Tag Archives: Restoration

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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.

12654218_1678118972427516_7970617867512649034_n
(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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I Don’t Know My ‘Deo’ From My ‘Douloo’ – (Do You?) Stop Abusing 1 Cor. 7:15: The “Debunk” Series – Part 3

RevAllWet8by Standerinfamilycourt

‘…Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called [a]us [b]to peace.

 …A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband [a]is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
1  Corinthians 7:15 and 39

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”.

Of all the verses profoundly abused by contemporary me-evangelicaldom, this one had SIFC itching to start the series.   Part of it is purely visceral, based on a personal experience some 40 years ago, when a well-meaning church lady laid this one on her, and told her that she wasn’t accountable for the vows she had made as a very young bride, now that she had given her life to the Lord but had an unsaved prodigal husband.   The Holy Spirit spoke up loudly, and to the contrary in that moment, praise God!   It was many, many years before the knowledge came to surface as to why this woman was speaking for satan, but there was no doubt in that earlier moment that she was.    (A few years later, the young groom involved also surrendered his life to the Lord and became a new creation in Christ, which sealed him with the Holy Spirit, according to the word of God. )…..The other part of the itch to address this in a methodic and disciplined way is the total lack of excuse for the widespread dishonesty in handling this particular passage.    Unconscionable!

The benders of this verse would like to use the surface translation to justify divorce with a presumed “right” to remarry upon abandonment and “abuse” (leaving is certainly abusive, causing cruel anguish, after all, as evil things are indeed said), as well as for the purported “obeying the commandment” not to be yoked with unbelievers.

The Principle of CONTENT:
Is leaving effectively divorce in this verse?   What exactly does it mean to not be under bondage?   What is the consequence if God has called us to peace  — what is that supposed to look like?   How much scripture-bending has occurred in our contemporary English translation?    Let’s just go back to the Greek text and find out!

de ho apistos chōrizetai chōrizesthō ou DEDOULōTAI (douloo) ho
δὲ ὁ ἄπιστος χωρίζεται χωριζέσθω οὐδεδούλωται
If moreover the unbeliever separates [puts distance between]
himself, let him separate himself – not is UNDER BONDAGE

adelphos ē hē     adelphē      en tois toioutois 
ὁἀδελφὸς ἢ          ἡἀδελφὴ ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις
the brother or the sister       in  such [cases]

en de                        eirēnē …   keklēken     hymas     ho Theos
ἐν                              δὲεἰρήνῃ    κέκληκεν      ὑμᾶς       ὁ    Θεός 
into moreover    peace       has called           us               God.

A few questions:
(1) Does “unbeliever”  (apistos, ἄπιστος) in this case include once-saved backsliders, or just the unsaved?

(2) Does this “separation” (chōrizetai χωρίζεται) mean civil divorce or just abandonment?   Are there more specific Greek words for divorce (apoluo ἀπολύω /  aphiemi ἀφίημι) ?   If there are, why weren’t they used here?

(3)  Is “under bondage”  DEDOULōTAI (douloo)  the same as being “bound” (dedetai (deo) verse 39) ?

(4) What is this peace (εἰρήνη (eirēnē) we’re called to?

With the exception of “separates himself” (present indicative – continuous ongoing state), there’s a lot of perfect indicative verb tense used here – “not under bondage” , “called us into peace”, indicating a state of completion, something that has taken place in the past.   It seems, then that the latter two states have more to do with being a brother or sister in Christ, than a prodigal’s ongoing action of staying away from home.    Chorizetai is also much weaker word than apoluo, which is used in Matthew 19:9, “whoever divorces his wife….”    The marriage revisionists appear to want to take a passage about standing for one’s marriage and turn it into a license to take the matter into one’s own hands and pursue a vengeful remedy against sundry violations of the marriage covenant.   That said, we’ve started to segue into our discussion of ….

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.

In the surrounding verses, Paul had stated emphatically that separation and divorce should not occur for any reason (verse 10), but if it does for some reason, the Christ-following spouse is to stand for their marriage — that is, to remain celibate and seek reconciliation.    He then went on to say that the believing spouse sanctifies the unbelieving spouse, without really saying how this happens, but leaving a presumption that it’s day-to-day interaction in the difference of attitude.  But certainly, prayers of intercession play a part, as might the one-flesh relationship itself.   The latter two of these might not necessarily require day-to-day proximity since the battle is in the spirit realm for the soul of that spouse.   Countless restored couples can attest to the Lord working behind the scenes for years to defend the marriage covenant and pursue the prodigal spouse by the power of the Holy Spirit bringing him or her to the end of themselves and back into the kingdom of God.   Note that while Jesus refers directly to “the divorced person” (using the term ἀπολελυμένην (apolelymenēn) three different times in forbidding anyone to marry them, Paul never once addresses the deserted that way in this passage.

Before moving on to another group, Paul assures the believing spouse whose unbelieving spouse has separated from them (a form of persecution for the sake of the kingdom of God), that their rebirth into the kingdom left them free to follow Christ in the absence of their spouse, and rendered them a full recipient of the peace of God.    It is important to remind that verse 11 applies to these married for the duration, as long as their absent spouse remains alive.    Any other rendering that permits remarriage is quite simply out-of-context, with verse 11 as well as with verse 39, causing this passage to contradict itself, which cannot be.

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.   There were also 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 7:15 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.

Hence, when we say,   “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases,” and we’re talking about their original first marriage where neither partner had a prior living spouse,  this departure of the unbelieving spouse cannot be interpreted as a release from the covenant marriage bond.   (It might, however, be a release from an adulterous, subsequent remarriage tie, enabling reconciliation with one’s true one-flesh spouse.)    In the earlier section on CONTENT, we also proved directly that the actual Greek word used means something else, and does not mean “marriage bond”.

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)

1 Cor 6:1-8; 15-20 –  In addition to flatly stating that ongoing, unrepentant adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God,
1 Corinthians 6 forbids using the pagan civil court system to avoid the godly authority of church leadership, and very importantly, it contrasts the constitutional differences between the permanent, supernatural God-joining of holy matrimony with the transitory carnal joining of an unlawful, immoral relationship.   It describes slavery to the wrong thing, lust and idolatry, as well as the sin of bodily dragging Jesus into the immorality.   If we’re bought with a price by the Bridegroom, and our bodies are not our own to do as we please,  the basis for this is also Matthew 19:6.

1 Corinthians 7:10-16 –  This chapter addresses various groups in the church body, including “the married”,  reiterating that separation and divorce is not an option, but if separation occurs, the spouses are to remain celibate or they are to reconcile.   They are not to seek separation due to a difference in faith,  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband.”   This is as much an allusion to the one-flesh state that exists between them as it is to godly daily influence.   The instruction not to obstruct a spouse from departing who cannot abide the believing spouse’s discipleship has little to do with other causes of marital rupture, and the reference to the believing spouse not being bound refers to their freedom to follow Christ rather than a dissolution of the marriage bond.    All of this is perfectly consistent with Matthew 19:6.

1 Corinthians 7: 26-27 –  Another commonly-abused scripture in the same passage is used to justify remaining in a civil marriage that Jesus called adulterous.    Paul instructed those in the Corinthian church, in light of the persecution they were suffering, to remain as they were “called”,  meaning the state they were in when converted to Christ, also referring to slavery a few verses above.   However, verse 25 specifically addresses this to the virgins, and is once again referring to the kiddushin betrothal.    Therefore, his references to “wife” are mixed.    In the case of an indissoluble covenant with the wife of one’s youth, one is always “called” in the married state and required to cease and repudiate any accompanying state of sin.     The foundation for saying that one is called in the married state, not to a spouse of serial polygamy but to the covenant one-flesh spouse is, of course, Matthew 19:6 (also Luke 16:18  and Mark 10:11-12).

