Category Archives: Marriage Restoration

Meat Sacrificed to Idols, Inadvertent Shepherds and The Harsher Judgment

Groupsby Standerinfamilycourt

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

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

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
– Ephesians 5:16-33

“Standerinfamilycourt” has never been one to belong to dozens of social media sites and pages, being  extremely selective and purposeful about which ones merit THE LORD’S time which has been entrusted to advance the kingdom of God.    This balance of time is certainly going to look different from disciple to disciple, depending on the particular assignment we’ve been given in these last days.    The half-dozen sites SIFC has committed to membership in generally serve these main purposes, consistent with kingdom assignment:

(1) plug into high-quality  scholarship of others so that 7 Times Around the Jericho Wall and Unilateral Divorce Is Unconstitutional can be as reliable as possible in dividing God’s word (and on the flip side, promote respectful avoidance of misusing the word of God)

(2) provide a trustworthy connection point to refer opposite-sex individuals who contact our pages seeking to be ministered to deeply — which should be done by a same sex person who is spiritually mature.

(3)  extend the reach and circulation of our posts  so that the stander community is aware of, and connected with, other voices and communities who are our natural allies in the righteous, interdependent quest to abolish unilateral divorce and clean up the apostate churches to the extent possible.

(4) keep tabs on what satan is up to these days in opposing God’s kingdom.  He loves to send in intruders and hang out on standers’ pages, too, while constantly shifting his ugly tactics.

Many covenant marriage standers will belong to an astounding number of sites and seem to be online “contending for the faith” all day and night.    Knowing firsthand how addictive social media is, especially to isolated and often-alienated standers, one has to wonder how much time is being truly spent in intercession for the rebuilding of our torn up families, pleading with the throne of heaven for the soul of our estranged one-flesh partners, and praying protective hedges around our impacted loved ones, especially given satan’s particular rage against us.      Not a few in the marriage permanence community, if they were completely honest with themselves and others,  have seemingly given up expecting the Lord to restore their holy matrimony union (if they haven’t instead come out of an unholy matrimony union).    Some, wrongly in my view, see Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor. 7:11,
“remain unmarried [celibate] or be reconciled…”
as “either / or” instead of “both / and”, and this is reflected in how they spend their time and emotional energy.     I pray that the Lord will greatly surprise these folks one day.    

A well-run site for covenant marriage standers (and for others with hearts open to the truth of marriage indissolubility), will have ground rules that look something like this:
this is not a dating site
– name-calling, gossip, personal attacks and bad language will not be tolerated here
– off-topic posts and those pushing divisive, controversial ideologies not essential to inheriting the kingdom of God will not be allowed in our space, nor will debate on them be permitted
– promotional posts for unrelated ministries, products, etc. will be removed as spam

It is not typical at the present time for most pages which are geared to a doctrinally pure, continuously-maturing covenant marriage stander or repenting prodigal membership, to have more than a few hundred members or followers, nor rapid net growth (joiners far exceeding the unjoiners).  Yet when one gives this reality some reflection, such small following is still equivalent to a small-to-medium-sized church congregation.    Given the other reality that in a lot of cases, a particular site may become the church-surrogate for an unfortunate number of standers, the integrity and consistency with which the rules are applied takes on a sobering importance.    Everyone in this marriage permanence community has recently had a front row seat for the sad spectacle of what happened under the cronyism, carnality and lack of accountability in Greg Locke’s brick-and-mortar church.     Though virtual fellowship is not typically a matter of financial stewardship, the situation might not be too different in some of the stander sites in many other important respects, complete with defecting sheep who fall into carnality because the responsibility for discipling  the members wasn’t quite what it should have been in some sites where the defectors were hanging out.    When a standers’ site is growing at megachurch pace, it doesn’t hurt to take an objective look at what might be driving that aberrant pace and be a bit wary of failure to consistently apply the site’s own rules.

SIFC joined a fast-growing page recently that seemed to be well-run, at least as it appeared from the outside.   Its owner is an organizer of weekly conference calls of very high quality, good attendance, and excellent guests.     The live streaming of these calls had just become available on that site, with convenient playback.   Despite misgivings some months  earlier about the pushiness of the owner in posting the call notices on several restricted-topic sites and being rather obstinate about respecting those owners’ reasonable requests not to do so,  SIFC began to join these conference calls on a fairly regular basis due to the quality of the speakers.    Site membership had grown to about 1300 with a dozen or so new joiners weekly to site membership.    At first it appeared this site would nicely meet all three of SIFC’s top desired purposes for joining, as described earlier, and for committing to being a contributing member of helpful standers’ group.    Some of the handful of soundly-based groups that had been fruitful a year or two ago had gone fairly inactive, so the time seemed ripe.

After two or three weeks’ participation, SIFC has come away feeling as if comments in response to some of the posts had invited everyone there to a dinner party where, unknowingly, there had been meat sacrificed to idols served, which offended some guests of weaker faith.     Let me explain.

At the time point of joining, there was quite the conversation ongoing on about a male stander who had fallen prey to a heretical remarriage apology page, but had simultaneously been a member of this particular group, from which he evidently pursued several female standers (as confessed by one of them) before selecting a another stander to “marry” while his covenant wife remains a living prodigal.     To-date, two of our blog own posts have early-flagged and discussed the role of this man’s profuse legalistic ideologies which directly contributed to his moral fall, and (likely) to the ongoing depth of estrangement from his true wife.

Against this unfortunate backdrop, it was incredibly disheartening to see  legalistic and dogmatic posts by one of the page’s moderators in the next two weeks on all of the following off-topic issues that drew contentious debate:
– the  alleged”corruption” of attending a flesh-and-blood, brick-and-mortar church that has an appointed pastor or pastoral staff
– the alleged “pagan-ness” of Valentine’s Day celebrations
–  the alleged “impropriety” of addressing anyone, great or small, by a title

This appeared to be the only type of post ever observed being made by this gentleman in that time frame.   Not only were the moderator-poster’s extrabiblical biases being promoted, but anyone not practicing them was being overtly condemned.    SIFC’s first appeal to observe the site’s own posted rules was made to the owner in a comment on the post.  The site owner publicly commented that he agreed with the legalism complained of, and would therefore allow the posts to remain for the heated and unseemly discussion that ensued.   SIFC challenged the moderator-poster on all three of the above distractions, a man whose “story” hadn’t been revealed in SIFC’s short sojourn on the site, but his faith background can likely be guessed from the ethnicity of his name and the apparent appeal to him of these particular dogmas.    One of SIFC’s challenges was quickly deleted by somebody with access to do so, and SIFC received two PM’s from the site owner claiming that the dissenting comments constituted “name-calling”.  (Apparently because SIFC used the “L-word” as a descriptor).    In a display of spiritual maturity, this  fellow removed himself for a morning from the page membership, then the next thing SIFC knew, the page was “no longer available”.    Not only was I removed, but evidently also blocked from the page.

This site had all of the ground rules described above in place, and then some, as follows:

“This is NOT a dating site. There is ZERO tolerance for name calling, gossip, slander or profanity. If you do not answer questions, you will be ignored, and you and your posts may be deleted. Posts of false doctrines or false teachers will be deleted. This is not a debate forum. Keep posts focused on [marriage, adultery, divorce and remarriage].
DO NOT POST VIDEOS BY UNAPPROVED SPEAKERS. APPROVED SPEAKERS HAVE THEIR WEB SITES LISTED AND/OR ARE MODERATORS. VIDEOS SHOULD BE APPROVED PRIVATELY BY A MODERATOR PRIOR TO POSTING ON [site name].

(Examples: types of baptisms, tongues, women head coverings, dress or other topics that Christians have been divided on hundreds of years) Not a place to advertise your business. Violators and their posts will be deleted without warning.”

These were indeed enforced against infractions committed by non-cronies of the page owner, as SIFC observed on one occasion when a lady was admonished, not for a post but for a question she raised about a legalistic and divisive doctrine.     On the other hand, outright slander against a very effective and godly pioneering marriage restoration ministry was actively defended by the site owner when interjected by another commenter, interfering as she was with help SIFC was attempting to provide to a new member in the crisis of his wife leaving him.    Nope, this site is clearly not safe for referrals from Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional as originally hoped.    

Reflecting on this incident in its aftermath, several thoughts come to the surface that (at least in SIFC’s estimation) if heeded will help keep the looney-tunes “cult” perception, not to mention actual stander defections from biblical morality, at bay so that the marriage permanence community as a whole be taken seriously by people who can potentially help us make a difference for families, a goal I’m certain this site owner shares.

Many years ago, SIFC and spouse were trained in our charismatic, nondenominational church, which practiced a plurality of pastoral leadership as modeled by the 1st century church,  into a 13-week course for house church leaders called “The Maturity in Christ Series”.  We  weren’t very chronologically mature at this time in the early ’80’s, but we then went on to teach this course together to new leaders a couple of times after that, while we co-led a house church with a seasoned couple who were both bible college grads.   Without denominational leadership and sound doctrine, the atmosphere was ripe for every kind of lunacy to be tracked in from outside, and indeed, we observed much during this time that was successfully resisted by the framework that the leadership had proactively established and the careful grooming and monitoring of the lay leadership.     On one occasion, there was an administration of (Matthew 18:15-17) public church discipline to a male house church leader who had become romantically involved with a troubled female in his charge.   This man was put out of the church for refusing to terminate the immoral, extramarital relationship.

In those days, marriage permanence was preached from the pulpit of that church.   Unlike the affluent Methodist church downtown, the number of remarried divorced pairs could be counted on the fingers of one hand.    The typical dogmas and distractions that regularly surfaced were very similar to today’s virtual communities of believers:  dress and makeup legalisms, Sabbath disputes, head coverings, holiday observance,  homeschooling, women working outside the home being likened to “streetwalkers”,  legalism about pursuing college at a secular institution, order in using the gifts of the Spirit, and so forth.    Similar to our virtual communities, people were being born again after spending their upbringing in churches with autocratic authority structures and some clearly pagan or extrabiblical practices, and these folks tended to backlash in the opposite direction of whatever they have grown up with until a period of responsible small group discipleship had brought them into better balance.

But what happens when a stander or repenting prodigal is persecuted in their traditional church, or even worse, put out of it for being outspoken about remarriage adultery being a hellbound sin?     The discipling processes can be short-circuited in some cases before a person has matured spiritually.      They can easily become distrustful of all traditional churches, due to the widespread apostasy over the remarriage issue, and assume all pastors are incorrigible and all churches apostate.   However, it doesn’t stop there.   Instead of becoming spiritually secure individuals, it becomes necessary to disparage and accuse anyone who is attending an actual church and attempting to influence their pastor toward scriptural faithfulness.   This was indeed the tone taken in one of the posts by the page moderator, who appears from this behavior to have come out of a faith tradition where church leadership is deemed “infallible” and not to be challenged.    Only, who’s there and qualified to disciple him in the virtual church?  Who’s properly trained and willing to do so?    Only somebody who can see (or has seen) where the man’s error is taking him!

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:33

There’s a key reason why SIFC opted for an open community page instead of a closed group – lack of time and biblical qualification to act as a de facto pastor.    There are just over 600 self-elected followers to Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional, none of whom are very likely to mistake the page for a suitable church substitute.
(By contrast, a community page started four years earlier, similarly targeted as ours, but which doesn’t call non-covenant “marriages” adultery, doesn’t seek to reform the laws, and doesn’t write about things like hell, toxic Calvinism, and the corruption of our contemporary bibles, has eight times as many page fans.)   Even so, ministry, prayer and referral (as appropriate) takes place behind the scenes upon request on UDIU, and there is a comfortable margin of time for this to occur with good handling while maintaining the page, and while assisting on a couple of other pages.   People don’t (normally) get insulted, protest loudly and huff off on our page — which I’d say is good for public decorum.    They simply “unlike” and “re-like” our page.

Were there 1300 group members to deal with, coming and going through a page-owned gatekeeping process, that’s equivalent to a fairly large church, and maintaining this administratively pretty much requires a staff, as indeed this page has appointed its moderators.  The site owner told me he works the page himself an average of eight hours a day.

An overseer, then, must be…. and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
– Timothy 3:7

Page owners in the marriage permanence arena must understand that their page is a pseudo-church (unless the following is very small or unless they regularly and sincerely urge participation in a real church or house church fellowship wherever possible), and they must understand that the shared leadership of that page are indeed pseudo-pastors, at least to a portion of their members.     Is this page owner therefore willing to qualify these folks serving as his moderators according to Paul’s guidelines in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1?   If not, what unction do they really have for criticizing the qualifications of a non-widowed remarried pastor?  If they don’t consistently “police” the lunacies and heresies surfacing on their page, are they any better than Paul found the Corinthian church to be when he rebuked the leadership for tolerating similar lunacies and heresies in his first letter?  If they have defectors who go into immorality, is this not a potential sign of pastoral deficiency?

And what is their strategy for discipling and counseling the women in their virtual congregation?    There are one or two virtual marriage ministries that have addressed this issue thoughtfully and made effective provision for it.   At least one of the leaders of this particular page, however, claim there’s something wrong with a female Christ-follower if, deprived of the covering God expects from her absentee husband, she therefore decides to be under the covering of a traditional pastor.  Yet her critics on the page really don’t have anything superior to offer her in the alternative.    What then happens in the vacuum is (unfortunately) that some can be preyed upon by insiders and outsiders alike.

Here’s a quick reminder of a few of the substantial benefits someone who can’t or won’t attend a flesh-and-blood fellowship miss out on:
–  communion (the taking of which just might be felt by our absent one-flesh partner)
– anointing with oil when ill
– meals brought over when ill
– small helps in severe situations they are unable to do themselves
– opportunity for mission trips
– opportunity to mentor young people

Surely, the Lord would not have His sheep criticized in this fashion for being a part of a congregation that provides things which He clearly intended for us to have that the alternative gatherings, real or virtual, can’t necessarily provide?    I think of an isolated late middle-aged woman who died alone in her house in our neighborhood several years ago who wasn’t even discovered until a part of her roof fell in due to heavy snow, and whose out-of-state children then had to be tracked down.    How incredibly sad, and  I’ve often wondered if she had been a stander.

Let’s face it:  we standers tend to be a mess emotionally, and long years of standing don’t normally make it any better.   These online groups tend to be a magnet additionally for wounded people who, for whatever reason, reject having spiritual authority over  them, who bristle at the idea of tithing (one legalism they do agree not to tolerate), and at other disciplines they shouldn’t be finding excuses to avoid.   Often this behavior and mindset is due to being raised in a church that was pompous in requiring the use of titles, and in declaring individual leaders “infallible” while promulgating the traditions of men that contradict the word of God.    Standers’ groups should be safe havens for those who have been involuntarily rejected or persecuted by their brick-and-mortar church.    But bad behavior that is harmful to the others on the group page should never have a safe haven.    Response to this behavior should follow a Matthew 18:15-17 process with no favoritism shown.     “Excommunications” should certainly follow this process, and should be done with correct motives which are soul-related.     “Excommunication” should never result from other members pouting at being admonished.

