corinthians 7:26. Διὰ τὴν ἐνεστῶσαν ἀνάγκην, for the present distress) The famine in the time of Claudius, Acts 11:28. It was very long and severe, especially in Greece. Therefore this counsel of Paul was, partly at least, suited to the time.—ἀνθρώπῳ, for a man) This term is intended to apply to both sexes.—οὓτως, so) as he is [in the same state in which he is]: comp. 1 Corinthians 7:27.

Verse 26.I suppose. St. Paul only states this modestly, and somewhat hesitatingly, as his personal opinion. For the present distress; rather, on account of the pressing necessity; in the urgent and trying conditions which at the present moment surround the Christian’s life, and which were the prophesied “woes of the Messiah” (Matthew 24:3, etc.). For a man; rather, for a person – whether man or woman. Be to be; that is, unmarried. The words are not improbably a quotation from the Corinthian letter. Otherwise we might explain the “so” to mean “as he is – whether married or unmarried.”

In this case, none of the scholarly commentators, nor any of the early church fathers pointed to any support for the divorced to remarry on account of 1 Cor. 7:26-27,  for the obvious reason that this passage addresses only the never-married.   To construe it otherwise directly conflicts with the core teaching of both Jesus and Paul, that to marry again while having an estranged living spouse was entering into a state of ongoing adultery.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war  according to the flesh,  for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ….   2 Corinthians 3-5

 

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