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.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17 –  When it comes to disputing the indissolubility of holy matrimony, this scripture passage has been abused by no less than several Roman Catholic popes throughout history, the worst being Innocent III who instituted the vile practice of marriage “annulment” partially on that basis in the 13th century, and paired it with an abusive rendering of 1 Corinthians 7:15.  It’s also been repeatedly abused by Protestant evangelical pastors with the education to know better.   In addition to the direct conflict with 1 Corinthians 7:14 and 39 that results from attempting to do this, it is clear that God was honoring the covenant one-flesh marriages He had joined, respectively, of Herod and Herodias when they were rebuked by John the Baptist for their adulterous remarriage.    Luke notes twice in Acts 16:1-3 that Timothy’s mother was a believer and his father was a Greek unbeliever, whom God had also joined as one-flesh.    Because one-flesh is inseverable except by death, and a covenant in which God is a party cannot be dissolved, 2 Corinthians 6:14 simply cannot be retroactively applied.   Even if this passage justified separation, it does not follow that marrying another while this put away spouse is alive would not be hell-bound adultery.

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.

Galatians 4:30-5:1 –  We have freedom in Christ; we are free to act and obey only Him, from our heart.   If our spouse refuses to be subject to Christ, they are out of order, but our one-flesh state is not severed by that.   Christ will be our spouse (Isaiah 54) during this time.   Our only duty is to stay celibate and to intercede faithfully for them,  leaving the door open always for reconciliation and realizing that their eternity and redemption depend on it.

As always, we’ve endeavored to bring all of the directly relevant scriptures into the COMPARISON exercise for the one being examined.   If we happened to miss one, please use the blog Comments to bring it to our attention.

 

The Principle of CONSULTATION
Whom is it most appropriate to consult on the authority of scripture which seeks to “sanctify” marriage to another while still having a living one-flesh spouse?     Due to the carnality of man which tends to escalate over time, that is a very important question which requires a strong knowledge of church history to reliably answer.    Hopefully, we’ve made it clear with indisputable evidence up to this point exactly where Jesus and the Apostles (including Paul) stood.   They discipled the next generation of followers of The Way, who in turn discipled the successive generations of the ante-Nicene church fathers.   It makes sense therefore to start the consultation with the writings of those who knew the Apostles (for example, Luke and Mark), and with those whom the next generation  discipled.

We need to be a bit skeptical while consulting theologian commentators from the time  of the Reformation forward when it comes to this topic.    Some will be biased in defense of the heretical Westminster Confession of Faith, which dominated mainline Protestant Churches from the 17th century, and others will be swayed by the tampering with word translations that began to occur in the lexicons published after the latter half of the 19th century.    On this basis, an equal number of later scholars will refute and discredit the many writings of the disciples of the Apostles, literally lapsing into “Reverend All-Wet” mode, and only superficially applying the  principles of disciplined hermeneutics  that we’ve just stepped through together.    Two free downloadable scholarly books are available, here and here, that will be very helpful in carrying out the CONSULTATION step for almost every scripture we’ll be examining in this series.   Our Church Fathers and Church Wolves series will also be historically helpful.        What follows below is intended to be a sampling and not exhaustive.

Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D)
And, “Whoever shall marry her who is divorced from another husband, commits adultery.”   And, “There are some who have been made eunuchs of men, and some who were born eunuchs, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake; but all cannot receive this saying.”  So that all who by human law, are twice married, are in the eye of our Master sinners, and those who look upon a woman to lust after her.

Athenagoras (177 A.D.)
For we bestow our attention; not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions, that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a specious adultery.   “For whoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and marries another commits adultery;” not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to marry again.

Clement of Alexandria (circa 215 A.D.)
Now that the scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, “You shall not put away your wife except for the cause of fornication,” and it regards as adultery the marriage of those separated while the other is alive.   The Church cannot marry another, having obtained a bridegroom;  each of us individually has a right to marry the woman he wishes according to the law; I mean here first marriage.

Gregory Nanzianzen (circa 325-389 A.D.)
For I think the word here seems to deprecate second marriage.  For, if there were two Christs, there may be two husbands or two wives; but if Christ is One, one Head of the Church, let there also be one flesh, let the second be rejected…now the [civil] Law grants divorce for every cause, but Christ not for every cause; but He allows only separation from the whore; and in all other things He commands patience.

Ambrose of Milan (333-397 A.D.)
Therefore, the right to marry is given you, lest ye fall into a snare and sin with a strange woman.  Ye are bound to your wife; do not seek release because you are not permitted to marry another while your wife lives.

John Chrysostom (circa 347-407 A.D.)
‘Let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.’….’What then if he will never be reconciled?’ one may ask.   You have one more mode of release and deliverance.  What is that?  Await his death.  For as the (consecrated) virgin may not marry because her Spouse always lives, and is immortal; so to her who has been married it is then only lawful [to remarry] when her husband is dead.

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.

Jerome (circa 340-420 A.D.)
The apostle has cut away every plea and has clearly declared that, if a woman marries again while her husband is living, she is an adulteress.   You must not speak to me of the violence of a ravisher,  a mother’s pleading, a father’s bidding, the influence of relatives, the insolence and the intrigues of servants, household losses.   A husband may be an adulterer,  a sodomite, he may be stained with every crime and may have been left by his wife for his sins; yet he is still her husband as long as he lives; she may not marry another.

 

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.)
It cannot be correctly affirmed either that the husband who puts away his wife because of immorality and marries another does not commit adultery.   For there is adultery, also, on the part of those who marry others after the repudiation of their former wives because of immorality…If everyone who marries another woman after the dismissal of his wife commits adultery, this includes one who puts away his wife without cause of immorality and the one who puts away his wife for this reason.

“Ambrosiaster” (370 A.D. – rogue scholar emulated by Erasmus)
The reason why Paul does not add, as he does in the case of the woman, but if he departs he should remain as he is because a man is allowed to remarry if he has divorced a sinful wife.   The husband is not restricted by law as a woman is, for the head of the woman is the husband.

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.

Pope Innocent III (circa 1200 A.D. who instituted “annulment”)
Be not willing to cohabit without blasphemy of the Divine name, or without drawing him onto mortal sin, he who is thus deserted may pass over to a second marriage if he will…

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.

The Westminster Confession of Faith – 1649 (observed by most mainline Protestant denominations and adopted by popular vote of clergy and Members of (British) Parliament)
V.  Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.

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.

The Assemblies of God (1973) -DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE Application of General Scriptural Principles (also adopted by popular vote of clergy following the enactment of unilateral divorce in several U.S. states, and removing 60 years’ by-laws that required pastors to be disfellowshipped for performing weddings where either the bride or groom had an estranged living spouse.)
Point 5 – Paul forbade Christians to take the initiative in divorce simply because their partner was an unbeliever….pages 4-5)… “While making every effort to preserve the marriage, when the unbelieving spouse was definitely unwilling to continue, the believer should not, at all costs, attempt to restrain him/her. In these cases, abandonment, by implication, may be interpreted as grounds for divorce and remarriage.”
Point 7 – The Right to Remarry…  “Paul has already addressed the problem of abandonment in verse 15 and shown that “A believing man or woman is not bound [that is, free to remarry] in such circumstances.”     

Dr. James Dobson (circa 1990)
There are three occasions when divorce and remarriage appear to be justified in scripture….3. When one mate is an unbeliever and willfully and permanently deserts the believing partner

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
But if the unbelieving depart.
—Supposing, however, the desire for separation arises from the unbelieving partner, how is the Christian partner to act? If the married life, for example, be made intolerable by the unbeliever urging the believer to join in such religious acts as conscience cannot approve, the Apostle’s previous commands for continued union do not hold good: a brother or a sister, in such cases, is not bound to insist upon the continuation of the union. “Let the unbeliever, if he so desire, depart.”

This permission is in no way contrary to our Lord’s permission of divorce on only one ground, for the Apostle has carefully reminded his readers that our Lord’s command does not apply to the case of a marriage between a believer and a heathen. In ouch cases we have no command from Him.

A brother or a sister.—That is, a Christian. In such cases, when the unbelieving partner wishes to depart, let him or her do so. The Christian partner is not, under such circumstances, bound by the marriage to continue together. Their doing so might destroy that very peace in which (not “to peace” as in the English) God has called us.