For the body is not one member, but many.   If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?   But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.    – Corinthians 12:14-18

Another thing typically happens in large, virtual pseudo-churches.   All of the usual functional and spiritual gifts have a tendency of showing up in the group’s members and manifesting in posts and comments on the page.    One of the key pieces of leadership training my honey and I received “way back when” was instruction in what some of these gifts look like in their actual exercise in a group, including both the strengths and the weaknesses of each kind of person so gifted.    However, many standers have always been taught some measure of cessationism, so this conversation could not even be had on this particular group page, according to the stated rules.    One is perfectly free on this page, therefore, to hyper-apply Matthew 23:1-12, according to the YouTube video of some self-appointed “theologian”, but God help anyone who dares exercise the gift of, say,  discerning of spirits in that group.    That “passed away” with the Apostles,  after all.  Unfortunately, satan doesn’t spare the marriages of charismatics any more than he does the marriages of the “Reformed” or the Baptists.    Pretending within a group of Christ-followers that the functional gifts don’t exist doesn’t make them “poof” go away.   God certainly knows that a body can’t function without a nervous system,  so chances are that an “excommunicated” nervous system just might grow back through another member.     Successful groups, flesh-and-blood or virtual, learn how to benefit from the functional gifts in an orderly fashion.

I do not share my written perspective on this to get back at the group, for if so, I would name them.   I also do not write this out of any desire to rejoin, based on what I so quickly learned about how its governance stacks up with my pre-contemplated desires for investment of time in such a group.   At best, rejoining would fulfill only objectives (3) and (4) – not good enough to compensate for the much greater downside, as it currently stands.   I will probably not repost this blog to Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional, because a portion of that diverse audience is best not exposed to petty squabbling and (actual) cultishness in the body of Christ.     I blush that the poor man who was a new joiner seeking help for a horrible family crisis was exposed to it that day, and can only pray he wasn’t so turned off that he won’t follow up on the good referrals he was given.    My main hope is that this post will trigger the marriage permanence community to reflect on what they hope to achieve from group membership, and for the many others administering marriage permanence pages to prayerfully gut-check their own priorities and objectives, responsibly considering some of the eternal implications for running their page.

Surely, making one’s own decision whether to be part of a traditional church or observe Valentines Day are both lawful, according to the Apostle Paul, and whether or not they are both profitable depends on the circumstances involved, which are not for a third party to judge in any event.    Similarly, Jesus did not forbid a disciple from voluntarily addressing someone by their title.   At least that was the interpretation of the Shepherd of Hermas (addressing an angel sent to him in a dream):

““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 yet 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 his wife continues in her vicious practices?’       (The Shepherd, Second Book, Commandment 4:1)

Rather, Jesus taught that it was presuming upon the glory of God to insist that others address us by a title.  Someone of weaker faith might not see one of these issues as the scripture intended, and someone of the weakest possible faith will have issues of conscience over the shallowest reading of scripture or every suggestive, but ill-researched teacher they encounter.    I humbly suggest that such folk are not yet ready to teach others if they elevate such things to a heaven-or-hell gravity.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.    –  James 3:1

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

Valentine’s Week Testimonies….Sonny* and Sally*: A Story Close to My Heart

NeverGiveUpby Standerinfamilycourt

Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the Lord.
“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.”
– Song of Solomon 8: 6 – 7

A fan of our Facebook page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional,  “inboxed” us one recent evening to ask if we knew of any holy matrimony couples who had been “divorced” under man’s immoral laws and later came out of non-covenant “remarriages” with others to be reconciled to each other by the power of God.     We have been sharing true stories like this all week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and we’re not finished yet!

(* names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of SIFC’s own son’s mother and father in law, but the facts are true and real.)

One blustery late afternoon in February several years ago, our son asked a young lady to marry him after he had led her to the Lord, and she accepted.    SIFC had met this young lady on two or three previous occasions, on the first of which, she temporarily had blue hair and various body piercings.    The next occasion saw her at our home prior to attending a business dinner as our son’s escort, and I was asked to lend her a pair of tights for the evening so that the “cutting” scars on her legs would not show.    It wasn’t long after that, that an early May wedding was scheduled, and the mother-of- the-groom was heading toward the home of her parents to assist the mother-of-the-bride with her gown for the occasion, sewing basket in hand.   The family story that unfolded as we prepared for this wedding was an amazing one indeed.

Sonny, his pastor brother “Sam”, and Sally were all from Cajun country in Louisiana, and now were living and working in north central Illinois.    Sonny and Sally married young, not long after finishing high school.    Unlike the brother,  neither Sonny nor Sally are born-again believers to this very day, despite Sonny’s and Sam’s father also being a pastor.   Grandfather and uncle co-officiated at the tender wedding of our children in 2011.

A few years into Sonny and Sally’s marriage, Sally met another man and divorced Sonny.    She remarried this other man, taking two children, including our daughter-in-love, into this new “marriage”.    To the two dark-headed, olive-complected covenant children were eventually added a blonde half-sister.    God was nevertheless gracious to Sally, and after some time, He pulled her out of that unholy matrimony union.   In due time, she was back home and remarried to Sonny, who had honored his original vows and did not remarry.    (Having now met the whole family, I have to strongly suspect the unrelenting prayers of the elder pastor and his wife, Sally’s in-laws back in Louisiana.)

Though Sonny remains a polite but firm atheist, he did not hesitate to forgive his covenant wife, nor raise his little non-covenant step-daughter in such a way that you would never know she is not his own flesh and blood.    As far as SIFC is aware, the biological dad has not been part of our son’s sister-in-law’s life since the non-covenant marriage was dissolved between the parents.

This divorce and remarriage trial has left its scars scattered through the family, on several levels that reflect the unresolved need for this home to be introduced to Jesus Christ, so that He may become the center of that home.    One of the violent crimes against heaven, when satan drags off a believing spouse into a life of covenant family abandonment and legalized adultery, is that he or she is “AWOL” when a Sonny and Sally enter our lives, speaking of SIFC’s own prodigal, who would have gone out of his way to minister to Sonny a few years before falling away himself.    There is no other couple of similar age and experience to model a Christ-centered, restored marriage in front of them, nor moral authority to witness to them that no covenant marriage is beyond God’s touch to bring about ALL of His purposes for it.    Among Sonny and Sally’s children, the elder son is a practicing homosexual.     Our daughter-in-law has panic attacks, and it’s taken years to get her to wear a swimsuit, due pervasive scars from the season of cutting herself that resulted from the turmoil in her family. Though Sonny has forgiven his wife for these events,  the lack of Jesus, and of God’s design for biblical roles in their home has kept their relationship on tense and fragile terms where teamwork is present, but intimacy has never been fully restored.    Our son and their daughter have a vibrant, Christ-centered marriage, to the praise of God, and the prayers continue down in Louisiana, as well as in SIFC’s home,  for the power of God to get hold of that elder covenant marriage one more time!      For nothing will be impossible with God.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Are Millions REALLY Going to Hell for Remarriage Adultery? How Do We Know?

Luke16
by Standerinfamilycourt

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.   Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
–  Matthew 10:27-28

With permission, we’re sharing an “inbox” inquiry received on our Facebook community page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional:

“Quick overview. Covenant wife divorced me early nineties. Stood approx. 4 years until Cov. wife became engaged. Starting dating..fell into sin..ended up marrying woman I impregnated 1 week before cov. wife was remarried. Tough second marriage. 3 year separation where I stood for the non covenant marriage and she did come home with another mans child. Fast foward 15 years and she left again. This time as reading the bible and studying the blinders came off. Now back to standing for covenant marriage altho cov wife seems to have had a very blessed marriage. Sometimes I think if I had married one week after I would have had a good marriage and hers would have been bad. The struggle I have is with how my covenant wife has seem to have been so blessed. Reading your blog there was an article where you had come to grips with remarriage being a hell or heaven matter. What was the information the settled the matter in your heart? You see so many people in remarriages that love God…works demonstrate their faith, etc. that it’s hard to believe that an eternity in hell awaits them. Your thoughts are appreciated.”

( FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: Of course, we have addressed these recurring questions in many prior posts, such as this one,  and  this one, but we’re not surprised that the central question keeps popping up.)

Thanks for your question, Page Fan.   You raise many issues in your question, and the response can get lengthy in a hurry.  Since it’s a question many have, I’d like to give you a quick answer about the events that solidified the heaven-or-hell heart knowledge for “standerinfamilycourt”,  and give you a couple of resources to digest on your own.    Then, with your permission, and keeping your identity confidential, what I’d like to do is bring a fuller response to everyone through a blog post by the end of February.   May I ?

The first thing to understand is what Jesus was telling us in Matt.19:6 and 8.  Humanists, from Moses to the Pharisees, to Martin Luther to Pope Francis, have always rebelled against God’s order, which was established at creation, by trying to make the question of divorce and remarriage about allowances and “permissions”.
Jesus came along and said, “no, it’s strictly about metaphysics — to which there are no exceptions.”   This is what He’s saying in Matt. 19:6:  only God’s hand can form the lifelong one-flesh entity of holy matrimony.  He does it instantaneously and supernaturally, creating an entirely new entity, “they are never again two (according to the verb tense He actually used, translated into Greek) but one flesh.”   God then becomes the other party with that new entity to an unconditional covenant.  All of this occurs BEFORE physical consummation if the couple was chaste before taking vows.
Where they weren’t chaste, but there is no living, estranged spouse, it occurs before they are back up the aisle and out the door.

This is the foundation that makes all non-widowed “remarriage” adultery, and is why Jesus repeated on three separate occasions that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced woman enters into an ongoing state of adultery.   If it was adulterous for another man to “marry” YOUR covenant wife, it is equally adulterous for your one-flesh to claim to the world that she is “married” to that man, regardless of how “blessed” it might look from the outside.

I assure you, she knows that “hen soma” (satan’s glittery but pale counterfeit discussed in 1 Cor. 6:16) is a hollow substitute for “sarx mia” – the supernatural, God-joined genuine article.   Jesus was not just saying in Matt.19:6 and 8 (SIFC: notice the verb tense again in “it was not [EVER] this way”) that divorce was immoral — He was saying that man’s paper claims of “dissolution” were IMPOSSIBLE.   Only death severs the one-flesh entity, and only death removes God from the unconditional covenant He has made with that inseverable one-flesh entity.   To the divorced and remarried priest He addresses through the prophet Malachi (chapter 2), He says….” the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS (not “was”) your companion and your wife by covenant.”

I have always known from my earliest days as a believer that non-widowed remarriage was fake and adulterous, and this came by revelation of God’s direct word and the Holy Spirit’s counsel to me personally.   I stood strong against the rapidly-apostasizing church four decades ago based on that.   But even in those days, I only knew a fraction of what I was eventually to learn.    So here are the events that clarified things for me:

The first thing was that the pastor of my own church decided a few years ago to take many weeks to teach the entire congregation on Sundays how to use the principles of sound hermeneutics in bible study to detect and avoid error / “spin”.   He was so serious about it that he did this right from the pulpit in the main service.   He wasn’t teaching on marriage, just general principles.   I then read a 1957 book called “Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage?” written around the same kind of rigorous hermeneutic framework as I had just learned in church, written by a bible college president who died in 1975.

The second thing was the range of accomplished bible scholars I met shortly afterward.   Soon I met displaced pastors whose covenant wives had divorced them, but they had obeyed the Lord and remained celibate, some of them for 30 years who never had a church again after that, expressly because they refused to “remarry”. These guys (and in one case an accomplished lady bible scholar who had repented of an adulterous “remarriage” with another woman’s “divorced” husband), taught me how to use free online deep bible study tools to get back to the original Greek and Hebrew texts, which then exposed all of the places where liberal bible translation committees had distorted our English-language bibles over the past 100 years or so to make divorce and remarriage seem acceptable.  I then found out there were a handful of happily married pastors, in quite a mix of denominations, with congregations who agreed with these “divorced” pastors and preached the truth boldly from their own pulpits all of the truth.   Being able to see the differences in Greek word usage that the liberal commentators don’t tell people about, helped me deeply understand the nature of both one-flesh and God’s unconditional covenants, as well as His character in how He treats His holy symbols.

Once I had this hermeneutics and online tools methodology under my belt, I happened to be accepted as a FB friend by a prominent professor (former Catholic) in a mainline Protestant seminary who had become an early friend of our FB page, and who had once rebutted Dr. David Instone-Brewer’s erroneous and liberal book from 2001.   Dr. G allowed me to post marriage indissolubility comments on his wall, which is a gathering-place for Christian leaders and students, but he became uncomfortable and PM’d me one evening when I posted evidence that it’s a heaven-or-hell issue, just as remaining in a sodomous relationship is for gays who claim to be believers.

Dr. G: ”  [SIFC}, I think you are beginning to dominate the discussion on my divorce post overly much. I think people understand your point. Some of it is helpful but careful for overkill.”

SIFC:  “Good evening, Dr. G. Sorry I’ve offended. I’m in the middle of finishing a blog, so will give it a rest, and I do appreciate the touch-base. I do have a question, if it’s something you’ve addressed before. In your mind, is there any difference between “not inheriting the kingdom of God” and going to hell?   This is a serious question and would love to have your input some time. Thanks.”

Dr. G:  “Not inheriting the kingdom of God means exclusion from eternal life.”

SIFC:   “So I guess your response would be “no difference”?”

Bottom line, he readily admitted that they mean the same thing, and has continued to allow me to post the same kinds of comments ever since.    (The other possibility might have been for him to cite “loss of rewards”, as some of the Calvinists do with regard to the born-again who disobey the Lord in this area, but he didn’t do so.)

By that  late evening incident in 2015, I knew that it wasn’t wrong to link 1 Cor.6:9-10  with Luke 16:18, since after all, Jesus Himself did so in verses 19-31 of Luke 16.   Notice He also does so in Matthew 5:27-32, keeping in mind that when those words came out of His mouth, there was no bible committee to sanitize it by adding “helpful headings” and “suggested divisions”.     (Dr. G still claims there is adultery and “adultery-lite” depending on whether or not there’s man’s paper involved, but this learned seminarian has never been able to point to any scripture that supports this, except for the (irrelevant) story of the woman shacking up with a non-husband,  to whom John’s account doesn’t tell us Jesus told her she had to “come out of”  – but neither does John’s account tell us that He told her to hie herself off to the rabbi and “marry” the dude, post-haste.)
Dr. G is similar to John Piper and Voddie Baucham, good men who all agree that “remarriage” is adultery before it actually happens, but who all object, without scriptural basis, to the idea that repenting of this ongoing sin is done the same way as repenting of any other ongoing state of sin.

The third thing that happened is that I was exposed to all of the writings of the early church leaders, from the Apostles – people who had been in the house with Jesus after His confrontation with the Pharisees about remarriage being adultery, where He spoke of becoming a “eunuch” for the sake of inheriting the kingdom of God – to the ones that lived some 300 or 400 years later. They were unanimous about it as well. Even if some of them did consider man’s “divorce” real in terms of a separation, they all knew it didn’t dissolve anything until somebody died, so they all unanimously forbid remarriage while an estranged spouse was still alive.
One of them, Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antioch (died when executed by the Romans in a den of lions) said this around 100 A.D. :

“Do not be in error, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified? Such a one becoming defiled in this way shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall everyone that harkens unto him.”