Benson Commentary
1 Corinthians 7:15-17
. But if the unbelieving party depart, let him, or her depart — And take the course they think best. A brother or sister — A Christian man or woman; is not under bondage — Is at full liberty; in such cases: but — Let it be always remembered; God hath called us to peace — To live peaceably with them, if it be possible: and therefore it ought to be our care to behave in as inoffensive a manner as may be, in all the relations of life; that so, if there must be a breach, the blame may not be chargeable upon the Christian. For what knowest thou, &c. — As if he had said, It is of great importance that you should conduct yourselves properly toward those who thus make, as it were, a part of yourselves, and that you should adorn the gospel by the most amiable and engaging behaviour possible, that thereby the unbeliever may be gained over to Christianity. And surely the everlasting happiness of the person, now the companion of your life, will be more than an equivalent for all the self-denial to which you may be required at present to submit. See on 1 Peter 3:1-2. But — However it be, whether the unbeliever be converted or not; as God hath distributed to every man — The various stations of life, and various relations, let him take care to discharge his duty therein; for the gospel disannuls none of them: And as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk — “By declaring here, and 1 Corinthians 7:20; 1 Corinthians 7:24, that men were bound, after their conversion, to continue under all the moral and just political obligations, which lay on them before their conversion, the apostle condemned the error of Judaizers, who taught, that, by embracing the true religion, all the former obligations, under which the convert lay, were dissolved. The gospel, instead of weakening any moral or just political obligation, strengthens them all.” This I ordain in all churches — This I lay down as a general rule for all Christians to observe, and insist on it, as a matter of the greatest importance.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
7:10-16 Man and wife must not separate for any other cause than what Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common among both Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is a Divine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God’s appointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men, Ro 12:18, therefore to promote the peace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers. It should be the labour and study of those who are married, to make each other as easy and happy as possible. Should a Christian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity to give the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily for the conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation the Lord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done to promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
But if the unbelieving depart – If they choose to leave you.

Let him depart – You cannot prevent it, and you are to submit to it patiently, and bear it as a Christian.

A brother or a sister is not under bondage … – Many have supposed that this means that they would be at liberty to marry again when the unbelieving wife or husband had gone away; as Calvin, Grotius, Rosenmuller, etc. But this is contrary to the strain of the argument of the apostle. The sense of the expression “is not bound,” etc. is, that if they forcibly depart, the one that is left is not bound by the marriage tie to make provision for the one that departed; to do acts that might be prejudicial to religion by a violent effort to compel the departing husband or wife to live with the one that is forsaken; but is at liberty to live separate, and should regard it as proper so to do.

God hath called us to peace – Religion is peaceful. It would prevent contentions and broils. This is to be a grand principle. If it cannot be obtained by living together, there should be a peaceful separation; and “where” such a separation has taken place, the one which has departed should be suffered to remain separate in peace. God has called us to live in peace with all if we can. This is the general principle of religion on which we are always to act. In our relation to our partners in life, as well as in all other relations and circumstances, this is to guide us. Calvin supposes that this declaration pertains to the former part of this verse; and that Paul means to say, that if the unbelieving depart, he is to be suffered to do so peaceably rather than to have contention and strife, for God has called us to a life of peace.

 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.  It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
GALATIANS 4:31-5:1

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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




Let’s Stop Popular Scripture Abuse: The “Debunk” Series – Part 1

Part 1 - What Hill...by Standerinfamilycourt

Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.   Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.     –  2 Timothy 2:14-15

Fans of our Facebook page “Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional” have been regaled recently with the foibles of a church leader many of us would unmistakably recognize (even if, like the “Proverbs 31 Woman“, he’s a composite),  one “Reverend All-Wet“.    Our cartoon evangelical hireling isn’t intended merely to skewer the post-“no fault” clergy, but use a bit of winsome humor, or outright sarcasm if necessary, to point out the considerable scripture-bending that has caused church-salt to lose its savor over the past 40 years.    We also aim to teach the basics of hermeneutics along the way,  and get our fans to start thinking systematically in those terms for purposes of testing the various doctrines that blow their way from the harlot church.

There’s only so much that can be accomplished with a meme, however.    A blog series seemed like a good idea to expand on effective antidotes to the perilous misadventures of “Rev. All-Wet”.    If dying in a state of remarriage adultery were not a heaven-or-hell issue according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Hebrews 13:4 and Revelation 21:8,  we’d indeed be more loving to stay quiet about it, but since it is, it behooves us to prove it in a disciplined way that gets to the “why” this is so, and more loving to undertake the effort.     Upon the June 26, 2015 total melt-down of the U.S. Supreme Court, Barak Obama brazenly crowed over 50-state-sanctified sodomy (man’s futile attempt to join what only God can join) , “#LoveWins”.   We are faithfully pronouncing over serial polygamy (man’s futile and violent attempt to unjoin what God refuses to unjoin) , #LoveWarns!  

You may be asking, what do you mean by “hermeneutics” ?     Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists the following definition:

Definition of hermeneutics:

  1.  plural but sing or plural in constr :  the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)

  2.   a method or principle of interpretation

    When we attempt to “rightly divide” the word of God, we must cross languages (sometimes more than once), cultures and centuries or millennia to do so while preserving the original meaning of a scripture passage, all  the while keeping in mind what Paul found it necessary to remind his protégé Timothy of:

     All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17

     

If we are neither disciplined nor conscientious in our workmanship of understanding God’s word, it will affirm sin rather than rebuke it, and the training we will receive will be in self-will rather than righteousness.   Humanistic impulses will take over, as the prophet Jeremiah described:

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

Faithful application of hermeneutics has a very interesting effect on the self-interested enemies of God’s truth.   This either shuts their mouths and causes them to retreat (hopefully to ponder, study further and eventually repent), or it causes them to act like an angry parrot with a repertoire of one or two unsupportable biases, repeated in an incessant loop, sometimes accompanied by ad hominem personal attacks.    It’s a painful exercise, but if refuted courteously, others will be reading and benefitting.

RevAllWet5

In successive installments, we will be applying a framework of five of the most basic concepts to each of the most-abused scriptures commonly mis-rendered to justify performing / entering, or remaining in marriages following man’s divorce that Jesus and Paul repeatedly called adulterous.    However, in this introduction, it seems right to apply the very same rigor to the most central of the scripture passages that formed the basis for what both Jesus and Paul had to say on the matter.   The purpose is not merely to affirm the belief and actions of the already-obedient, but to give them effective tools to start changing the culture in the church and perhaps in their own families or other sphere of close personal influence.    Learning this discipline is the most respectful way to approach the Rev. All-Wets in our lives.

How does one choose wisely “the hill to die on” when it comes to the indissolubility of holy matrimony?    These are only this blogger’s reflections, submitted for the reader’s consideration:

(1) we imitate Jesus, as best we can
(2) we examine what scripture the truth-opponents most avoid, “like kryptonite”
(3) we make sure it’s foundational to the creation, just as Jesus did.

In SIFC’s opinion, the scripture passage that best fulfills all three of these criteria is indeed the very definition of marriage given by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 (echoed in Mark 10:7-9, and by Paul in Ephesians 5:28-31):

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?   So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

With regard to considerations (1) and (3),  if this is the “hill to die on”,  we are imitating Jesus as He confronted the Rabbi “All-Wets” of His day, taking them back to the Garden and the Creation, just as He actually did.

To be sure, there are a quartet of scriptures universally dismissed, ignored, avoided and explained away by the remarriage apologists per consideration (2) that our cartoon series parodies, two by the mouth of Jesus, and two by the mouth of Paul.   Three of these represent the “what” more than they do the “why“, because they do not take us back to the Garden the way Matthew 19:6 does.    They are corroborating evidence under the COMPARISON principle.

We will therefore rigorously apply the framework of the hermeneutical basics (Content, Context, Culture, Comparison and Consultation) to Matthew 19:6 in this installment, and once having done so, the nuggets of truth we pull out of that passage should trump all conflicting arguments around interpretations of other scriptures since by principle Holy Spirit-breathed scripture cannot contradict itself, and in fact, heretical interpretations of those scriptures readily fall apart when the same rigor is applied to those, as we’ll do in upcoming installments.

Our Hill to Die On:   Matthew 19:6

The Principle of CONTENT:
We must first agree with certainty on what Matthew 19:6 actually says on the surface.   This is a function primarily of accurate manuscript / text selection, and accurate language translation.   One of the difficulties with the book of Matthew in general is that it was most likely originally written in Hebrew, then later translated into Greek before it was translated into English.   While Greek texts of Matthew were circulated and are available in many versions, only one such manuscript written in the original Hebrew has reportedly survived.   It is reportedly on display in Jerusalem, and is disputed.    We will rely on the Greek interlinear text tools and the literal syntax for our analysis of content, in order to remove any translation bias that may have occurred in your favorite bible version in more contemporary times.