This audio link with important church history details is by Rev. Stephen Wilcox – whom I also highly recommend to you as a contact. Stephen runs the Spirit of Hosea Fellowship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhhGSHJAef4

We have to understand that remarriage adultery doesn’t just break the commandment against adultery. It also breaks the 1st commandment against idolatry (finding God-substitutes / self-worship), and the 8th, 9th and 10th commandments (stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting that which belongs to another).
If we die in the ongoing sin of remarriage adultery we die in all of those other sins as well, and we know from Rev. 21:8 that unrepentant liars and covetous idolators are cast into the lake of fire.   Ditto for living in an ongoing state of unforgiveness which Jesus repeatedly stated will send people to hell if they die in that state (see Matt. 18:23-35).   Adulterous remarriage constitutes permanent unforgiveness, taking our own revenge, as well as idolatry, covetousness, theft and sexual immorality.

MarriageHeresy

If we stand for our covenant marriage, our motivation has to be right — we have to dread the idea of our God-joined one-flesh being cast into the lake of fire so much that we are determined to go the distance in what will seem like endless deprivation.  We have to dread the idea that our children and grandchildren are likely to emulate our example of something that could send them to hell, unless they have the chance to observe us drawing a durable moral line in the sand.    Above all, we can’t presume to give the Ruler of All Heaven and Earth a selfish time limit before we go and jeopardize yet another person’s soul by purporting to “marry” them when we are already joined for life in holy matrimony by GOD.

There’s much I can say about the appearance that your wife is “blessed” while “married” to somebody Jesus repeatedly called an adulterer.   To gain some perspective, I suggest you read all of Luke, chapter 16, and think deeply about everything Jesus was saying in that rich chapter and how it all ties together.  The part about unrighteous mammon (following the world system), about John the Baptist who was beheaded for warning a pair of remarriage adulterers to repent or face hell and what Jesus thought about that, and finally the story of the rich man and Lazarus, thinking about how that relates to your exclusive one-flesh and the counterfeit she is “married” to.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   –  Matthew 5:44-45

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  – Galatians 6:7-8

(FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: When we sow peas, we don’t reap corn.   We usually reap much later than we sow, and normally, we reap much more than we sow.   When the covenant wife “divorces” her husband, she takes herself out of the God-ordained covering-and-authority structure that includes her God-joined husband with God over him, which is also planting a “seed”, of sorts.  That act [unrepented], too, is a “work” that is demonstrating her “faith”, is it not?   God’s mercy toward her may be because she was never taught any better, but we cannot say.)

And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?   No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”   Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”     –  Luke 16:12-15

In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.   And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.   –  Luke 16:23-25

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”   –  Matthew 7:13-14

Truly, I say to you, “they have their reward in full.”  – Matthew 6: 2, 5, and 16

Finally, Page Fan, do remember that God joins and honors valid mixed and pagan marriages as indissoluble, equally as He does “Christian” marriages.   However, if anyone in this scenario is unsaved, not born again, remarriage adultery won’t be the primary reason they wind up in hell.   Nobody can afford to put the cart before the horse.   I hope you will recognize these women in your life, and all the children, as souls first who need Jesus more than anything else.

Blessings, Page Fan, and I hope this helps.

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

What if a BELIEVING Spouse Leaves?

Peaceby Standerinfamilycourt

For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.   The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
–  Romans 16:19-20

Would the Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7:15 really be the same to the immorally-abandoned spouse of a backslidden believer as he gave to the abandoned spouse of an unbeliever who departs?

What is happening in the apostate church today is causing a contagion that goes a bit beyond what Paul spoke of in in his first epistle to the Corinthians.    No leader in the 1st thru 15th century church, outside of the rogue papacy of the Middle Ages who occasionally offered the indulgence of “annulment” (from the inception of that abominable heresy in the late 12th century), would have tolerated divorce and remarriage without excommunicating the guilty party and refusing to sanction any subsequent “marriage” of either partner.    We know this from the very consistent writings of the early church fathers in those centuries.  Hence, when Paul spoke of the (Greek: apistos “one who is unconvinced“) , contextually, he was speaking of the spouse of a relatively recent convert who was suffering the persecution from their one-flesh who “didn’t sign up for” a life of discipleship, and emotionally could not live under the same roof with the strong conviction that  this event invariably introduced into the home.    The purpose of allowing the unbeliever to depart while walking in our own tranquility was  (1) to allow refocus on discipleship without guilt or double-mindedness, and
(2) for God’s mercy and the supernatural power of the one-flesh bond to draw the agnostic into the kingdom of God through the built-in sanctification process in their mate.    All of the above presumed a pure, uncorrupted church body and godly leadership, such as prevailed in the 1st century church, into which Paul was speaking.

By sharp contrast, the apostate church of today is literally fueling the demand for rampant unilateral divorce and adulterous remarriage among professed believers by performing wicked, vain ceremonies over the already-married-for-life, by counseling those “married” to someone else’s God-joined spouse to remain in those adulterous unions lest they commit a “repeat sin”, by refusing to warn the adulterously-remarried that dying in that ongoing immoral state will send them to hell,  by handing pulpits over to pastors who are themselves adulterously “remarried”, and by steering people into unbiblical DivorceCare classes if satan attacks their holy matrimony union.    This has created an epidemic of “believers” departing in almost every church, with only a temporary (at best) rebuke from leadership– usually only until such time as the immoral relationship is legalized under man’s law.

Toxic Calvinism has added further fuel to the fire by claiming (often falsely) that the abandoning spouse “wasn’t born-again to begin with“,  and results in further hindering, due to the “once saved, always saved” (OSAS) heresy, the warning of hell that backslidden spouses are ethically owed by church leadership.     Who today is still publicly rebuking  Tulian Tchividjian or Kent Hovind,  as they were only a year or two ago?    Will the current furor die down in Christian alternative media when Greg Locke “marries” another man’s covenant wife and charges forward in his “ministry” as though he is not apostate before the Lord?     Does anyone even remember that John Hagee and Jim Bakker have done so for decades without rebuke?     Or that Benny Hinn and Charles Stanley, by the grace of God, both narrowly escaped falling into this apostasy?    Paul surely prophesied of an apostate latter-day church, but he left a strong prescription for cleaning out the old leaven.   Today’s wolves leave the leaven of the Pharisees undisturbed, and instead claim (temporarily, it seems) that none of these gentlemen were ever born again.    Will we allow them to say the same about our one-flesh partner, if we know differently?    Is that not damnable slander?

Do we spouses owe our deceived but born-again one-flesh mate who is running from God this warning of hell, if we know they won’t hear it anywhere else?    After all, the primary reason the unbelieving marital abandoner is going to hell is because they have never surrendered their life to Christ, not their ongoing state of legalized adultery.   They cannot possibly digest a hell message tied to holy matrimony until, and probably for some time after,  that eternally-crucial event occurs.   However, with regard to the one irreversibly indwelt with the Holy Spirt,  does such a warning constitute “striving” and “not allowing them to depart”, such as Paul envisioned?    Is such a warning to them from us failing to promote “living in peace”, in disobedience to Paul’s instructions?  Further, is challenging in court, or refusing to sign, an unconstitutional unilateral divorce petition which violates our precious 1st amendment protections also a failure to “allow the unbeliever to depart” in God’s eyes, or is it our holy witness of loving our enemy as we ourselves would want to be loved?    Is God at all offended by our earnest, eternally-motivated prayers to pull the immoral union apart for the sake of all the souls involved?

By way of illustration, in the state of Illinois the combined fault-based / “no-fault” petition in effect in 2012 (later changed by the legislature in 2015)  listed these “irreconcilable differences” assertions by the Petitioner:

  • That the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years
  • Irreconcilable differences  have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  • Good faith efforts at reconciliation have failed
  • Future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family

When no part of these four statements are true for the Christ-follower who believes in the holy will and power of God toward covenant spouses, whom His hand has personally joined and with whom He covenants until physical death,  if that Christ-follower is the “Respondent”, they had at that time only three options, only two of which would be according to their conscience:

(1) Perjure themselves by signing off their assent under oath in order to avoid a humiliating and expensive civil grounds trial

(2) Not respond  to the petition  at all, including not engaging counsel, and accept a default judgment

(3) Deny the false allegations and prepare to bring hard evidence into “family court” to attempt to disprove the allegations.

Due to lack of resources to carry off option (3), many standers would choose option (2), or worse, option (1).     “Standerinfamilycourt” chose option (3) and was blessed to have  been provided the resources necessary to do so.     Needless to say, this is not necessarily the option most evangelicals would consider the “way of peace” to which we are “called”.   But, due to the blatant slander of the character and power of God, and the sworn falsehood entailed in option (1), neither is that option necessarily the way of peace with God, even if it seems the “way of peace” with our one-flesh.    In “standerinfamilycourt’s” case, sustaining this civil trial compelled the petitioning prodigal to make numerous, disruptive transatlantic trips, further shattering the “peace”, as humiliating evidence of misdeeds and perjuries were brought forward in the courtroom.    Several requests and proposals to submit to counseling in order to cut the litigation short were offered by the Respondent and rejected by the Petitioner.

This begs the question:   what exactly is “peace” in the context Paul was using it in verse 15?

 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 us to peace.

InPeaceOrToPeace

The usual rendering of this verse in most contemporary English translations ends with called us to peace”, or it adds words, by inference, that are not in the Greek manuscript texts so as to equivalently render it “called us to [live in] peace”.       The idea of most exegetes (including the brief sermon link by Pastor Stephen Wilcox of the Spirit of Hosea Fellowship behind the clickable picture above) is that the disciple of Jesus is not to strive to induce an estranged spouse to remain in the home (some, though not Pastor Wilcox, go so far as to say,  in the marriage — which is nonsensical, since only death dissolves the holy matrimony union, and immoral departure from it only violates the union without severing it, hence, God never gave anyone the “choice” about staying in their vowed state of lifelong holy matrimony, we simply ARE in it if the spouse of our youth is alive, whether we like it or not).

What if, however, Paul actually meant that our “peace” is not merely the result of our chosen actions toward our prodigal spouse or any other adversary, but is, at least in part,  the passive result of our regeneration in Christ?    Wouldn’t that mean that we are “walking in peace” if we are sincerely living to depend upon and please Him?    This would certainly be consistent with the actual untranslated, literal texts, at least.    We are called “in” peace, it literally reads, not necessarily “called to” peace (a circumstance that we might be able to influence to a certain degree, but certainly not control).

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace {G1514-eiréneuó)with all men.
– Romans 12:18

Several wise Christian leaders have truthfully asserted that the absence of conflict does not necessarily constitute the presence of peace, just as the presence of courage is not comprised of all absence of fear.    Both depend to a certain degree on our behavior responses, which reflect varying degrees of faith.   Choosing option (1) above, entailing perjury and blasphemy, does not make for peace with God’s glory.     Choosing option (3) may seem contentious on the surface, but may actually reflect a larger purpose of God as well as not only looking out for our own interests but concern for the interests of others, even if it alienates our spouse.     Of the three, which option requires the most faith and confidence in God?    Which option requires the least faith and confidence in God?

Peace-#1515-eiranay_2

According to Strong’s concordance, there are five Hebrew words which translate into the Greek eiréné (G1515) for “peace”, which is the root word for the English word “serenity”.     One of these is shalom, which means not only the absence of conflict, but the presence of overall well-being or wholeness.

Here’s a link to the other biblical Greek words for “peace”.

Hesuchazo (G2270 ) – Luke 14:4 and 23:56.
(to keep quiet, to rest, cease from labor)

  • to lead a quiet life, said of those who are not running hither and thither, but stay at home and mind their business
  • to be silent, i.e. to say nothing, hold one’s peace.

Sigao (G4601) – Luke 9:36; Luke 20:26; Acts 12:17; Acts 15:12-13;
1 Corinthians 14:28; 1 Corinthians 14:30; 1 Corinthians 14:34Romans 16:25
(to keep silence, hold one’s peace: to be kept in silence, be concealed)

Salem (G4532 Hebrews 7:2
(the ancient name of Jerusalem, where Melchizidek was king; city of peace)

Mesites (G3316Galatians 3:19-201 Timothy 2:5Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24
(mediator, arbitrator, peacekeeper)

Peacemakers; peace-lovers (G1518) are eirénopoiosMatthew 5:9 whom Jesus told us were blessed.

Hence, the idea of conflict avoidance to appease the prodigal and his/her allies, or ‘”option (1)” in the unilateral petition dilemma, seems more closely related to  sigao (conflict concealment) than eirene.   “Option (2)” might be consistent with hesuchazo in the circumstance of a lack of means to do otherwise, but there is no assurance of wholeness.   However, if we’re called to a life of discipleship in well-being or wholeness, this more closely links with the “shalom” understanding of eiréné, which appears to be passive and not at all instructional.     The “option (3)”  response does not appear to be “striving” (provided it is not motivated by seeking our own vengeance) and can morally be selected as part of a vision for God to do something bigger than ourselves, such as a constitutional legal challenge to an immoral law that is destroying society and triggering God’s judgment on the land.

And the peace (eirene) of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   – Philippians 4: 7

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27

Eirene is the most frequently-appearing form of “peace” in the New Testament.   Virtually everywhere it’s used, the context is far greater than mere conflict avoidance or conflict concealment or appeasement.   Certainly, covenant marriage standers don’t “stand” if they want to avoid conflict.   Most allies of our prodigals consider our stands “selfish”  and “divisive”, after all.    We stand because we seek the wholeness and well-being of our covenant family, and this requires far more than appeasement and conflict avoidance.

In properly understanding what the Apostle had in mind when he gave the instruction in 1 Cor. 7:15, it also doesn’t hurt to check that we have an accurate understanding of what it means to be “called”.

kletos – (G2822 ) – 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:2
(invited; commissioned; appointed)

kaleó  – (G2564) – 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15;
1 Corinthians 7:17-18; 1 Corinthians 7:2022; 1 Corinthians 7:24; 1 Corinthians 10:27; 1 Corinthians 15:9

(Note that this verb “called” is consistent throughout 1 Corinthians 7 for our rebirth into the kingdom of God while in a pre-existing condition;  called (keklēken) while married or single; called (keklēken) while circumcised or uncircumcised; called (keklēken) while a slave or a free person.   It does not seem to be connected with a particular command or instructions other than to remain in that condition, so long as it is not an immoral state that calls for repentance.)

  1. to call
    1. to call aloud, utter in a loud voice
    2. to invite
  2. to call i.e. to name, by name
    1. to give a name to
      1. to receive the name of, receive as a name
      2. to give some name to one, call his name
    2. to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among men)

to salute one by name

eklektos  –  (G1588)   Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Matthew 24:22; Matthew 24:24; Matthew 24:31

(picked out, chosen by God, to obtain salvation through Christ

  1. Christians are called “chosen or elect” of God
    • the Messiah in called “elect”, as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable
    • choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians

1 Cor 7.15 dissected

 Picture credit:  Sharon Henry

We can make no mistake: the believing spouse who abandons their one-flesh companion to pursue and attempt to “legitimize” their adultery partner is every bit as lost as the unbelieving spouse who does so, if they never repent or make restitution, but instead die in the illicit relationship.    But the very day-to-day nature of that lostness is profoundly different.   In the latter case, the hounds of heaven pursue the unregenerated wayward spouse from outside his or her body.    In the case of the immoral believer, a grieved and quenched Holy Spirit, never comforted by man’s paper,  is forcibly, unwillingly joined time and again with a harlot or whoremonger, as Paul so vividly describes in the previous chapter.   In the unregenerated adulterer, the Holy Spirit is not forced along for the ride.   Is it not therefore at least possible that the approach to that wandering sheep was not actually addressed by Paul as specifically as in verse 15, but more generally by verses 11, and 39?     Today’s OSAS crowd would have us believe that this difference does not exist,  as they would have us believe that sarx mia (God-joined one-flesh) can be severed by other than death,  and they would have us believe that man-legalized spouses are morally interchangeable in God’s sight.

Lastly,  it should be noted that the Greek term apistos (G571) has usages other than “unbeliever”, including “faithless” or “lacking faith”.    Its usage is different, however, than in 1 Peter 3:1 where apeithousin (G544) is used for “disobedient one”, “rebel” or “disloyal one”.    It is also distinguished from moichalis (G3428) – a spiritual adulterer or idol-worshipper.   Further, apistos is distinguished from parapesontas (G3895) – meaning apostasy or one who has fallen away.    All considered, it is doubtful that Paul was talking about a backslidden believer in 1 Cor. 7:14 or 1 Cor. 7:15, in his instruction to allow the unbeliever to depart without challenge of any sort, and his encouragement that the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing spouse.    Possibly, this is because a Tulian Tchividjian or a Kent Hovind or a Greg Locke would already have such a hardened, demon-controlled heart, bordering on apostasy, that the choices of their believing one-flesh spouse in seeking family wholeness would be unlikely to have much effect in the short run, regardless.    Perhaps in the longer run, however, such a person’s God-joined, one-flesh mate is the only other soul strong enough to wage long term spiritual warfare for their soul, possibly averting the realization of dire warning in Hebrews 6:4-6:

 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

SIFC says this in hope rather than in firm reliance on scripture, only because of the miraculous testimonies of prodigals who have indeed returned to the Lord and to their faithful, praying stander, sometimes after decades of willful apostasy (as contrasted with negligent ignorance of the truth of marriage indissolubility).     This may be due to nothing more that the mercy and special favor of the Lord for the obedient stander in these evil times.

Wrapping up,  “standerinfamilycourt” would say that any abandoned spouse who was not around for their prodigal mate’s conversion and regeneration, and did not live with them to see several years of progressive transformation thereafter, whose maturing children’s lives and attitudes show they were not “caught by”, rather than “taught”, the way of the Spirit of God by the progidgal’s example during those post-conversion years,  is probably best off assuming their spouse was a goat among the sheep, or a tare among the wheat, and applying the traditional view of 1 Cor. 7:15 (except for the false notion that the marriage bond is “broken” or never existed) – as Pastor Wilcox described it in the audio link above.  Ditto, for the case where the spouse apostasized from the exceedingly rare church that did teach the full truth about the no-excuses indissolubility of holy matrimony, with eternal consequences being frankly exegeted from the pulpit.    These last prodigals are consciously rejecting truth that they have been faithfully exposed to, and in that regard, are not unlike the man in 1 Cor. 5 whom Paul deemed it necessary to hand over to satan that his soul may be saved for the last day.

That said, a considerable number of genuinely born-again, Spirit-indwelt prodigal spouses, where the above signs were in solid evidence before they fell away,  were sold a “bill-of-goods” by the harlot church and failed to hear the truth for decades since, from leadership who may not even have known the truth about the nature of sarx mia (the inseverable one-flesh state and indissolubility) during the post-1970’s era.   These prodigals remain in great danger (if they have “remarried”), of falling under the influence of a John Piper or a Voddie Baucham or a Russell Moore or a David Servant who will tell them between 50% and 98% of the truth, but the 2% which all of these Calvinist shepherds are omitting is eternally lethal, because they all omit, misrepresent and discourage the opportunity for true repentance to someone who has the Spirit-endued capacity to absorb the unadulterated truth.    This truth should never be delivered as a cudgel or as a naggy, dripping faucet.   It should not be forced, but we should prayerfully ask God to open up to us, as their one-flesh true spouse, the rare opportunity where it is natural to share once or very, very infrequently, and we obey Him in that moment.

 

As a repentant Solomon once exposited, late in life:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.   For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Having done what the Lord requires of us,  we then should plead before the throne of heaven for the Lord to stir up the grieved and quenched Holy Spirit in our born-again prodigal to cause what was shared to be recalled by Him frequently to their disturbed remembrance, also  to hedge them off from the offices (and YouTube channels) of the evangelical wolves,  and grant them an overwhelming burden for their own soul and that of their faux spouse.   Once we have done that, and we have obeyed in forgiving and restoring them when and if they repent, we will then not have to endure God’s future rebuke that what we failed to do for the least of these, we failed to do for Him.

The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
– 1 Peter 3:10-12

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

Christian Culture Wars: Why is the MESSENGER Seen as “Judge”?

angry-judgeby Standerinfamilycourt

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

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.   –  Luke 6:26

Some of us have a bad habit of mirroring our self-image after the perceptions and expressed feelings of others.     Hopefully this unhealthy tendency diminishes under the power and control of the Holy Spirit as we acquire the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  But keeping our self-concept firmly rooted in Christ doesn’t happen automatically.    We have to take a deep breath and be intentional about it.    “Standerinfamilycourt”  has some dear longtime church friends who happen to be legalized adulterers, by Christ’s definition.  Well over 30 years ago, the wife civilly divorced her God-joined, one-flesh husband for some infraction, and probably a very serious one.    Already a mother of young covenant children, this lady “married” a more faithful gentlemen, and at some point thereafter, they got saved together.     They are the perfect argument for the evangelical crowd which cites  2 Corinthians 5:17, the “proof-text” that none of what Jesus repeatedly said about marrying another while the spouse of one’s youth is still alive  “should apply” to them because it all happened before they were born-again.     This couple is gracious, generous, hospitable in every way, and they both serve the church until they drop from exhaustion.   They were among the first to make us feel welcome in our new Assembly of God church after we moved from a distant state almost 20 years ago due job relocation.     When SIFC’s spouse (who was also very close to them) later went prodigal, they were the couple that made sure there was at least a birthday lunch that didn’t pass in lonely isolation.

In those earlier days, SIFC was aware that their “marriage” was adultery, biblically-speaking,  but was sincerely wrestling with a couple of issues that delayed any warning to them:

(1) whether those who die in legalized adultery always forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God (that is, go to hell despite all their goodness otherwise).

(2) whether an infinite God deals with such anomalies on an individual, case-by-case basis, knowing the hearts involved, and being more lenient with those whose pastors, under whom they were in submission, have innocently misled them.

Issue #1 was definitively resolved through some events that occurred within the past 3 years, after this couple had moved away.   Face it, would we not all behave very differently if we knew that not missing heaven due to clinging to a biblically-illicit relationship, (the opposite certainty) was even a possibility?      We might not remarry ourselves, out of a continued desire to love and obey Jesus, but we would at least have the relief that our prodigal spouse and our dear friends would not be risking hell if we didn’t do our best to speak up,  I believe.     There would be no compelling reason to offend  them with this (admittedly) harsh truth under those circumstances.     We could “live and let live”, and people would have a much-improved opinion of us.    We could then afford to be much gentler in our modes of influence.     We could attend a retreat and let heresy and misinformation float through the room while we “chill”.

Indeed, if millions of people weren’t actually going to hell for dying in the ongoing state of legalized adultery, if there really were no justifiable scriptural connection between #LukeSixteenEighteen  and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,  then the constitutional offense which unilateral divorce represents to Christ-followers would be much lighter (at least with regard to the violation of our right to free religious exercise), and we could conscionably “chill” with regard to working for full repeal, in order to go along with the many who are trying to mitigate the 14th amendment violations of property and parental rights by working for various tweaks to the existing laws, which they see as more “doable” than full repeal.    (But, I digress.)

The timely, definitive resolution of Issue #1 in SIFC’s personal experience made Issue #2 absolutely moot in one fell swoop.    SIFC’s very public  “ministry” was launched as a result, though it was not originally planned that way.   Issue #2  became even more moot as awareness grew of the free online deep bible study resources available to any sincere Christ-follower wanting the truth and wanting to obey, also with the growth in vocality of the Marriage Permanence movement leaders and members, including several solid pastors with very well-done online sermons.    As deplorably difficult as this matter is, it’s becoming increasingly impossible for anyone in the church to honestly claim they’ve not been warned, unless they live under a rock.    This trend is quite likely to continue, orchestrated by God.

One day the wife of this couple (a facebook friend) broke into an online  conversation SIFC was having with another gentleman on the topic of the need for adulterously “married” partners to sever those unions.      She gave a very emotional plea around all that she had experienced in suffering under her true marriage with the unsaved husband of her youth, then the Lord “bringing her” a godly husband who got saved alongside her.    A very dicey exchange followed, along the lines of SIFC’s then-recent discoveries described above, also how our denomination had officially moved from a biblical to an unholy and unbiblical MDR doctrine in 1973 (another recent discovery).     My dear friend was told that the pain of this is entirely the fault of the evangelical pastors who decided they knew more than Jesus and Paul about what was right in God’s sight, and that I came to be conclusively convinced with the confirmation of reliable authorities of its heaven-or-hell nature.    My friend’s Catholic upbringing, which she felt redeemed out of,  did not help the conversation much, suffice it to say.

At the end of the conversation, we “agreed to disagree”, and I was amazed that she did not “unfriend” me.   Nor did she “unfollow” me, apparently.     Some time passed, during which I was also exposed to my own relatives, among whom there are also a fair number of the adulterously “married”,  and at some point last year, this lady started occasionally posting these nondescript “swipes” on her wall, addressed to who-knows, similar to this:

“If becoming ‘religious’ has made you more judgmental, rude, harsh, a backbiter, you need to check if you are worshipping God or your ego.”

 Obviously, there is no way to deliver a message that half or more of the “marriages” in the church are no more than papered-over adultery,  according to Jesus that would not come off as harsh to most people.    John the Baptist certainly found this out in no uncertain terms.     I decided to just let the snipes and swipes go by without a response of any sort, but did notice they tended to come after a particularly outspoken day with others on repenting from legalized adultery.     On two of these occasions, there had been a reference to 1 Corinthians 5 in the hours that preceded, and the instruction “not to even eat with such” (in hopes that they will repent and the souls will be rescued, as Paul hoped in the situation he was addressing.)     Yup, that would probably do it!     I realized that the combination of this sister continuing to follow “standerinfamilycourt”  while avoiding any further direct confrontation beyond that first long ago challenge on my wall probably had at least a small element of conviction in it (and probably no small amount of frustration that SIFC was not “healing” out of the “cult” phase — with past-due apologies tendered).     I began to ask myself if, the core message having been dutifully delivered to her, it might be best at this time to quietly “unfriend” her to spare her the emotional turmoil of my very public ministry until the Holy Spirit could finish the job of convicting.   Before doing this,  I sought the advice of fellow standers in a non-public forum.      Some suggested tweaks to privacy settings I wasn’t aware of, and others pointed to the conviction that is likely building  insider her.   One particularly insightful comment went like this:

” I think what most of these friends think … is that “we” are the ones sending them to hell for remarriage.. when we know that power is not within us but God…”

Now this is some food for thought:   how might they think what they think about this?     Do they want us to just “shut up” ?   I’m sure they do!   Do we speak such a thing as consignment to hell “into being”, in their estimation or fears, as the Lord does?    Do they think we “pray them” into hell (or that we would even remotely want to)?    How could the judgment of hell (or its prospect, at least) be coming from anywhere but the One with divine authority to do it?

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
– Matthew 10:28

There is the fateful scene in the book of Acts, with Ananias and Sapphira, where Peter says: Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”
(The pair had sold land and misrepresented the proceeds from it which they had pledged to the community of believers.)    Those speaking out the truth in marriage permanence are speaking scripture, but aren’t coming even close to taking this kind of authority in Jesus’ name as Peter did.    It will never be deemed “loving” in most people’s eyes to tell someone that their “marriage” is adultery and their soul is on the line.    But it is even more unloving not to tell them, even if in today’s warped culture,  pointing out immoral behavior is deemed a “worse” sin than committing the immorality in the first place.     This is because the guilty conscience cannot be rational, and cannot see that a godly rebuke, though it’s coming out of the mouth of a human, is ultimately from God.    David saw this, for example, did not protest to Nathan that the prophet’s ego was talking and that he was a backbiter.    How could he when the moral rebuke of murdering a covenant husband in order to legalize and conceal his own adultery was to his face?     In the instance of an offended, furtive follower of a public ministry that rebukes the culture of the harlot church and the anti-Christ actions of its leaders (usually by name), it’s most accurately the taking of offense just because “the shoe fits”.      There’s another word for this:  fruitless conviction.

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.      –  Proverbs 28:1

If anything constitutes “backbiting”, it’s putting a “corrective” message on one’s wall that has no “To” line.    This friend is not normally a wicked person, and her predicament is largely due to the faithlessness of the shepherds she followed in subconscious preference to following what’s actually in her bible.    Even for “standerinfamilycourt” who loves both of these legalized adulterers of 30+ years deeply and personally,  it going to be the saddest of days when conviction does finally and properly land, and they realize they must separate in order to see each other in heaven.     They spent those decades doing what they sincerely thought was godly and right, in devotion to both Him and each other.   If any unlawful couple caused SIFC to wrestle with the Lord about #LukeSixteenEighteen,  it’s this couple.

We tend to make an assumption in the contemporary church that Jesus, Paul and the apostles were consistently meek when addressing all issues, and that they only got “rough” with the Pharisees.     This leads to the belief that anger or directness is never appropriate or “godly” in dealing with a deadly spiritual cancer — one, in fact, that is infested with demons.     A recent article,  Read The Gospels To Discover The Jesus Nobody Likes To Talk About by Glen T. Stanton in the Federalist states it this way:

“Two truths about Jesus seem to be at odds with the modern Christian understanding and presentation of God’s son. First, the God-man, unbound by time, held a decidedly ancient and unenlightened view of the world by contemporary standards. Second, he did hurt others’ feelings and didn’t apologize for it—and not just those of the religious fat cats of the day.   Along with the tender Lamb of God, we find a lion as well. We must admit to and accept all of this if we want to know the whole divine person of Christ.”

Very typically, the other person like this in many of our lives is our own prodigal spouse, someone who does not need any enticement to think and speak negatively about their true one-flesh covenant mate in order to self-justify keeping the counterfeit.     If that person was ever born-again, the Holy Spirit is pursuing them relentlessly, day by day, hour by hour, and doing so from within.    It’s easy for the blame for that to fall on the praying covenant marriage stander who has not taken off their wedding ring even though their spouse may have put on a false one.   If the covenant spouse also takes an unrelenting public stand against institutionalized adultery, meaning to change both law and culture, it escalates from there.   Prodigals are half-right about the blame for their discomfort.    We are instruments or agents of what they dread, but we are not the Divine Orchestrator.