Part 1 - Matt 19six

Source:  www.scripture4all.org   Greek Interlinear Bible

We must be accurate and faithful, not only with word translation but also with the parts of speech including verb tense, active or passive, imperative voice, etc.  that can greatly impact the meaning.

BiblehubFullParseKey
As a point of awareness, our scripture4all.org source above is the “Authorized Version” (also known as the Received Text) derived from the Antioch manuscripts which were translated by Dutch Catholic Humanist, Erasmus Desiderius (who was no actual “fan” of marriage permanence, according to the bulk of his various writings).    This translation went on to become the basis for the King James Bible, Geneva Bible and most other reliable older versions.   It is of note that this manuscript is NOT the basis for any of the contemporary English translations, because  occultist  / universalist scholars Westcott & Hort  rejected the Antioch manuscripts in favor of the weaker and less complete Alexandrian manuscripts which became the foundation of NIV, NASB (and other Revised Standard Versions), CEB, etc.     With some passages, notably Matthew 19:9, this is a really big deal due to missing or omitted crucial phrases, but with Matthew 19:6, all the manuscripts appear to agree with one another.

All of the above being the case, we are ready to look again at the translated Greek text, word by word, in literal syntax and merge the scripture4all.org  translation with the biblehub.com translation, taking the parts of speech into proper account:

Biblehub_Matt19_6

We’re almost finished with our analysis of CONTENT, but there are some key words highlighted in yellow where it’s useful to look at alternative words that appear elsewhere in the New Testament which Jesus did not choose to use, and also see where else (what context) the words He did use appear in scripture.    We’ve covered this in detail in two previous blogs,  May, 2015 and November, 2015.   Our takeaway from this part of the exercise is that the words for “joining” and “one-flesh” are used exclusively  in connection with God’s active role in supernaturally making them one (otherwise they could be two again, as contemporary man vainly imagines God, through His Son, to be a liar),  and covenanting with them in holy matrimony, but only where the bride and groom both meet the criteria in Matthew 19:4, alluding to Genesis 2:21-24 – opposite gender and leaving father and mother, that is, not already (still) joined to another because death has not occurred to sever the prior union.

Therefore, from our thorough analysis of  CONTENT, we can conclude with authority that all three of the “truth nuggets” identified above were communicated infallibly by the mouth of Jesus:

(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.

By extension, (and supported by the strong evidence of the unique words used, as contrasted with those used later by Paul in 1 Cor. 6:16),  joining that is withheld by God and therefore accomplished only by the carnal means of men, is immoral regardless of men’s civil laws, and it constitutes either adultery or fornication (or sodomy, more recently).    Unless repented of by terminating the relationship, there is forfeiture of entry or inheritance in the kingdom of God.    We can plainly see from this the basis for all of the other strong statements about the indissolubility of holy matrimony, as we’ll develop when we talk later about COMPARISON with other scriptures.   This is the “why” to the “what” of all those other scriptures.   It is foundational to the Creation, as Jesus Himself pointed out in voicing them.

The Principle of CONTEXT:
Most heretical interpretation of marriage scriptures flunk this test when closely examined.   Those that attempt to fit context around their particular theory draw it far too narrowly, which is hard not to do with the topic of marriage.    After all, holy matrimony is God’s first and His most sacred symbol, not only  for His relationship with His people, but also for His call to holiness itself.   This symbolism threads its way through every book of the Old and New Testaments, is reflected in each of the successive covenants God made with His people, and culminates in the last verses of Revelation:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.”….He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.        REVELATION 22:17,20

God Most High cast His Son as the Bridegroom, both in prophecy and in His self-proclamations as He walked out His ministry on earth, but not just any sort of bridegroom.   Jesus was cast as the specific sort of Bridegroom that pays the price for a pure, virgin bride as part of the Hebrew betrothal custom called kiddushin.   Our justification upon agreeing to accept the offer of betrothal is our ketubah.    Though the consummation is in the future, we are the legal “wife” with full inheritance rights, unless we choose not to show up for the marriage supper.   However, even if we make that choice, He doesn’t tear up the ketubah.    We always have the option to seek forgiveness after again forsaking all others, and resume our journey toward that marriage supper spoken of in Revelation, and spoken of by Jesus in the Upper Room.    This is the broader context of Matthew 19:6, along with the Genesis account of the first wedding, and Paul’s explicit analogy in Ephesians 5: 31-32.

The narrower context of the exchange in Matthew 19, leading up to the definitive words that begin in verse 6 and culminate in verse 12, reaffirming the total indissolubility of covenant holy matrimony, and shutting the door on the prior acceptability of all deviations, including polygamy and divorce, is His confrontation by the Pharisees, following three or four important events that had preceded:

(1) The Roman occupation had removed the ability of the Jews to carry out the Mosaic law for stoning that applied to porneia  and moicheia under Deuteronomy 22.    This upped the ante on civil divorce as a substitute means of disposing of unwanted wives.

(2) Jesus had just publicly lauded His cousin John the Baptist, who had recently been beheaded by Heriod after rebuking his adulterous mutual divorce and remarriage to Herodias, saying “return your brother’s wife — it is not lawful for you to have her.”

(3) A recent attempt by the Pharisees to entrap him had failed when He was brought the woman taken in adultery — related to (1) above.

(4) Jesus had previously delivered the Sermon on the Mount, where He had informed his audience that He was raising the moral standard on a host of Mosaic laws, not the least of which was marriage.   He began by warning them that to lust after another man’s wife, and not be content with one’s own wife would send them to hell if they acted on it.   (There was really no indication that this wasn’t the case all along, even under Moses, but under the New Covenant, there would no longer be atonement available through animal sacrifices, so obedience to Him must begin to come from the heart.)  
Furthermore, He was redefining adultery, no longer to be based solely on an act of the woman, but now it would be based on either gender marrying somebody else’s one-flesh spouse while that person was still living.  This was the first of three recorded occasions where He repeated the identical message without any exceptions that pertained to the 3rd party involved.

For the Pharisees, there was also no mistaking, due to the Hebrew betrothal custom and (1) above that when Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:32 of “except for a report  of unchastity” [logou  porneias],  He was not speaking of a consummated wife by any stretch of the imagination.   This could only be applied to the betrothed legal wife who was the subject of an unconsummated  ketubah.    Speaking as God, He was, in effect slamming the door on “Plan B” which at various earlier points in their history following Moses’ death, they accustomed themselves to resorting to when periodically deprived of the power to carry out stoning.    All of the above created the incendiary backdrop for another Pharisaical attempt to trap and incriminate Jesus, hoping Herod would be motivated to do to Jesus what he had just done to John the Baptist.

Most contemporary Protestant commentaries fixate on the running dispute between the Hillel and Shammai camps of the Pharisees, while presuming in a weakly-supported manner that Jesus sided with the Shammai’s  because of the “exception” He mentioned in  Matthew 5.   This is not only an inept analysis, it is also a total red herring!    Full context shows that Jesus flatly rebuked both schools, and Moses along with them!   Jesus brushed aside their dispute and moved the whole conversation to a place of impact in the kingdom of God, as can be seen in the private discussion with His disciples in the house afterward, verses 10-12:

The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.   But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.  For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.   He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Sometimes the context that immediately follows the passage being interpreted is just as important as the context that preceded it.   In this instance, if Jesus were merely agreeing with the “conservative” Shammais, verses 10-12, the discussion of becoming a eunuch for the kingdom of God would have no context, nor would the incredulous statement of dismay by the disciples.    But the parallel account in Mark 10 strengthens it even further because Mark, who was not there but spent years ministering with Peter among the Roman Gentiles, was impressed enough with the strength and firmness of what Jesus said that day to drop the gender distinction, indicating that was only relevant in the patriarchal Hebrew culture:

In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her;  and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

The Principle of CULTURE:
Much has already been covered concerning the cultural considerations in interpreting Matthew 19:6 as rendering holy matrimony altogether indissoluble by any act of men.   The central element is without question the tradition of the Hebrew betrothal, and well as the politics around the on-again, off-again stoning law established by Moses.    Other elements that factor in include the long history of polygamyespecially among the great patriarchs of Israel, the divorce practices learned from among the Egyptians and other pagans prior to and during the Exodus that corrupted the Hebrews and multiplied their adulteries.   The final element is the ritual animal sacrifice that atoned for personal iniquity on a daily basis, which ended shortly after the Mosaic covenant gave way to the Messianic covenant which shifted men’s moral responsibility to maintaining a pure heart in taking up their personal cross and following Him.    Not to love Jesus more than any possession or family relationship was now deemed to be idolatry, which was another for which one forfeited their inheritance in the kingdom of God.