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 Corinthians 7:10

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

The Gospel According to David Servant (versus We of the “Divine Divorce Doctrine”) – Part 2

DServant2by Standerinfamilycourt

“…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.   For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
– 2 Timothy 4:2-4

I’m Living in an Ongoing State of Legalized Adultery with Somebody Else’s Spouse.   Can I Get Away With It?

We continue with our response to Part 2 of a three-part blog series  written by David Servant which denies that all non-widowed remarriage is, as Jesus repeatedly stated it was, an ongoing state of adultery which needs to be renounced to gain or recover one’s inheritance in the kingdom of God.     Our response to Part 1 of this series can be read on this link.     We find ourselves rejoicing that this post is only about half the length of installment 1, especially when we see that the first couple of paragraphs amount to nothing but demonizing ad hominem and substanceless sarcasm.

Our serial polygamy apologist makes this statement, after crowing for bit about how many folks have lined up to be told what their itching ears long to hear,

“There is, of course, a diversity of opinion within the body of Christ regarding divorce and remarriage, but Divine Divorce Proponents (or the “Marriage Permanence Community” as they refer to themselves) are definitely on the fringes.”

Indeed,  due to the carnality of so-called “Christians” and the torrent of false conversions in the body of Christ, there is quite a diversity of opinion,  but there remains only one redeemed path to the kingdom of God.    I defy Mr. Servant to name one Old or New Testament saint who wasn’t “on the fringes”, as indicated by their jailings, beatings, beheadings, crucifixions, etc.     There should not be this “diversity of opinion” nor any pridefulness  in it.   Servant’s boasting is not good.  Pastors should encourage Christ-following, not self-worship.    Jesus said, once the salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing except to be trampled under foot.     

The Comforter of the Covetous continues,

“The narrow way is apparently much narrower than most of us have ever imagined. And hundreds of thousands of professing Christian married couples are going to be very surprised when God casts them into hell for keeping their marriage vows…”

David, you’re not paying attention!   The reason there’s an issue in the first place is that at least one of those “maligned” parties isn’t keeping their marriage vows to their true spouse, and in a lot of cases, its both of them.   It doesn’t matter what they “profess” if they ignore God’s word and mock the blood of Jesus with the conduct their very lives.   And yes, because only a faithful handful of the saints are telling them the truth (and those don’t tend to run multi-million dollar mega media ministries), these people are going to be VERY surprised when they find themselves in hell as Paul warns (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4), and as Jesus warns (Matt. 5:27-32 and Luke 16:18-31).    Hellbound, unless they repent, for that matter, are their false shepherds who knew what God’s word plainly says, but still discounted it, and who made humanistic excuses while they went right on misusing the Lord’s name to perform vain acts,  namely, solemnizing adulterous weddings.   And yes, Jesus made it very clear that the teeming millions would be on the broad path leading to destruction, while only a few would find (or even be attracted to) the narrow path.    Following  blind guides almost guarantees this, unless here and there, the Holy Spirit convicts a person to listen to the dissenting minority voice long enough to be persuaded to do their own research.   The narrow way has at no time in history been any narrower than God’s word, and specifically no narrower than the words of Christ and Paul explicitly state.

As before, it’s necessary to cut through a whole bunch of myopic, self-serving Servant rhetoric.    Which isn’t difficult at all….

During conversations with Divine Divorce Proponents, I’ve actually wondered if I’m on Candid Camera. The conversations seem unreal. I can hardly believe I’m having a discussion with professing Christians who advocate that hundreds of thousands of Christian couples should divorce. Here is what one of them recently wrote in response to my claim that God hates divorce (as God Himself said in Mal. 2:16):

‘God does not hate the divorce that is a repentance of adultery. God loves repentance. The angels rejoice. By not being on the right side, you are labelling what God loves (repentance), as what God hates, you make yourself an enemy of the cross. Christianity calls for self denial and loving the truth even when it hurts. There are many who have a ticket to hell because they have remarried into adultery. Their destiny will only change if the adultery by remarriage comes to an end. Abandoning such adultery is an act of repentance, which God loves, not hates.’

“So, they claim, God sometimes loves it when Christians divorce and families are divided. In fact, the angels rejoice when Christians—who have been previously divorced—divorce again. Those who don’t agree with this view are “enemies of the cross.” One zealous Divine Divorce Proponent believes that great revival would come to America if all the Christians who have been previously married and divorced would divorce again.

“Divine Divorce Proponents actually believe that a person could be a believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense, even one who spends decades as a missionary to a remote region in an impoverished nation, but if that person dies in the state of being married a second time while his or her original spouse is still alive, that person will be cast into hell. Stranger still, if their original spouse dies one second before they die, they will go to heaven, as the death of their former spouse will release them from their “adulterous marriage.” If you are a divorced and remarried Christian, you not only need Jesus’ death to inherit eternal life. You also need the death of your original spouse at least one second before you die.”

As discussed in the previous blog, Servant rejects the authority and most especially, the application, of what Jesus stated in Matthew 19:6 and 8:

“So they are no longer [never again – by the present-indicative verb tense] two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let NO MAN separate…He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not [ever – by the perfect indicative verb tense] been this way.”

We shouldn’t take Christ’s words so literally, Servant says.   After all, He said a thing or two that were clearly hyperbolic,  that He didn’t actually mean to be applied, especially to our own lives.  That reduces what sounds like a commandment to any reasonable person, to merely a “design”, an “ideal”, a “purpose”, or “God’s best”  – a target that it’s OK to miss, in other words.    It’s easy to see how someone who denies that Jesus meant that a one-flesh (sarx mia, as contrasted with the hen soma referred to in 1 Cor. 6:16) entity, never again to be seen by God as two,  is supernaturally created by God’s hand as an essential element of holy matrimony….would therefore find it that much easier to also deny the three separate times Jesus flatly stated that any third party “marrying” the God-joined spouse of another living person under immoral civil laws, was REALLY entering into a state of ongoing adultery.      It would explain why Servant  would presume to think that God can be removed from that original unconditional covenant, and not only that, but why a holy God would turn right around and participate in a second purported covenant that by its very nature repudiates the first one.

Our guess is that David Servant rails against other non-marriages that are civilly legal, but does not cry in his (root) beer when those purported “spouses” legally and physically sever when coming to Christ, and as a consequence of repentence, those “families” are broken up.    You see, there’s repentance and there’s repentance.     Socially acceptable “Christian” sin isn’t supposed to be covered under 1 Cor. 6: 9-10, we hear.   We must make a distinction between adultery and adultery-lite, the purported “one-time act”, Servant tells us.   Heck, most contemporary English bible translations these days don’t even list adultery in Galatians 5:19-21 (even though the original manuscripts did), so the legalized variety “can’t” be all that soul-destroying.    “Christian” sin is different from unchurched sin, apparently, especially when legalized adulterers volunteer on every church project they can, and they give profusely out of their gratitude for the “grace” they’ve received.    Our guess is that a lesbian pair, if admitted as such to a grace-filled church, would give and serve even more than the heterosexuals, and the children of that “family” would suffer just as much initial emotional pain if their parents repented of the illicit union it is built upon.

We pointed out last time that divorce is an entirely manmade construct that is not only immoral, but equally impossible.…unless you reject outright what Christ said in Matthew 19:5-6, and 8 (the straightforward meaning of which Servant has stated in this blog series that he does indeed reject).   Servant insists that divorce is a provision from God for “hard-heartedness”, and claims that Jesus endorsed it for “sexual immorality”.    The preponderance of hard, objective biblical and historical evidence shows otherwise.

Hence, contrary to the emotional appeal above, the God-joined couple is only “divorced” in men’s eyes, and the subsequent faux couple is only “married” in men’s eyes.    Jesus would have no other basis for stating on three separate occasions, “EVERYONE who marries one who has been put away enters into an ongoing state of adultery.”     Paul would have no other basis for stating at least twice in his epistles, “So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.”  On the testimony of two witnesses, a fact is established.     Servant’s alibis cannot hold together based on scripture, so he has no choice but to twist scripture and appeal to emotions.     He behaves just like the legalized sodomy advocates in the harlot church do.

We demonstrated in the last rebuttal that the context of Malachi 2 is such that the cherry-picked verse 2:16, “God hates divorce” cannot be applied to the same sort of adulterous remarriage it is actually rebuking.   It would have been better if the spokesperson for marriage indissolubility whom he is taking to task had taken the time to point this out (and perhaps they did, but this part wasn’t quoted), nonetheless, it seems that anyone who runs a ministry, writes books, does recordings, and presumes to teach others, would at least do an honest enough reading of Malachi 2 to discern this for himself.   It’s not that hard.

“One zealous Divine Divorce Proponent believes that great revival would come to America if all the Christians who have been previously married and divorced would divorce again.”       This assertion sounds a bit misquoted.   Rather than mass repentance bringing on true revival, the enormous fear of today’s false shepherds is that the evangelical excesses of the past 50 years will be exposed and undone as a result of true revival, and the present trickle of repenting prodigals severing themselves from their adulterous unions will become a flood.    God’s mercy is such that it would have to be this way, but one who does not believe that this sin is sending millions to hell would never see it that way.    That fear, we would argue, is the core motivation behind this blog series we are rebutting.    The fact is, that no matter how many blogs are written on either side of the issue,  revival is in God’s hands, and no human force will stop what Servant fears.   A man whose record is clean (or repented) and whose confidence is in the Lord does not fear such purifying moves of God.

“Divine Divorce Proponents actually believe that a person could be a believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense, even one who spends decades as a missionary to a remote region in an impoverished nation, but if that person dies in the state of being married a second time while his or her original spouse is still alive, that person will be cast into hell.”

On the contrary, we scurrilous “DDD-ers” actually believe that such a person (“believing, born-again, self-sacrificing, devoted, fruitful, unashamed follower of Jesus in every sense”), when confronted with God’s true and plain word on this for the spin-less first time, has a heart to study it deeply for themselves, and has a heart for the eternal souls of everyone around them, including the faux spouse and watching family members.   We also point out that some people who spend decades on the mission field are not necessarily disciples of Christ.  Some words of Jesus quickly come to mind here (probably “hyperbole” which can therefore be safely ignored):

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?   Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:   he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.   But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
(Matthew 7:21-23;  Luke 6:46-50)

The kingdom of God is a place where the King is OBEYED.

SERVANT:  “If you are a divorced and remarried Christian, you not only need Jesus’ death to inherit eternal life. You also need the death of your original spouse at least one second before you die.”

This little sarcastic dart almost does not merit acknowledgment because it shows so little fear of God.    However, there is a substantive misconception to be addressed for the benefit of the readers.     People occasionally contact our pages saying their original covenant spouse has died while they were in their remarriage.    They still don’t have peace, and they want to be right with God.    We always ask them if they’ve fully confessed their remarriage as being the  ongoing state of sin that it is, and a misrepresentation of Christ’s role as the Bridegroom before a watching world.   Quite often, they have even more to confess, even as church-goers, such as adulterous cohabitation before they legalized.  This confession must come from a chastened heart, which is not possible if they have believed a false shepherd who tells them the things that Servant tells them, especially the prevalent falsehood that Christ’s blood “covers” unrepented, ongoing sin.     It is the Holy Spirit who leads them to our pages if they are indeed born again, and they will say something like, “well, I’m seeing that it was wrong, but no, I haven’t been on my face before God.”    It’s important to understand that only sin confessed as sin, and then repudiated and ceased is forgiven.    Furthermore,  they are only coming to realize at that point that entering into a marriage Jesus called adulterous represents a decision to live in permanent unforgiveness and irreconciliation toward their sole and exclusive one-flesh.     Jesus made it plain that living in a state of ongoing unforgiveness sends a person to hell just as surely as living in a state of papered-over legalized adultery.     This, too, must be confessed and renounced even if it only comes after the death of that one-flesh, whom their own sinful attitude and example may have caused to die in legalized adultery.   Jesus said that the man who divorces his wife after consummation of the marriage (that is, all Gentile believers who do not practice kiddushin, Jewish betrothal) and marries another causes her to commit adultery.   Furthermore, they are not sarx mia with their current legal spouse until God makes them so, but only hen soma until then.   We advise that this requires new vows, and perhaps even a short separation for the sake of the watching children, as the previous (second) vow to repudiate the prior covenant vow with God and their true spouse was never valid in God’s sight.     One cannot validly vow to enter into and remain in a state of sin that will send them and others to hell if fulfilled.    Servant is here shamefully trivializing the process of repentance and restitution, and the facetious little anecdote he offered up next, suggesting murder as the perfect solution, couldn’t possibly indict him more as a mocker of God.   Woe to him if he does not repent on his face!

“Naturally, the churches and denominations that embrace Divine Divorce Doctrine do not admit into their membership anyone who has been previously divorced and remarried. Such folks who do seek membership are told that they must separate/divorce until their original spouse is dead. Obviously understanding what an awkward and dangerous thing it is to demand that people divorce to qualify for membership, it is interesting to read the attempts by Divine Divorce Churches to soften their official doctrinal positions. For example, the doctrinal positon of the Southeastern Mennonite Conference reads, “While the final decision to separate from an adulterous relationship [marriage] would be voluntary, God requires it for reconciliation to Him.” Translation: “Although it may seem that we require divorced and remarried people to separate in order to join us, in order to avoid lawsuits from people whom our new members divorce, here is our disclaimer: We don’t force anyone to separate; we only inform them that they will go to hell if they don’t.”

Given the full discussion above, it should be amply obvious why it is sinful for any church to take an adulterously-wed couple in as a couple, and just as sinful to perform such weddings to the desecration of their sanctuary and egregious breach of the third commandment.   Kudos to the handful of churches  who love the Lord more than they love the filthy lucre that causes most churches to throw souls under the bus   Whited sepulchers, Jesus called them, full of dead men’s bones!    What does Mr. Servant do when Adam and Steve show up on his doorstep flashing their wedding rings?   Do they do as one church in the Nashville area does, and onboard the mortal sin right along with the sinners?   Or does he deem the homosexual souls more precious and worthy of being told the truth than the heterosexual souls?   The latter would be our guess, based on what he’s professed in this debate.   While reasonable precautions should be taken against lawsuits that would lead to bad stewardship of resources, at the end of the day, ministries of God must not cower in fear of man’s lawsuits where eternal souls are on the line!    It is our hope that these Mennonite churches are not taking in legalized adulterers or legalized sodomites until they have fully repented.   Upholding the no-excuses sanctity of authentic holy matrimony typically isn’t a denomination thing.    There are liberal and conservative wings to denominations like the Mennonites and the Church of Christ.    There are individual Baptist, Congregational, Word of God churches and individual churches in other denominations, a small but growing number, whose God-fearing pastor  “goes rogue” in the eyes of the Pharasaical denominational establishment to be fully loyal to Spirit of God in this matter, taking the flak as necessary.   We’d love to have a comprehensive directory of them to hand out to longsuffering covenant marriage standers and repenting prodigals who find themselves without a church due to their courageous walks.    By contrast, we have megachurches bursting at the seams with people who were persuaded by the hucksters that they could come to Christ on their own terms.

Servant staggers off next into the very typical “look who agrees with me” argument.    He cites a 1990 book, Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views.     Did Jesus have four different views on this (or any) topic?   Believe it or not, there are still Spirit-led seminarians and scholars who publicly remind us of the uncompromised biblical view, even if it sometimes costs them their job.    Dr. Gordon Wenham, the late Dr. Leslie McFall, Dr. Wibur Pickering, Drs. John K Tarwater and David W. Jones, Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, to name just a few.   Come Judgment Day, the only valid question is, “who agrees with Jesus?”   The surest way to detect a counterfeit anything is to hold it up to the genuine article.

Servant trudges on:   “As you might imagine, Divine Divorce Doctrine is attractive to professing Christians who want out of their current, subsequent marriages. If they’ve been previously married and divorced, Divine Divorce Doctrine gives them the justification they need to, once again, break their marriage vows. Obviously, breaking one’s marriage vows makes one a liar, and one would think that Divine Divorce Proponents would be just as concerned that Scripture warns that all liars will end up in “the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:6) as they are that Scripture warns that no adulterer will inherit God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

“Obviously, if after a “divine divorce,” a Divine Divorce Proponent were to remarry yet another time prior to the death of his original spouse, that would indicate that he no longer believes his doctrine (or perhaps really didn’t believe it in the first place, but only utilized it to escape his previous marriage).

As we clarified in the first rebuttal, the only “divine divorce” (a purifying severance and sending away, rather than a trip through “family court”) is recorded in Ezra, chapters 9 and 10.    Believers are expressly forbidden by 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 from availing themselves of family court to “dissolve” a covenant marriage, which union actually constitutes a mini-church, whether or not there’s an unsaved spouse.   All divorce is manmade and cannot be termed as “divine” under any circumstances.   However, if immoral manmade laws got us into sin, it may be practical to use immoral manmade laws to get us out of sin, provided we are not availing ourselves of the unconstitutional aspects of those laws by forcing a petition on a counterfeit spouse we should not have “married”, rather than prayerful mutual consent and agreed petition, with permanent separation in the meantime.

There might be some limited, occasional truth to this charge of Servant’s that some might abuse the one-flesh and covenant principles to terminate an adulterous “marriage” on false pretenses, but the freedom thereby obtained comes at a very steep price — celibacy, or reconciliation with their true spouse, which may be many years in the future.   Even so, it’s far better for both souls that they are out of it, and God can always bring the motives into alignment later, in the rare instance where that’s needed.  While not personally in this repented-prodigal situation, “standerinfamilycourt” has met dozens of saints who have divorced out of adulterous unions in obedience to Christ.    To date, and to the best of our knowledge, all but one or two have remained celibate for many years or decades, and even the ones who would be in a position to remarry with no fault biblically, because they have never been part of a one-flesh (sarx mia) entity, are still in no hurry to do so.   These saints abhor the thought of even the appearance of immorality and the example it would seem to set.  One such lady (and probably the one quoted above by Servant), after publishing her testimony, has lived for several years in near-poverty while devoting her life to the sort of high quality scholarship needed to be an effective conscience to the pastors and seminarians who are beginning to come to conviction on this matter.    To the best of our knowledge, even the few repenters who have married righteously for the first time have only married a never-married person or a widowed one.

We have already addressed the sticky topic of “breaking wedding vows”,  and would reiterate that an adulterer’s wedding vows are no more valid than a sodomite’s, which if fulfilled, will constitute a ticket to hell.    One the other hand, God has this to say to the one who would repudiate valid, eligible vows, civil laws notwithstanding:

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.  Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?   – Ecclesiastes 5:4-6

Empty, false vows yank God’s chain, and repudiated first vows are wholly unacceptable in His sight.

Anyone who is already breaking the 1st, 7th, 8th and 10th commandments (self-worshipping idolatry, adultery, theft and coveting) is surely breaking the 9th (false witness) by representing that the God-joined one-flesh spouse of another living person is their own.   This is precisely why a mere 60 years ago, no God-fearing shepherd would have performed such a wedding, and why Paul states twice that nobody in this sinful state is fit for a pulpit or for church leadership, in addition to forfeiting their inheritance in the kingdom of God.

Servant:
“Interestingly, I was introduced to Divine Divorce Doctrine through a Facebook debate regarding a formerly-faithful Divine Divorce Proponent who recently remarried and is now being shunned by the faithful. I suspect their ranks are full of defectors who come to terms with the post-divorce discovery that God has not given them a gift of celibacy and that Paul’s words, “it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor. 7:9) contain some relevancy.”

So, this last remark indicates that Servant has only heard of our community within the last three months, and is shooting from the hip without much worthy study, which requires some considerable time and digging due to the suppression of unfavorable early church history, translation fraud and fraudulent commentary in most contemporary English bible versions, failure of pastors to teach their congregations the sound principles of hermeneutics, and other severe moral compromises in both the evangelical and Roman Catholic churches.    Someone who comes out of remarriage adultery based on the conviction of its immorality and eternal destination typically takes at least a year to study the topic before taking life-altering action, which is only prudent and God-honoring.

“Standerinfamilycourt” has firsthand knowledge of the prodigal and apostate to whom Servant is referring in this remark about a defector “coming to terms” with his presumed right to sexual autonomy despite the fact that he is not widowed or eligible to “marry” the wife of another man who is still living .    The covenant marriage community is grieved that satan persuaded him to sell off his inheritance in the kingdom of God for his bowl of pottage, crushing the faith of his bewildered adolescent children.  He is a relatively young man whose covenant wife (whom he now appears to be slandering as “unsaved”, rather than backslidden) unilaterally divorced him to adulterously remarry.    He did not divorce from her willingly, and as I understand it, he stood for about four years before caving to the flesh and very recently “marrying” another man’s estranged wife.  He found his excuse in the deceitful rationalization that God does not join pagan and mixed-faith marriages, despite numerous OT and NT instances to the contrary, even though he has falsified the underlying facts about the soul-condition of his true one-flesh (unless she actually got saved first).   There are some other things to be observed over a period of time about this man.    He continues to be a highly legalistic person, chastising the saints for things that are clearly not heaven-or-hell matters, like celebrating Christmas and (the women) for not wearing a head covering, which can’t be a very beckoning-home thing for his true prodigal wife.    While he was for a season a very articulate spokesman for the indissolubility of covenant holy matrimony, and had thousands of followers, he still never seemed to express any public anguish for the soul of his one-flesh wife or for her eternal destination, which should be the main motivation for standing celibate for one’s covenant marriage for as long as restoration requires.    Such a brittle faith was sure to crumble under pressure, especially in a relatively recent convert.    This kind of thing will happen from time to time, and naturally, the godless finger points there instead of toward the dozens of others for each individual falling away, who have stood celibate for decades under the right heart motives.    Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth.

Celibacy is never an innate “gift” to someone who remains part of an inseverable one-flesh entity, wrongfully estranged.    That said, God equips us to our kingdom assignment if our heart remains right.    But inasmuch as Servant is again bastardizing scripture to prop up the false Lutheran claim to sexual entitlement, it’s time to shine the floodlight once more on Servant’s sloppy hermeneutics in citing 1 Corinthians 7:9 as justification for the unwidowed “divorced” (that is, the physically and legally estranged) to be controlled by their flesh instead of walking in compassion for their true one-flesh estranged spouse, in obedience to Christ.

Any responsible reading of 1 Corinthians 7 takes note of the fact that Paul runs through a sequence of instructions for various marital status groups in the church.    Irresponsible readings hijack the instructions intended for one group and try to suture it onto a group whom Paul was not addressing at that point.    Responsible bible scholars point out that there is a symmetry that holds throughout 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul rhythmically addresses the male and then the female in each group, as follows:

All parties:  verses 1-2.  The reference to “own” is crucial here,
Intact holy matrimony according to Matthew 19:4-6:  verses 3-6
– Widowers and widows – verses 7 – 9.  
Note that “unmarried” does not refer to anyone legally estranged here.  There was no Greek word for widowed male, so the word “unmarried” (here appearing in  plural male form) was the closest word of translation to English for “widower”.    Paul clearly did not believe that man’s divorce dissolved holy matrimony, but only death does.   It is unconscionable that most contemporary commentators omit mention of this fact, nevertheless, many clergy have discerned it.
Distressed, intact holy matrimony, especially due to unequal yoking (but not limited to that distress) verses 10 and 11
– Estranged holy matrimony
(which would include today’s “divorced” but not the illicitly “remarried”) verses 12-16
– Betrothed, never-marrieds,
referring to the Jewish custom of kiddushin, contracted betrothal where a bride-price has been paid and legal status of wife already conferred on the unconsummated bride – verses 25 – 28

Note that there are no verses addressing anyone as though they have a permanently severed marriage, other than widowed people.    Paul regarded the “divorced” as still married, translation issues notwithstanding.    Even when he refers to the estranged wife “remaining unmarried”, he uses the term agamois, which literally means “without a wedding” in the Greek.   Since fornication was also banned, the best translation is “remain celibate or be reconciled to her husband.”       

The rhythm pauses here for verses 17-24 while Paul addresses all, but discusses vocations and religious trappings applying to all groups in the same contexts as cited in the verses above.   For example, a married (intact or estranged) or widowed slave or Jew are called to remain in the state they are called, but this does not mean that they are to remain in an immoral state that prevailed when they were called.   A prostitute, pimp or pornographer is not to remain in that state just because they were called while in it.   Neither is a serial polygamist (unforgiver and covetous person), nor a “married” sodomite to remain in those states.     Note that the only two instances where Paul is giving explicit permission to remarry  is to widows and widowers, and to marry for the first time to (and among) the virgins (never married), not the civilly-divorced whose true marriages are undissolved by death.    In particular, verse 15 refers to being free to follow Christ – dedoulotai (root word: douloo),  a condition that existed both before and after any estrangement from the departure of a one-flesh spouse, not “free to remarry” (not at all mentioned) presumed just because the marriage bond dedotai (root word: deo) is imagined to be severed before death.    Servant would interpret verse 7:8-9 in a way that distorts both content and context, and in a way that is inconsistent with other clear scripture on the same topic, and finally he would interpret this verse in a manner that conflicts with the unanimous practice and teaching of the early church fathers.   Sloppy, biased hermeneutics here.

Servant next reiterates his highly inaccurate claims about the foundations of the biblical marriage “doctrine” (God’s word rightly divided).    Sound hermeneutics rest on Comparison and Consultation as two of the five essential principles of rightly dividing God’s word.    Hence, Servant’s  narrow list of just four purported scriptures he claims this “doctrine” is “proof-texted”,  and by his NIV-regurgitated commentary on them (whose publisher Zondervan is also the proud publisher of the Queen James Bible, we note, a firm which sees fit to keep the NIV “culturally relevant” every few years), Servant gives the truth of God a very short shrift.  This was covered in detail in Part 1 of our rebuttal.   Sound hermeneutics relate OT scriptures to their NT counterparts, also to culture and historical events that give scripture its context, to Pauline epistles, and prophetic illustrations that relate back to what Jesus said.  Observations and analysis are made on word usage patterns, comparing where words were and were not used, and analyzing on that basis whether contemporary translations are as accurate as they should be.   In general, we find they are not, and we would argue that the only reasonably reliable contemporary English NT translation on the market today is The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken,  by Dr. Wilbur Pickering, first released in 2013.    The rest of Servant’s commentary flows from his rejection of the clear statements of Jesus and Paul that original holy matrimony is indissoluble by any act of men other than death, and that everyone who purports to “marry” a civilly-divorced person enters into an ongoing state of adultery.     There is no reasonable response to this emotional manipulation except to say, “bunk”, and he’d better pay attention to the warned eternal outcomes of his theories.

Next, Servant claims that Moses set a standard that Jesus “endorsed”.   This is a clear distortion of the sermon on the mount.   Mosaic law was fine so long as animal sacrifices could be offered up on a daily basis as the means of atonement, and obedience to God’s commandments could be deferred on that basis, rather than coming from a heart of obedience.    Clearly, this was not a moral standard worthy of the kingdom of God in several matters we see illustrated in Matthew 5 and 6.   Under the New Covenant where every truly regenerated person is indwelt with the Holy Spirit, a Person who is God, it should be clear that we’re done with Moses as our likeable, lenient “sheriff”.     I do not intend to get into a major debate here over the additional misguided tomes that Servant has written on this Moses topic – Proverbs 10:19.    We either obey God from the heart under the power of the Holy Spirit, or we hide behind Moses as our excuse not to.   This should eliminate any speculation over some sort of New Covenant “allowance” being made for the hardness of our hearts.    All hard hearts fall outside the kingdom of God, including those that would take their own revenge instead of forgiving.   It’s pretty clear where Servant is coming down.     All the true Christ-follower needs to know here, is that when Jesus was challenged on the indissolubility of holy matrimony, He chose to talk about the best part of Moses’ authorship, Genesis 2:21-24.    He purposefully elected to contrast a higher moral law that was “from the beginning” to Deuteronomy 24:1-4  the obscure regulation that had been so often hijacked and misapplied by the unrighteous–to the destruction of many souls, and this hijacking wickedness continues today.   Once again, a key principle of biblical worksmanship is to interpret unclear scripture passages in a way that shows consistency with the clearest ones, and most especially those straight from the mouth of Jesus.   We don’t know for sure what the “indecency” of Deuteronomy 24 was, but we have several strong clues that point away from post-marital issues,  and toward a condition that existed  both before and after the nuptials.   Therefore it is invalid to use Deuteronomy 24 as an excuse not to forgive and reconcile with our true one-flesh, and release the counterfeit spouse to do the same.     As stated in Romans 7: 1-3, we died to that Old Covenant (our “ex”, now deceased),  and we are to please and obey our new Bridegroom now.

In case anyone missed the importance of rightly dividing the usage of verb tenses,  we have this case-in-point:

“Thus, if the adultery that Jesus said is committed by some divorce and remarriage is to be understood as literal, physical adultery, it can only occur a single time when the second marriage is consummated.”

Without exception, every time Jesus says that “marrying” another person while our God-joined one-flesh partner lives is entering into a state of ongoing adultery,  He used the present-indicative verb tense / mood,   According to the source ntgreek.org,

“The present tense usually denotes continuous kind of action. It shows ‘action in progress’ or ‘a state of persistence.’ When used in the indicative mood, the present tense denotes action taking place or going on in the present time. “

There is no scholarly support whatsoever for the popular evangelical notion that this is a “one-time act”, since in not one single instance of His discussion is the word “commits” captured by the apostle-author in the aortist verb tense.    In fact, logically, if this were the case, Jesus was blathering and wasting His holy breath on the thrice-repeated warning, was He not?   If there was no eternal consequence for this sin of “marrying” someone else’s spouse, as Servant and many other contemporary cowards suggest without supportable basis, why would Jesus imply that there was?   Why even talk about an infraction that is past, futile and not actionable?

Servant appears to foresee this scholarly shortcoming:

“Once we’ve arrived at a harmonious, coherent interpretation of how our unchanging, gracious and loving God views and has always viewed divorce and remarriage, there is much less of a need to engage in hair-splitting debates over Greek nuances, historical suppositions, technical analyses of similar texts, and strained theories about the indissolubility of marriage.”