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”.

The most relevant scriptures from Genesis to Revelation are:

Genesis 2:21-24  –  Matthew 19:6 is verbatim Genesis 2:24, but verses 21-23 give us even richer context.   The covenant wife of a man’s youth is “flesh of his flesh” and “bone of his bones” precisely because of God’s supernatural role in every holy matrimony joining.   God did not take a slab of ribs out of Adam, nor did He send Adam into a second sleep to supply a replacement when Eve did not turn out to be perfect.   There was no provision whatsoever for severing their one-flesh relationship except death.   That’s precisely why Jesus took the Pharisees back to the Garden, and why it wasn’t even necessary to say in the Pharisees’ hearing (because they already knew) the private elaboration He saved for His disciples, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her;  and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

Exodus 20:14, 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.

Deuteronomy 22:13-22  – Under Mosaic law, the penalty for either adultery by a fully-consummated wife (verse 22), or fornication by a betrothed wife (verses 13-21) under a ketubah, was stoning, not dissolution of the marriage by dismissal.   This is fully consistent with the truth that death was required to unjoin one-flesh, which Moses fully understood.

Deuteronomy 22:23-29 – This passage demonstrates a situation where justice required that an unbetrothed virgin who was raped was made legally equivalent to a consummated wife, necessary because would now never be offered a ketubah, therefore was robbed of her opportunity to become one-flesh with a future husband.   Not only was her rapist required to marry her, but he could not divorce her all his days.   This was necessary because of the possibility that her rapist was already married, so without this provision, she might otherwise not be made equal with the one-flesh wife, but instead subject to the law in Deuteronomy 24:1-4.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 –   Although the Pharisaical controversy with Jesus (and also the text of Malachi 2) shows that the system had broken down at some point, but under Moses, “divorce” constituted release from the ketubah, and was reserved for situations where supernaturally God-joined one-flesh did not yet exist, or could never exist (and not situations involving sexual immorality because that was defined in Deuteronomy 22).   Examples included:  “some indecency” or “some nakedness” such as an undisclosed disease in the bride that resulted in ongoing ritual uncleanness – such as leprosy or bleeding;  an unhappy concubine who had been captured in war;  subsequent spouses in polygamy;  too-close consanguinity, and the like.    The reason the husband could not take such a divorced wife back was because the marriage could never be lawful either before or after it occurred.   The obvious analogy with today is the non-covenant wife of remarriage adultery  who must be relinquished permanently in order for both spouses to have a chance to enter heaven.    [This is one passage that is rampantly abused by commentators and ministry leaders, and will be the subject of our next blog in the series.]

Jeremiah 3:1-14 –  This is the passage where the prophet draws an analogy between the covenant violation of adultery and the covenant violation of worshipping other gods (idolatry).   Because it seems to imply in verse 8 that God “divorced” Israel,  this is another widely-abused passage, both in terms of claims that God instituted and / or allows divorce,  and to justify replacement theology, our series will address this passage as well.   There is much to get into with word translation and context that we will cover at that time.   For now,  suffice it to say that the book of Revelation, as well as the march of 20th century history clearly demonstrates that God’s covenant marriage bond with Israel and Judah were violated but certainly not dissolved, and verse 14 is quite explicit in its corroboration of our understanding of indissolubility described in Matthew 19:6,
“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion….”

Hosea 1, 2 – In another prophetic analogy similar to Jeremiah, this prophet was told by God to marry a known prostitute.   The one-flesh joining occurred, despite her past, due to their vows before God.  Her return to prostitution after taking those vows did not dissolve their covenant, despite his anguished declaration (2:2),
For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband...”  nor did he have her stoned under Mosaic law, as he could have.   Instead, he buys her back from off the slave auction block, saying (2:14, 16, 19-20),

“…Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her…….It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord,   “That you will call Me Ishi  [husband]
And will no longer call Me Baali [master]….I will betroth you to Me forever;  Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord.”

It is as if God set the extreme story of Hosea to show that no act of men dissolves the marriage covenant of our youth, nor unjoins one-flesh.

Ezra, chapters 9 and 10 –  Over 100 priests were found to have entered into prohibited marriages (perhaps even polygamously) to pagan women with whom they had many children.   The Lord commanded that they be sent away in order to purify the people and have the nation restored.   When a nation, and especially with the involvement of its spiritual leaders, becomes so evil as to trample the sanctity of life and marriage, God begins to demand drastic cleansing measures.  Some cite this passage as evidence that God allows divorce, especially if the spouse of one’s youth is not a believer.   The problem with that is Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 7: 12-13 to the contrary.   That instruction is based on the foundational fact that only  God can unjoin one-flesh.   However, in the instance of a prohibited marriage, it is not holy matrimony and God does not perform a one-flesh joining even if there are children born of the union.

Malachi 2:10-17 –  The Amplified Version brings in some important context that is not otherwise evident in the prophet’s rebuke of the adulterous priest(s) who were indeed guilty of remarriage adultery, of sending away an innocent one-flesh wife of their youth in order to “marry” a pagan woman, the identical situation that is so pervasive today.   God makes clear in verse 14 that He does not covenant with this second marriage, nor did he join them as one-flesh.   He is graphic about the human attempt to tear away,  or violently sever the one-flesh that Jesus says in Matthew 19:6 that only God can sever.   It is possible, as well, that Malachi is referring to false accusation that may have resulted in the wrongful stoning of an innocent covenant wife when Malachi speaks of “covering your garment with violence”,  and Jesus might have been alluding to the abuse of stoning when He spoke of hard hearts.   The term “shalach” used in 2:16 is literally “sending / putting away”,  but as we see in Deuteronomy,  the “get” (bill of divorcement) was reserved for other purposes than to dispose of a consummated one-flesh wife.
It is clear in this passage, that when God says He hates divorce (sending away),  He is speaking specifically of only the one-flesh spouse of our youth.

(Before turning to our comparison of New Testament passages, we pause to note what we’ve seen from scripture interpreting scripture,  the Pharisees who challenged Jesus were violating  God’s law from the beginning, as Jesus points out to them in Matthew 19:8.   Even in the Old Testament, there was never any true provision for sending away or abandoning a one-flesh spouse of one’s youth, consistently with all three “truth nuggets” gleaned above from  Matthew 19:6.   This is further supported by the fact that in all of the books of the Old Testament, we see a certain amount of polygamy, but we do not see one instance of “shalach” of a one-flesh consummated wife among those of any of the named figures of bible history except Vashti, the wife of the pagan King Xerxes in the book of Esther, until we come to the New Testament, where we see Herod directly rebuked by the Holy Spirit as an adulterer.)

Matthew 1:24-25 –   Mary was a betrothed wife under ketubah during the Roman occupation of Palestine, during which stoning for adultery or fornication was deprived of the Jews to carry out, so his option according to the post-Mosaic rabbinical tradition was “shalach“, which he purposed to do quietly, not wanting to disgrace her.   When the angel of the Lord commanded him to take her as his wife rather than issue her a “get” sending her away, he obeyed but kept her a virgin until Jesus was born.   As a result, though the ceremony took place, it is possible the one-flesh joining was delayed by God in this instance.   But why did God choose a betrothed mother and not an unattached virgin?    Perhaps it was so that we would have a well-known example through the ages to understand the importance of Hebrew betrothal to Jesus’ role as our unconditionally faithful Bridegroom.   Jesus subsequently gained several brothers whose biological father was Joseph.