In other words, “Bah, hermeneutics, schmermeneutics!  Let’s revert back to humanistic reasoning and emotions.”     This is a man who knows that his work has no integrity, rather than a man with limited knowledge of the principles.

Servant goes on to conclude this installment by making the usual hypergrace claims that “it’s all good”,  and that this scripture warning from the book of Hebrews (like the ones on hard-heartedness which leads to falling away) has no application:

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.   Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.   How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?   For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’   And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”   It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 10:26-29

Christian political commentator David French recently wrote an article asking Can America Survive as a Post-Christian Nation?   He’s recognizing that due to the flood of false converts who populate, and even lead, many of our churches, much of the problem actually warms the pews with their posteriors every week.   Far from following the model of church discipline Paul outlined in 1 Corinthians 5, people were allowed to think they can come to Christ on their own terms:  “Come as you are, stay as you came”, and shepherds grew fat, Ezekiel 34-style as a result.    As French observes:

“Some would argue that American Christian culture is being replaced by a separate, feel-good faith called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism — a vague belief that while God exists, he’s not particularly involved in human affairs and mainly wants people to be nice and happy. It’s a common moral code that applies to the conduct of one’s personal affairs; it is utterly inadequate, however, when it comes to addressing real human conflict and substantial cultural clashes. It provides no systematic moral worldview, and it ultimately leaves judgment of right and wrong to the individual conscience. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Millennial culture is that the failure to be “nice” is often met with the most brutal of reprisals. It’s okay — mandatory, even — to be cruel to the cruel and intolerant of the intolerant.”    

Servant has been shown to be a blasphemer of  God (and has also been shown to come very close to blaspheming even the Holy Spirit, calling the inspired, straightforward, spinless word of God a “doctrine of demons”) in his zeal to keep adulterous unions together and have true spouses remain unreconciled and unforgiving  – a goal that satan himself shares with Servant.    This has a major heaven-or-hell consequence for many that this wolf is denying.   He has shown himself to be an exceedingly sloppy workman with God’s word in several instances, and at the end even claims that concern for this lack of integrity with God’s word is of no consequence.    Woe to anyone addicted to his ear-tickling!

Servant suggests in one of his three videos that the idea of holy matrimony being unconditionally indissoluble, and violations of this moral absolute being a hell-bound offense if not repented, is “entirely new doctrine” and was “never practiced before in the church”.    He then points to the Mennonites  (discussed above) who have always practiced it.   Until 1973, the Assemblies of God operated by by-laws adopted at the denomination’s inception that forbid its pastors from performing any marriage where either party had a living, estranged spouse, and forbid its associated churches from employing a remarried pastor, or one who had married a divorced woman.    Even the Anglican Church refused to perform weddings involving divorced people until 2002, notwithstanding the heretical, humanistic elements of the Westminster Confession that would have allowed it.   Servant links us to a “friend” of his who apparently runs a website on early church history, then makes the hollow claim that this friend knows of no instance where marriage indissolubility was practiced in the early church discipline.      This “friend” has apparently missed all of these writings from letters and commentaries by bishops of 1st through 4th century churches, while not providing a single example of a church father who recognized remarriage as holy matrimony:

Justin Martyr (151 AD) “Whosoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband commits adultery. According to our Teacher, they are sinners who contract a second marriage.”

Tertullian (200 AD) “Again He [Jesus] said, ‘They shall be two in one flesh’. . . not three or four.”

Origen (248 AD) “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 who seems to marry who has been divorced does not marry her, but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her.”

Basil the Great (375 AD) “A man who marries another man’s wife who has been taken away from him will be charged with adultery.“

Jerome (390 AD) “If she left him on account of his crimes, he is still her husband and she may not take another. . . . a second may not be taken while the first one lives.”

St Augustine (419 AD) “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.”

We mention this very briefly here in anticipation that Servant’s third blog (not yet published) might make this false claim, since it’s in the second video.    If so, we will provide more thorough links, sources and examples of these important facts of early church history in that rebuttal.

For every mocker is an abomination to the Lord, and his communication is with the simple.   – Proverbs 3:32


www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

This One Keeps Coming Up Like a Bad Penny ….Anabaptist Error Revisited

Pilgrimministry.org2by Standerinfamilycourt

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 2:15

For the second time this year, our Facebook page has been messaged concerning a false teaching that has been circulating in a branch of the Mennonite community.     In the first instance, a never-married woman had married a Christian man, but appeared to have grown disenchanted with him.     Since this man had been very briefly married after eloping on a lark to Vegas prior to that, and the prior civil marriage was civilly-annulled after a matter of days, wife #2 wanted our affirmation of her thoughts to leave this man and remain alone in her contemplated repentance from what she saw as remarriage adultery.   She cited Anabaptist materials she had been reading.

We told her it’s not that simple in her borderline situation, where there had been strong indications there was not really mutual consent between this prior pair to leave, cleave and form a home.    Hence, there was legitimate question whether an all-knowing God had joined this prior pair into a one-flesh (Greek: sarx mia) entity with which He would then covenant unconditionally.   Understandably, she received differing views from equally-committed. solid leaders in the marriage permanence community about whether or not her husband’s prior annulled nuptials in “Sin City – what happens here stays here”  constituted holy matrimony.    Most cases are pretty cut-and-dried,  but this is one of the rare situations that remain questionable, given the circumstances.   Ultimately, blessedly,  this extrabiblical  Anabaptist dogma, though briefly considered by the confused lady, didn’t influence a bad decision on her part.  The Holy Spirit ultimately convicted her to stay with her (likely) one-flesh covenant husband whose prior civil “marriage” just didn’t quite come together in Christ, but her own mutually-consenting, leaving-and-cleaving subsequent union entailed valid vows, sobriety, and Christian witnesses.   Praise be to God!

In the second instance, a lady told us she had repented and divorced out of a clearly adulterous first marriage with a man divorced from a covenant wife, after she became aware of the true biblical teaching.   She went on to marry a never-married Christian man and she mentions they have six children together, but she correctly acknowledged that this circumstance shouldn’t be the deciding factor.   She told us that a man in her Christian community is saying this covenant marriage is “unlawful” and she should leave it, which is why she PM’d our page, asking about an article by a different Mennonite or Brethren author raising similar arguments as the first article we rebutted earlier in the year.

Let’s take this second article’s more detailed claims point-by-point to test whether the major premise of this Anabaptist dogma is true, i.e., that someone repenting in fear of God from an adulterous remarriage is equally bound to both (or all) prior spouses, and may not return to any of them, but must remain single and celibate for the remainder of their days, rather than pursue reconciliation with their exclusive God-joined one-flesh partner (with whom God is still uniquely covenanting, per Mal. 2:14).

First however, let’s talk about what constitutes a heresy, because this one might fall a tad short of that, hence we are choosing to call it an error.    A heresy has often been defined as an unbiblical or extrabiblical belief or tenet that is so profoundly severe and misleading that if embraced and observed, it will send an otherwise saved person to hell.     That seems like a good working definition to “standerinfamilycourt”.     The “exception clause”, Pauline privilege” and “annulment” doctrines,  as well as “once-saved-always-saved (“OSAS“) are all clear-cut heresies that can and do send millions to hell from out of our church pews.    Observance of this Anabaptist tenet is similar to asceticism in the early church.    If embraced and observed, it hinders our walk with the Lord and might lead to the embrace of more serious heresies, but it is unlikely to send adherents to hell, in an of itself.   This one likely causes great tragedy in covenant families, because to an emotionally-ravaged victim of the Sexual Revolution who doubts the way forward, this one feels “safe” to adopt.    However, satan is still stealing from this person!May the Holy Spirit intervene, convict and correct, so that he doesn’t get away with it!    Others may disagree with this category, and that’s fine.    

This author begins by asserting:

“Many Mennonites would not tell her [the hypothetical, contemporary “Samaritan woman” who shows up at church] to marry the last partner and go on living with him. They have a different solution. Their answer is that this woman should reunite with her first husband.  “The one whom thou first hadst”,  they would say,  “He is thy husband.”

This logic is based on the following line of thought. The first idea is that only the first marriage was a marriage. When this woman and her first husband divorced, God did not recognize that divorce. These two were still married. When she found a second man, and went through the ritual of marriage, it was no marriage. God only recognized a second relationship as adultery. All subsequent marriages are only adultery. There is nothing to any of the divorces or remarriages. Therefore, if a person desires to be in God’s will, he will seek to return to the first marriage.

But what would Jesus say? “

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  The author is here referring to the conservative Mennonites,  but this author himself represents another sect within the Anabaptists, we note.    We don’t have to speculate what Jesus would say, because we know what He clearly did say, as well as what Paul said, corroborating Jesus and elaborating on what He said on the matter.    We also have the unanimous writings of the early church fathers whom the apostles discipled over the next 400 years after both Jesus and Paul were gone.    All of it vindicates those “many Mennonites” this author is disparaging for their absolutely correct view that the God-joined, one-flesh covenant spouse of our youth is the only spouse God recognizes, as long as both shall live.   Homosexuals “marry” these days, too.   That does not make their unions holy matrimony.   Only the exclusive one-flesh state joined by God under valid vows makes the union holy matrimony.   Only rebellious man “joins” subsequent unions, and the result in all such cases is satan’s counterfeit, (Greek:  hen soma).

So what did Jesus actually say?

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….He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC: The man leaves his FATHER and MOTHER, not a prior living spouse (to whom he would still be inseverably joined, actually).   God took only one rib out of Adam for a reason.    The one-flesh (Greek: sarx mia) entity is exclusive and supernatural.   It is created only by God’s hand upon valid vows,  ahead of the physical consummation.   It can only be severed by God’s hand (through physical death alone).  To say otherwise is to slander God’s actions and character, to directly contradict His messengers such as Paul and such as Jesus Himself, and to deny what He has clearly revealed about Himself in the whole of scripture.  It is to suggest that Jesus the Bridegroom would take and keep more than one church as His bride.   FB profile 7xtjw

The author continues….

“Let us examine again the words of Jesus and the woman at the well in their conversation related to her marriage situation. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (John 4:16-18)

“Jesus’ teaching is simple. In essence He said,  “You have had five husbands, now you have none.  “Jesus did not tell her that her first marriage partner was her husband. He did not investigate who her first partner was who had never been married.  He did not inquire who she was married to last. He did not say “This is thy husband.”   Rather, after addressing the situation of having had multiple marriages and now living outside marriage, he agreed, “Thou hast well said, I have no husband.”  His answer clarifies that the way to holiness in a multiple marriage arrangement is to live without a spouse.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   We have previously debunked the abuse of the Samaritan woman narrative because it is also a favorite rationalization of the remarriage apologists who find it hard to resist the fact that contemporary translations appear to render all five men as valid “husbands”,  nor can they resist the urge to embellish where John is quite sparing with the details.   (This is called speculation.)    It should be pretty clear from the context that the indwelling Holy Spirit is not going to allow this woman to continue “shacking up”,  but neither is she free to marry the man, since the chances are so high of a surviving covenant husband with whom she is still joined.    The conventional argument goes that the account “doesn’t say” that Jesus ordered her to leave her live-in boyfriend.    That’s neither here nor there.   Immoral relationships always constitute the idolatry of self-worship, so we know that particular relationship she was currently in had to go, with or without civil paper.

Beyond that, we don’t know if her first husband was still alive, maybe so, maybe not.    If he was not, that broke the one-flesh binding relationship, but even if he was deceased, we don’t know whether she entered into an adulterous remarriage under Mosaic regulations before or after he died.    The argument that Jesus didn’t interrogate her for the circumstances is irrelevant.   She was born again, and then sat at His feet, where she no doubt subsequently heard Him teach the one-flesh and unconditional covenant principles.   Like all of us, the indwelling Holy Spirit led her to the truth, including the truth about the ministry of reconciliation which, since Jesus commanded, “what God has joined, let no man put asunder” should obviously begin with her one-flesh mate.  She would have learned about the requirement to forgive, and the requirement to leave her offering on the altar and first go be reconciled with her brother.    She had no husband under man’s law,  but we just don’t know whether she still had one under God’s law.    We’re just not told, and we have to live with that, without further speculation either way.

But, and if she does leave, let her remain (Greek: agamos – without a new wedding) or else be reconciled to her husband.”     –  1 Cor. 7:11

Pretty straightforward, actually.   FB profile 7xtjw

Author:

“How do people ever get to the point where they think a divorced and remarried person should go back to the first companion?”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   This is also straightforward.  See Paul’s clear instruction above.

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

Jesus was here not only saying that man’s divorce is immoral, He was also saying it is impossible in the case of those whom God has supernaturally, instantaneously joined as one flesh.    This is consistent with Paul asserting that only death severs that bond, not any other act of men.    

“.. from the beginning it has not been this way.

There is no Creation account of God establishing a provision for man’s divorce.    That was never any part of His metaphysical plan, despite the prevalence of wishful belief to the contrary.      Jesus should know, since He was one of the witnesses at the wedding of Adam and Eve.   He was there.  FB profile 7xtjw

This author continues from here with a mostly semantic argument that is the heart of his false belief that all “marriages” are morally interchangeable:

“This conclusion is reached after a person has begun to believe a few half-truths and to build conclusions on them.

“The first half truth is that “God never recognizes divorce.”   Once when an individual endeavored to support this he was simply asked, “In what passage do you find that taught?”  After thinking a while he had to admit it isn’t taught any where in the Old or New Testaments.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:  See above.   We have just explained precisely where it’s “directly taught”, specifically, Matthew 19:6 and 8.   It is also indirectly taught every time Jesus called remarriage ongoing adultery — a sin that is obviously committed by people who are still married.    However, because the concept of “divorce” (purported “dissolution” of holy matrimony and purported “severance”, by other than death, of the one-flesh state) is entirely man-contrived, it cannot be true that God NEVER recognizes it.   If the “marriage” was never valid to begin with, due to the undissolved union with an estranged one-flesh spouse, or perhaps due to its sodomous basis given recent changes in man’s law, the civil divorce only has its effect for that reason and to that extent.   Otherwise, with a God-joined union, man’s divorce has NO kingdom of God effect. FB profile 7xtjw

“It is true that God hates divorce, read Malachi 2:16 for this teaching. But every where (sic) a person was divorced, the Bible calls it divorce or putting away, and if a new relationship was established it is always called a marriage.

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:   A common error is to ignore the clear and obvious context of Malachi 2 so that it can then be claimed that God hates all divorce, and therefore God’s rebuke in this chapter applies to “all” legal marriages.   That idea gets a bit problematic when man’s law of marriage no longer reflects any aspect of God’s definition of holy matrimony, and when church leadership long ago showed themselves unwilling to demand church-state alignment as a condition under which they would continue to act as an agent of the state in signing the civil marriage licenses.    There is also a contextual leap from the ancient Hebrew concept of “putting away” (immoral abandonment), to the modern adversarial litigation we have today, which is designed to abuse the power of the state to repudiate obligations, confiscate assets and wither parental rights, and so forth, participation in which is a direct violation of 1 Cor. 6:1-8.