Matthew 5:27-32 –  the key theme of the Sermon on the Mount was that Jesus was ushering in a new covenant, where no longer would there be animal sacrifices and external atonement for sin, nor the law to grudgingly fall short of, but obedience was to flow from the heart out of love and gratitude for His taking our place, and suffering the punishment we deserved.   Therefore, the Mosaic law was being superseded, especially the 613 sundry Pharisaical rules and the bulk of the Mosaic laws, in favor of a much higher standard:  love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.    No more eye for an eye , tooth for a tooth.  No more taking our own revenge or loving only those who love us.   We were no longer to allow sin to form even in our hearts.   Jesus redefined adultery as lustful thoughts, and murder as hateful, angry thoughts.   Against this backdrop, how is it even possible to seek to terminate a one-flesh God-joining for any reason?   How could such hate be committed against one’s own children?    A word of clarity is necessary concerning verse 32:

ἐγὼ δὲ   λέγω  ὑμῖν     ὅτι     πᾶς   ὁ       ἀπολύων                            τὴν
I however say to you that everyone “from-loosing”[dismissing] the

γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ  παρεκτὸς         λόγου       πορνείας
wife     of him      except for     a report of prostitution / whoredom

ποιεῖ   αὐτὴν      μοιχευθῆναι                        καὶ      ὃς         ἐὰν
causes   her      to commit adultery              and   whoever if

ἀπολελυμένην                                 γαμήσῃ               μοιχᾶται
her having been divorced        shall marry     commits adultery.

Why did Jesus say it was entering into a state of adultery  for a man to marry a woman who had been put away?    Was it not because she was still joined as one-flesh to her true husband, a condition that only God, not men, could unjoin?    Why does putting her away cause her to commit adultery?   Is it not for the very same reason Jesus stated in Matthew 19:6, that they would never again be two, once joined by God?     Note, too, that contemporary English translations make an unsupported word substitution for “porneia” (rendering it as “sexual immorality”)  when the original usage was much more specific than that.   Lastly, it should be noted Jesus referred to  “porneia”  (whoredom) and “moicheia” (adultery) as two separate and distinct sexual sins, not only here, but also in  Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21, as well as Matthew 19:9.    Paul did likewise in
1 Corinthian 6:9-10  and Galatians 5:19-21.    All of the above is consistent with the truth Jesus stated in Matthew 19:6, that man has no power to dissolve holy matrimony for any reason, by any act short of dying, and cannot unjoin what God has joined.   We can see that construing Matthew 5:32 as creating an adultery exception permitting one to divorce and remarry  causes the verse to contradict all other marriage scriptures except (on the surface) Matthew 19:9.

Matthew 14:3-4; Mark 6:17-18  –  These are the two  accounts of John the Baptist openly rebuking the adulterous divorces and remarriage of Herod and Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.    On what basis was John justified in making that charge if either civil divorce or adultery dissolved holy matrimony?    Note that even though they were both pagans, as presumably both of their true spouses were, God still irrevocably joined them as one-flesh to their respective true spouses.   Jesus highly commended John the Baptist for taking the stand that he did.

Matthew 19:8 –  “…Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so….”     Jesus is reiterating exactly what He said two verses earlier, that flesh-of-a-man’s-flesh and bone-of-his-bones cannot be unjoined by man,  a foundational truth from the Creation account, Genesis 2:21-23.

Matthew 19:9  –  This is the second most abused scripture in the New Testament when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, right after 1 Corinthians 7:15 (see below).   Both will be the subject of future installments to come.  If you click on the scripture’s link, please pay very careful attention to the footnotes at bottom.    These “manuscripts”, almost dismissively referred to, are the very ones rejected by revisionist translators Westcott & Hort.   Added back to Matthew 19:9 they cause this passage to read the same as Matt. 5:32 and Luke 16:18, with the concluding phrase casting serious doubt on the notion that “except for fornication” reasonably refers to a post-wedding state of sin.   The footnotes also show that “fornication” (“prostitution” or “whoredom” in pre-1800’s translations) was changed to the more fungible “immorality” in this version.

Matthew 19: 10-12 –  After Jesus offended the Pharisees’ carnal line of questioning by slamming the door shut on divorce and remarriage as being something tolerable in the kingdom of God, His incredulous and stunned disciples confronted Him privately in the house, where He delivered the hard word in Matthew 19:9 / Mark 10:10-12.   We know that Jesus was not stating an exception for adultery because this was the accepted position of the school of Shammai, and would have triggered no controversy whatsoever with the twelve.   Their response, “it is better not to marry”  (if there’s no way holy matrimony can be dissolved by men) is once again perfectly consistent with our understanding of Matthew 19:6.     Jesus then spoke of three types of eunuchs:  those born that way, those who have been emasculated, and those separated from a one-flesh spouse who may not remarry for the sake of the kingdom of God, which directly follows from His straightforward message in Matthew 19:6.

Mark 10: 1-12 – This is the parallel account of the same event as Matthew 19: 1-12, but addressed to a mixed-gender Gentile audience.    The key verse is 10:11-12,  “And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”     John Mark, nephew of Barnabas was not present for this event,  but was Peter’s companion and ministry partner, thereby learning of it from Peter who was present.   Whatever Jesus said in that house following the exchange with the Pharisees was obviously made so strong an impression on Peter that his young disciple felt it applied equally to both genders, overcoming the traditional patriarchal bias of the Mosaic law, and dispensing with any exception whatsoever.  

Luke 16:16-31 –  This is one of the two passages where Jesus is commending John the Baptist, martyr and rebuker of remarriage adultery, just before He delivers an exceptionless rebuke of divorce and remarriage, stating for the third time that to marry a person who has been put away by a spouse is entering into an ongoing state of adultery.    On what basis?   On the basis that they are attempting to marry someone who is still joined as one-flesh to their true spouse, and violating an indissoluble covenant according to what He said in Matthew 19:6.    Immediately following this, Jesus goes into a vivid description of hell, describing the rich man who lived for self and received his reward in full during his life on earth while others suffered under his feet.   Coincidence or design, is Jesus’ account?

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?

1 Cor 6:1-8; 15-20 –  In addition to flatly stating that ongoing, unrepentant adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God,
1 Corinthians 6 forbids using the pagan civil court system to avoid the godly authority of church leadership, and very importantly, it contrasts the constitutional differences between the permanent, supernatural God-joining of holy matrimony with the transitory carnal joining of an unlawful, immoral relationship.   It describes slavery to the wrong thing, lust and idolatry, as well as the sin of bodily dragging Jesus into the immorality.   If we’re bought with a price by the Bridegroom, and our bodies are not our own to do as we please,  the basis is also Matthew 19:6.

1 Corinthians 7:10-16 –  This chapter addresses various groups in the church body, including “the married”,  reiterating that separation and divorce is not an option, but if separation occurs, the spouses are to remain celibate or they are to reconcile.   They are not to seek separation due to a difference in faith,  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband.”   This is as much an allusion to the one-flesh state that exists between them as it is to godly daily influence.   The instruction not to obstruct a spouse from departing who cannot abide the believing spouse’s discipleship has little to do with other causes of marital rupture, and the reference to the believing spouse not being bound refers to their freedom to follow Christ rather than a dissolution of the marriage bond.    All of this is perfectly consistent with Matthew 19:6.   (The pervasive abuse of verse 15 will be the subject of another blog in the series.)

1 Corinthians 7: 26-27 –  Another commonly-abused scripture in the same passage is used to justify remaining in a civil marriage that Jesus called adulterous.    Paul instructed those in the Corinthian church, in light of the persecution they were suffering, to remain as they were “called”,  meaning the state they were in when converted to Christ, also referring to slavery a few verses above.   However, verse 25 specifically addresses this to the virgins, and is once again referring to the kiddushin betrothal.    Therefore, his references to “wife” are mixed.    In the case of an indissoluble covenant with the wife of one’s youth, one is always “called” in the married state and required to cease and repudiate any accompanying state of sin.     The foundation for saying that one is called in the married state, not to a spouse of serial polygamy but to the covenant one-flesh spouse is, of course, Matthew 19:6 (also Luke 16:18  and Mark 10:11-12).

Eph 5:28-32 –   This passage is one of the clearest possible elaborations of the one-flesh relationship that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 19:6.   Paul goes so far to say that however a man treats his one-flesh companion, he is treating his own body.   From there Paul reiterates the symbolism of holy matrimony as depicting Christ’s relationship with His body, the church.

1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6 –  Both of these passages forbid a man from serving in church leadership who is the husband of more than one wife, that is, one who has married another after putting away a wife, since Jesus defined this practice in Matt. 5:32b, Matt. 19:9b and Luke 16:18b as adultery.    Allowing a remarriage adulterer to serve as a pastor sets an immoral example which then attacks the families of that church who would emulate the pastor’s example.   Violating Paul’s clear instruction has also has historically polluted official church doctrine, from the Anglicans to the Assemblies of God, as humanistic impulses put the Matthew 19:6 commandment of Christ to a popular vote of the clergy in the 17th and 20th centuries, respectively.

Romans 13:1-2, 6-7Matthew 16:19; Acts 5:28-30 –  Some Christians will refute our disciplined interpretation of Matt. 19:6 by using Romans 13 to argue for the “validity” of civil divorce as “dissolving” holy matrimony.    They are correct that civil divorce dissolves unions of whatever type that God did not join and covenant with.   “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God….for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”        But did God ever grant the regulation of holy matrimony into civil government’s remit?   Matthew 19:6 directly states otherwise, by the mouth of Jesus!

The Roman Catholic Church claims authority to “annul” marriages, citing Matthew 16:19,  “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”     Yet, Jesus could not have been plainer, “therefore what God has joined, let NO MAN separate.”

As now with the legalization of both sodomous and serially-polygamous /  adulterous unions by the civil authorities, there arises a need for fearing and obeying God above men, even to the extent of civil disobedience and suffering civil consequences.    Peter and the apostles were rebuked and threatened for preaching the gospel:
“We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”   
In
deed, the rebuked adulterer Herod was the governing authority,  yet John the Baptist put his and his adulteress’ souls above the civil law, fully willing to suffer for doing right, and was highly commended by Jesus for it .    Are we going recognize homosexual “marriages”, along with adulterous ones because “there’s no authority except as established by God?”   St. Augustine (echoed by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail)  stated, “an immoral law is no law at all.”

[“Standerinfamilycourt”  has endeavored to include in the COMPARISON step all of the scriptures commonly used (misused, actually) to negate or undermine the unpalatable message from Jesus in Matthew 19:6, however if such a scripture has been overlooked,  the reader is encouraged to use the Comments section of this blog to bring it to our attention.]

 

The Principle of CONSULTATION
Whom is it most appropriate to consult on the authority of scripture which condemns man’s attempts to dissolve holy matrimony and to “sanctify” marriage to another while still having a living one-flesh spouse?     Due to the carnality of man which tends to escalate over time, that is a very important question which requires a strong knowledge of church history to reliably answer.    Hopefully, we’ve made it clear with indisputable evidence up to this point exactly where Jesus and the Apostles (including Paul) stood.   They discipled the next generation of followers of The Way, who in turn discipled the successive generations of the ante-Nicene church fathers.   It makes sense therefore to start the consultation with the writings of those who knew the Apostles (for example, Luke and Mark), and with those whom the next generation  discipled.

We need to be a bit skeptical while consulting theologian commentators from the time  of the Reformation forward when it comes to this topic.    Some will be biased in defense of the heretical Westminster Confession of Faith, which dominated mainline Protestant Churches from the 17th century, and others will be swayed by the tampering with word translations that began to occur in the lexicons published after the latter half of the 19th century.    On this basis, an equal number of later scholars will refute and discredit the many writings of the disciples of the Apostles, literally lapsing into “Reverend All-Wet” mode, and only superficially applying the  principles of disciplined hermeneutics  that we’ve just stepped through together.    For example, in convoluted fashion they’ll say that “scripture cannot contradict itself”,  so since “most scholars agree” (a presumption based on confirmation bias — and a weakened, distorted application of the COMPARISON principle that completely bypasses application of both the CONTEXT and  CULTURE principles) …that porneia “should always be” translated as “sexual immorality”,  all of the many scriptures that refute this must therefore be interpreted as not universally authoritative, and the church fathers should be dismissed as “flawed” asceticists.   Two free downloadable scholarly books are available, here and here, that will be very helpful in carrying out the CONSULTATION step for almost every scripture we’ll be examining in this series.   Our Church Fathers and Church Wolves series will also be historically helpful.

Here’s what several of the early church fathers and other bible commentators had to say on this topic of the indissolubility of holy matrimony:

Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D)
And, “Whoever shall marry her who is divorced from another husband, commits adultery.”   And, “There are some who have been made eunuchs of men, and some who were born eunuchs, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake; but all cannot receive this saying.”  So that all who by human law, are twice married, are in the eye of our Master sinners, and those who look upon a woman to lust after her.

Hermas (circa 160 A.D.)
And I said to him, “Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect her in adultery, does the man sin if he continues to live with her?”  And he said to me, “As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her.  But if the husband knows that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her sin, and the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.”  And I said to him, “What then, sir, is the husband to do if she continues in her vicious practices?”  And he said, “The husband should put her away and remain by himself.  But if he put her away and marries another, he also commits adultery.”

Theophilus (circa 170-190 A.D.)
“And he that marries”, says [the Gospel] , “her that is divorced from her husband commits adultery; and whoever puts away his wife**, saving for the cause of fornication, cause her to commit adultery.”   Because Solomon says: “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  Or can one walk across hot coals and his feet not be burned?  So he that goes into a married woman will not be innocent.”      (**Recall that “wife” in the Gospel also referred to a betrothed legal wife who was the only type of “wife” who could commit fornication rather than adultery.)

Athenagoras (177 A.D.)
For we bestow our attention; not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions, that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a specious adultery.   “For whoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and marries another commits adultery;” not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to marry again.

Clement of Alexandria (circa 215 A.D.)
Now that the scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, “You shall not put away your wife except for the cause of fornication,” and it regards as adultery the marriage of those separated while the other is alive.   The Church cannot marry another, having obtained a bridegroom;  each of us individually has a right to marry the woman he wishes according to the law; I mean here first marriage.

Tertullian ( circa 160-220 A.D.)
A divorced woman cannot even marry legitimately; and if she commits any such act without the name of marriage, does it not fall under the category of adultery, in that adultery is crime in the way of marriage?    Such is God’s verdict, within narrower limits than men’s, that universally, whether through marriage or promiscuously, the admission of a second man to intercourse is pronounced adultery to Him...so true, moreover, is it that divorce “was not from the beginning,” that among the Romans it is not until the six hundredth year from the building of the city that this kind of “hard heartedness” is set down as having been committed.  But they indulge in promiscuous adulteries, even without divorcing their partners: to us, even if we do divorce them, even marriage will not be lawful.

Council of Arles, 314 A.D.
Of those who discover their wives in adultery and are young Christians and are forbidden to marry, it was determined that they be most strongly advised not to take other wives while their own live, though they be adulterous.

Gregory Nanzianzen (circa 325-389 A.D.)
For I think the word here seems to deprecate second marriage.  For, if there were two Christs, there may be two husbands or two wives; but if Christ is One, one Head of the Church, let there also be one flesh, let the second be rejected…now the [civil] Law grants divorce for every cause, but Christ not for every cause; but He allows only separation from the whore; and in all other things He commands patience.

Ambrose of Milan (333-397 A.D.)
Therefore, the right to marry is given you, lest ye fall into a snare and sin with a strange woman.  Ye are bound to your wife; do not seek release because you are not permitted to marry another while your wife lives.

John Chrysostom (circa 347-407 A.D.)
‘Let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.’….’What then if he will never be reconciled?’ one may ask.   You have one more mode of release and deliverance.  What is that?  Await his death.  For as the (consecrated) virgin may not marry because her Spouse always lives, and is immortal; so to her who has been married it is then only lawful [to remarry] when her husband is dead.

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.

Jerome (circa 340-420 A.D.)
The apostle has cut away every plea and has clearly declared that, if a woman marries again while her husband is living, she is an adulteress.   You must not speak to me of the violence of a ravisher,  a mother’s pleading, a father’s bidding, the influence of relatives, the insolence and the intrigues of servants, household losses.   A husband may be an adulterer,  a sodomite, he may be stained with every crime and may have been left by his wife for his sins; yet he is still her husband as long as he lives; she may not marry another.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.)
It cannot be correctly affirmed either that the husband who puts away his wife because of immorality and marries another does not commit adultery.   For there is adultery, also, on the part of those who marry others after the repudiation of their former wives because of immorality…If everyone who marries another woman after the dismissal of his wife commits adultery, this includes one who puts away his wife without cause of immorality and the one who puts away his wife for this reason.

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.

FB profile 7xtjw   SIFC Note:   All of the above quotes are from  Daniel R. Jennings, “Except for Fornication – Why Evangelicals Must Reevaluate Their Interpretation of Matthew’s Divorce Exception Clause” (2011)
Sean Multimedia (www.seanmultimedia.com).
The remainder of the commentaries, cited below, are courtesy of www. biblehub.com.

R.A. Torrey (circa 1890)  – Moody Bible Institute
RATorrey

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore they are no more twain,…. They were two before marriage, but now no more so; not but that they remain two distinct persons,

but one flesh; or, as the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, “one body”: hence the wife is to beloved by the husband as his own body, as himself, as his own flesh, Ephesians 5:28.

what therefore God hath joined together; or, by the first institution of marriage, has declared to be so closely united together, as to be, as it were, one flesh, and one body, as husband and wife are;

let no man put asunder; break the bond of union, dissolve the relation, and separate them from each other, for every trivial thing, upon any slight occasion, or for anything; but what is hereafter mentioned. The sense is, that the bond of marriage being made by God himself, is so sacred and inviolable, as that it ought not to be dissolved by any man; not by the husband himself, or any other for him; nor by any state or government, by any prince or potentate, by any legislator whatever; no, not by Moses himself, who is, at least, included, if not chiefly designed here, though not named, to avoid offence: and God and man being opposed in this passage, shows, that marriage is an institution and appointment of God, and therefore not to be changed and altered by man at his pleasure; this not merely a civil, but a sacred affair, in which God is concerned.

Pulpit Commentary
Verse 6.
Wherefore (ὥστε); so that. This follows from the quotation just given. Our Lord explains and confirms the original dictum by an assertion of his own and a general law. What God hath joined together. The institution of marriage is God’s appointment. Christ says ο{, what, neuter singular, not “those whom,” plural and concrete, that he may make it clear that he is here speaking in the abstract, not specially of Adam and Eve. What he enunciates is true of all wedlock, not simply of the case of our first parents. Let not man put asunder. Man does thus infringe the primitive rule when he divorces his with. Herein he opposes God and acts against nature. He and his wife are one; they can no more separate from one another than they can from themselves. If we regard our Lord’s language in this passage without prejudice, and not reading into it modern notions, we must consider that he here decrees the indissolubility of the marriage tie. His hearers plainly understood him so to speak, as we see from the objection which they urged.

Bengel’s Gnomen
Matthew 19:6. οὐκ ἔτι εἰσὶ, they are no more) They are now no longer two, as they were before.—δύο, two) We should not understand σάρκες, fleshes (carnes): for in Matthew 19:5 we find οἱ δύο (the two, they twain).—, that which (quod), not , those which (quae): for they are now one flesh.—συνέζευεξεν, hath joined together) hath made one.—ἄνθρωπος, man) see Matthew 19:3.—μὴ, κ.τ.λ., let not, etc.) The principle here involved admits of a widely extended application: what GOD hath separated, commanded, conceded, prohibited, blessed, praised, loosed, bound, etc., let not Man join together, prohibit, forbid, command, curse, blame, bind, loose, etc., not even in his own case; see Acts 10:15; Numbers 23:8; Romans 14:3; Romans 14:20.—χωριζέτω, put asunder) In every case of sexual connection, either God hath joined the two, or He hath not joined them: if He hath not joined them, their connection is unlawful; if He hath joined them, why are they separated?

To be sure, there are commentaries, Ellicott’s and Meyers’ for two examples, on Matthew 19:6 that comport with the Lutheran / Calvinist  (revisionist) view of holy matrimony being an “ideal” rather than a commandment, and with it being dissolved by the act of adultery, and by the decree of men.   However, this view as we’ve shown, is not supported by either church history nor by the vast body of scripture, nor by what the Lord repeatedly stated.

The United States of America was established, with the Lord’s help, as a nation dedicated to the freedom of men to pursue the kingdom of God, beginning in their homes.   Unlike Europe, to whom the Protestant Reformers handed off to the state the power to regulate that which belonged exclusively to God, civil marriage licenses did not begin to be instituted by state and local governments for nearly 100 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified.    Morality was elevated and there developed a tradition that the family was sovereign and sacrosanct, and as a result,  God’s extreme favor rested on our nation.    Our forefathers likewise established their  hill to die on, the alienable right of conscience and to the free exercise of religious conviction in awe-filled reverence toward the word of God.

 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;   Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.    1 Peter 2:9

 

 

 

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

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

 

 


From the Book, “Looking Back 25 Years” by Bob Steinkamp

SteinkampBook
transcribed by Standerinfamilycourt

This has been a favorite devotional from the returned prodigal husband who remarried his covenant wife, Charlyne, then founded Rejoice Marriage Ministries with her nearly 30 years ago.   The Steinkamps  have sustained, prayed for and coached thousands of covenant couples, seeing a very large percentage of them through to reconciled and restored marriages.   Bob graduated to heaven in December, 2010.   To the best of our knowledge, this devotional has not been featured so far in Charlyne Cares, perhaps because it’s more of a commentary than a devotional.   We think it’s still worth sharing.

(Rev. Steinkamp, who served as an auxiliary police officer:)

…One of the great fears of many standers is their prodigal spouse will never be obedient to God.   That can be illustrated by another law enforcement device, spike strips.

Almost weekly on the new we see police pursuits.  Let’s compare a prodigal on the run from God to a felon on the run from the police.

The first contact with a fleeing felon might be when a police officer pulls in behind a suspect vehicle, turns on the lights and attempts to make a stop.

Every prodigal who has left home does so while looking in the emotional rear view mirror.    They want to know who has seen what they just did.   An officer “lighting up” a suspect might be compared to God signaling a prodigal to stop what they are doing.

Even though it cannot be done, fleeing felons and fleeing prodigals often think they can do so without being caught.  As the pursuit increases, both felons and prodigals feel they will not be caught.  Watching a police chase on television from an aerial view as the subject drives without knowing where they are going is the same as many prodigals.

A major concern in a police chase is not to endanger the lives of innocent people.   Fleeing prodigals, just like fleeing felons show a total disregard for the welfare of others, namely their spouse and children.  God must look on the actions of us prodigals with a broken heart as we refuse to stop.

Finally someone makes a decision that the police chase must end.  Some distance ahead of the pursuit, the road is cleared and spike strips are readied.   A sturdy rope-type device holds multiple sharp spikes, designed to flatten the tires on the subject vehicle.  The spike strip is deployed just in front of the approaching vehicle.

God also has spiritual spike strips that He allows to be deployed in front of prodigals, if other efforts to have them stopped have failed.  I dare not give illustrations lest someone feel I am using their family as an example.

In police chases, we often see a vehicle driving on the rims, with all four tires flattened and even the rubber on the tire gone.  Prodigals can hit the spike strips of life and then continue running on the rims in the far country.

It is not uncommon to see a police chase coming to an end with the suspect starting to run on foot, and then suddenly surrendering to authorities.  We  know prodigals who run and run, and then suddenly give up.   In fact, that is what happened to me.    My running came to an end as I surrendered to my God and came home to my stander.

What is the real deal of a stander?   Someone just like you who, regardless of what today brought, is ready to put that all behind them by the shed Blood of Jesus, spend time with God, and then get up tomorrow as certain as ever that God is going to do just as He promised and restore your marriage.  To God be the glory!

Real deal standers are not Christians who are perfect.   They are people who can admit they are imperfect but who love and serve a God Who is always perfect.    Real deal standers depend not on Bob or Charlyne, nor on this or any Ministry to keep them standing strong.   They depend on God.

Dear stander, go fight the spiritual battle one more day with the weapons of God.   After that, fight the next battle and the one after that, always keeping one eye on your front walk to see if your prodigal is on the way home.

Your family restored, with everyone loving and serving Jesus, prepared to be with Him for eternity, is the real deal.

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

www. standerinfamilycourt.com