Before one can glibly say something like what the author has said about semantically calling both lawful and unlawful unions “marriage”, and biblically immoral (or biblically moral) severance of those unions “divorce”,  it is necessary to examine the original texts, as well as the context behind the text, before accepting the English translation at face value.   There are literally dozens of Greek and Hebrew words that get translated “divorce” in English.   The same God who is claimed to “hate” all divorce still commanded in the book of Ezra that more than 140 unlawful unions with foreign “wives” (who could very well have been mostly polygamous concubines), along with all the children from those “marriages” be “put away”.    In those unlawful cases, even though there were children, there was no union technically to “dissolve” and nothing but fornication or adultery to sever.      In the case of a biblically lawful marriage, “dissolution” is biblically impossible, and severance of the one-flesh state is accomplished only by death.

Just because a new relationship is established, it does not follow that God supernaturally joins it as described by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6.   The “wives” in Ezra are an example of this, mostly because the widespread practice of concurrent polygamy meant that most of these men were already God-joined to the wife of their youth, hence they could not be joined as  sarx mia by the hand of God to a second wife, foreign or not.   If there’s no sarx mia, there’s no unconditional covenant with God participating, and therefore no holy matrimony.   If there’s no holy matrimony, but a living original wife, the subsequent relationship is adultery, and remaining in that relationship is sinful.    Continuing to reject one’s holy matrimony union by ongoing abandonment is equally sinful.   God called it treachery and violence, warning that a lack of repentance would corrupt a man’s generations.   It was not the man-contrived paper, He was rebuking as treachery and violence, it was the actual abandonment.

Even the most casual reading of Malachi 2 shows on its face that God’s rebuke is to the priestly class who were putting away the wife of their youth, in order to enter into an unlawful union with a pagan woman under the guise of “remarriage”.   The fact that God expressly says “I stand as a witness between you and the wife of your youth…” shows that He did not accept this subsequent arrangement as a lawful marriage.   Nor did He consider the original marriage bond dissolved by either the illicit “get” or the formation of that other relationship.   It goes without saying that since the priest remained one-flesh (sarx mia) with the wife of his youth, a bond absolutely unsevered by man’s paper,  God did not join that second union, which was only (hen soma)  which is no better than the case with the common prostitute Paul speaks of in 1 Cor. 6:16.

God goes on to expressly refer to the cast-off one-flesh wife (post-that legal divorce)  as “the companion of your marriage covenant“, saying she IS (not “was“) so.    The Hebrew text for Malachi 2:16 shows that the “putting away” that God hates is actually the spiritual, moral and financial abandonment of one’s literal “rib”, of which there is just one, bone-of-his-bones-and-flesh-of-his-flesh,  along with the offspring from that union.    Saying that God hates “putting way”  (Hebrew: shalach) does not necessitate the view that God considers the union “severed” or “dissolved” by the “get”, otherwise He would not be “standing as a witness”, nor demanding repentance of this faithless husband before fellowship with Him can be restored.
What form does that repentance necessarily take if the moral offense is abandonment  of the wife of his youth only?    FB profile 7xtjw

“Some maintain that Jesus taught the second marriage is not a marriage but is only adultery. But they are the ones who put the “only” in the thought, Jesus never did. Jesus said when a divorced person marries again he committeth adultery. But he never said, He only commits adultery. Think about what Jesus was saying in the context. Jesus was speaking to persons who believed adultery was wrong because the seventh commandment says so. What they were confused with was “What is adultery?”   They had come to believe there were various legitimate ways to put away one’s companion and remarry.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   Jesus did indeed not teach that marrying another while having a living, estranged spouse is “only” adultery, because that would be drastically understating the severity of the sin.   In addition to adultery, this sin also reflects idolatry (self-worship),  bearing false witness, theft and covetousness, not to even mention the ongoing state of unforgiveness of one’s exclusive one-flesh companion.      Instead of saying that non-widowed remarriage was “only” adultery, what He actually said was that this was ongoing adultery.     In each account of His saying this, the Greek text records that He consistently used the present-indicative verb tense, reflecting a continuous, ongoing state of sin, and not just an act of sin.     It seems apparent the only rogue insertion of the word “only” is by this author!

It doesn’t really matter to the context of the passage what His carnal, deluded audience had “come to believe”.   Jesus was there to set them straight, and was declaring a new order with heaven-or-hell consequences.   He was hereby raising the moral bar,  the religious leaders didn’t like it but were nevertheless subject to it, and that is the full context of the passage.    FB profile 7xtjw

“When Jesus dealt with the subject of remarriage after divorce, he pronounced a clear “This is adultery” to these people. Obviously He intended they realize divorcing and remarrying could never be acceptable in God’s eyes, all who did so were turned toward judgement. But Jesus never said it was only adultery and not a marriage. Every place the scripture records a person being joined to another after divorce he is said to be married. Read Mark 6, especially verse 17, and Romans 7:1-3, for some illustrations of this.”

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:   This is repetition of the same semantic argument, where we dealt just above with the author’s insertion of “only”,  but pointed out that Jesus said something much stronger than that it was “only” adultery.     The further claim that Jesus “never said it was not a marriage”  is completely nonsensical.     A continuously sinful state of adultery is  mutually exclusive of the state of holy matrimony.    If Jesus  declared something to be red, one cannot very well argue that it could possibly be blue, just because Jesus didn’t explicitly say it wasn’t blue.    The author is trying to have it both ways,  claiming that a serially polygamous union can be adultery and “marriage” at the same time.   He needs it to be both ways to say (truthfully) in the first instance that the unlawful union needs to be separated from (because it is adultery),  and then prop up his false claim that the lawful true marriage must not be reconciled ( because he claims the adultery also a “marriage” which is then presumed morally equivalent to the holy matrimony union).    He can’t have it both ways!

Furthermore, the Greek language used by Jesus and Paul for God-joining and carnal, illicit joining was entirely different in every respect.
sarka_oneflesh2
If someone is already joined by God as part of a one-flesh entity, of which Jesus said they will never again be two (Matt. 19:6), that person is not available for God to join them to another until death severs the existing entity.    This is precisely why Paul echoed the same in the Romans 7 passage this author cites, and repeats the assertion in 1 Cor. 7:39.

Mark 6:17 refers to the unlawful serial polygamy between Herod, whose real wife was the daughter of King Aretas of Petra (whom the historian Josephus states that he divorced), and Herodias whose living exclusive one-flesh was Phillip.      The claim is that because the passage says that Herod “married” Herodias, the “marriage” was binding as such in God’s eyes.     Had the Apostle Mark been recording some point about the legalized nuptials between a pair of homosexuals, what alternative word would he have used to the word “marry”?     If Herod had instead “married” a sister or a natural daughter,  under wicked civil laws that permitted such,  would the semantic word for this have changed?     It should be painfully obvious in this day and age that not all “marriage” is holy matrimony, nor is it morally equivalent to holy matrimony.   FB profile 7xtjw

“So we see that God does recognize divorce, it just is never lawful. And God recognizes a remarriage, but it is an unlawful, or an adulterous marriage.

Therefore, since the second marriage is a marriage, and since the second marriage is not lawful, the only conclusion to this problem is  “Thou hast well said I have no husband.”   If we say this we agree perfectly with our Lord as he gently prodded the woman toward a life of fulfillment in Himself alone.”

 FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC:    God does indeed recognize divorce–as a purely man-made contrivance that becomes a necessary step of repentance from another man-made contrivance called “remarriage”.     What God does not recognize is “dissolution” of an unconditional covenant in which He is an unconditional participant for as long as both original spouses live.     Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, 8 that divorce of holy matrimony is not only immoral, it’s impossible, because only death dissolves that covenant.    But holy matrimony only exists where God has created the one-flesh entity and has become a party to the unconditional covenant.  How can a holy God even be accused of covenanting with adulteryMalachi 2:13-14 makes it abundantly clear that He does not!

Once the claim is discredited that what Jesus called adultery is  in fact, “marriage” for kingdom of God purposes, it becomes no longer necessary to make the additional false claim that an estranged, rejected wife “has no husband” if she is not actually widowed.    Lying is never a solution to any inconvenient dilemma, especially one actually created by the cowardice of clergy.   In fact, Rev. 21:8 says that it could land us in the lake of fire if we make speaking falsehood our practice.    The life of fulfillment in Him alone applies to all of us regardless of our marital status, and regardless of the intactness of our true marriage. FB profile 7xtjw

Besides, Jesus was also speaking to a people who believed they could never return to their first companion. Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and Jeremiah 3:1 for this Old Testament teaching. Going back to the first partner wasn’t even in their thinking.

FB profile 7xtjw  SIFC: The abuse of these two scriptures to support various marriage heresies has been addressed with hermeneutical rigor in our “Stop Abusing Scripture” series.      This author has not made much of a consistent attempt to justify his viewpoint hermeneutically,  which always leads to sloppy, unsupportable conclusions.     Once again, why is it relevant what Christ’s audience erroneously believed if the fact was that Jesus had come to usher in a much higher moral order than what had evolved under layered-on abuses of Mosaic law?     Does it matter what was in their thinking, when Christ’s mission was to change their thinking and give them the mind of Christ?    Their thinking was “eye-for-an-eye, and tooth-for-a-tooth”,  but Jesus was there to change their thinking to leaving vengeance to the Lord.     Their thinking was that living in a state of irreconciliation was “just the way it is”,  but Jesus said not to even try to worship or offer sacrifice, but to mend the relationship first.   FB profile 7xtjw

Churches who do not accept Jesus’ teaching on the matter, or are confused on the issue face a perplexing situation.  Let us try to follow their line of thinking and see what confusion it begets.  We will approach each case as if we believe what they teach. This is very complex so we shall use names that fit in the alphabet with the letter they start with.  Lets start down alphabet line with a name like Danny.

Danny is presently remarried to Evelyn. His first wife was named Carrie. Now if Carrie was married before, then according to this teaching, Danny should stay with Evelyn.  But if Carrie was not married before, then Danny should break up with Evelyn and seek to be remarried to Carrie.  Follow the logic?  Simple, right? Only the first marriage is valid according to this thinking.

Let’s take it one step farther. Let’s say Carrie was married before to Ben.   Ah, then Carrie and Danny’s marriage was not a marriage. But wait a minute, we didn’t check things out far enough. Ben was married before too. He had married Alice for one month, and divorced to marry Carrie.  Now his marriage to Carrie is not legitimate, then Carrie’s marriage to Danny was legitimate so Danny’s marriage to Evelyn is not!  And of course if Alice was married before to Zachary, then the whole cart is upset again!

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  Oh what a tangled web we weave!   Very well done, Bro. Ebersole!    You have described precisely the right approach:   identify the one-flesh joining between the first combination of never-married and widowed spouses, who therefore are not inseverably-joined to someone else still living.      A famous avoidance tactic of anyone who wants to substitute their own theory for the authoritative and unpopular truth, is to argue to the extreme or exaggerated case.   Godless liberals do this all the time to promote the perceived “necessity” of corrupt things like abortion and unilateral divorce.     Christ-followers should never sink to this level.   They should have far more fear of God, and faith in Him than to resort to this kind of emotional manipulation.    Do we not check title on the houses, cars and recreation vehicles we buy?   Why to do we do that?   Because there’s an outside chance the person selling those items to us is not authorized to do so, and perhaps has even stolen them.   We know the law in most places will then make us give them back, and if we didn’t, we’d be breaking the 9th and 10th commandments.   Why is the choice of our life partner with whom we hope for an indissoluble covenant, until death do us part, less worthy of this care and prudence in obedience to Christ?

The ultimate source of our human arguments against the clear word of God is actually satan.   Who of us truly wants to align with satan?    Yes, getting out of adulterous remarriages that never should have desecrated the sanctuary of God in the first place (considering who had full control of that, after all?)  is messy, disruptive and makes the church “look bad”.    Indeed, it should!   It’s not like these commandments were “sprung” on unsuspecting pastors who must now muddle through all this complexity, in order to “seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God”  — least of all, Anabaptists.  Whom was it who deliberately chose to fear men more than God?

This page has many people contact us with complex situations and seeking answers.   This is a great honor and not a burden, but it’s also not a light responsibility to be faithful to God’s word in those answers.     If those answers aren’t faithful to rightly-divided scripture, teachers are held to a stricter judgment, James warns.    In practice, however, rarely is the complexity of such a situation more than a couple of layers deep.    As mentioned above, one situation was borderline due to the length of a civilly-annulled union where it was clear there was no intent for a lifelong union with either partner, and cohabitation was taking place both before and a few days after the faux ceremony.    It was not borderline due to any chain of previous faux nuptials.

In the extreme hypothetical example given,  one can start at the bottom and work backwards (we’ll keep this skill in mind in case we do get a complex inquiry some day).    Alice was made one-flesh with Zachary by the hand of God, regardless of overturned apple carts.     They should have obeyed 1 Cor. 6:1-8 rather than go before a pagan judge for a piece of worthless paper.    Carrie needs to pray to reconcile and return to her one-flesh, unless he’s dead.  If he is dead, she is free to remarry a widow or a never-married person, but not someone else’s estranged spouse.    (A person is never-married only if God has never made them one-flesh with an eligible person who is still living.)  Ditto for Ben.   If it’s truly necessary to draw a picture in order not to defile one’s vessel and misrepresent the Bridegroom before a watching world, then do it!   Danny and Evelyn can then enjoy their supernatural one-flesh holy matrimony joining in peace and with a clear conscience, raising any non-covenant children with a biblically-explained righteous example.    That does frequently happen because God would rather restore families than send people to hell, and as with all sacrificial obedience to Christ’s hard commandments, it tends to work out a lot better for the next generation than, “do as I say, not as I do.”

This Zachary-Alice-Ben-Carrie-Danny-Evelyn picture is painted from pastor’s perspective with his own “inconvenience” in mind, but what of the responsibility of those contemplating marriage with someone?    Is it really that inconvenient to ask a couple of questions  first?   Questions like, is your “ex” still alive?   Yes?   Was she married to anyone else before?    No?  Then have you considered that God wants the two of you to reconcile?”    That’s called soul-care!    Do you love them enough to also love their eternal soul?   After all, since this is a metaphysical matter to which there are no “exceptions”, it is then not necessary to ask a “divorced” prospective spouse things like, did your “ex” commit adultery, abuse you, marry you while you were unsaved, (etc. etc.) ?   FB profile 7xtjw

“Do you see what we have? We have a situation where the validity of a marriage is determined by whether two persons in an entirely different situation happened to marry or whether they committed fornication over an extended period of time. We have a situation where that means more than the fact that Danny made marriage vows to keep himself only unto both Carrie and to Evelyn.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  We dealt at length with invalid vows in the first posting on this erroneous teaching, as well as in our rebuttals of Dr. John Piper’s similar views (i,e., that all vows are equally binding). but would here like to share verbatim what we told the lady who approached us with this Anabaptist article and with the torment of having a Mennonite person tell her that her biblically-valid current marriage was adulterous and must be exited just because this was her second civil husband, without the necessary “inconvenient” inquiry into the facts:

Dear Mrs. P,
It’s quite common, but not actually biblically-supported, to assume that all civil marriages are morally interchangeable and recognized equally by God. That can’t be true at all because nobody who’s ever lived has been joined as part of a one-flesh entity to more than one living person at a time, and God’s character is such that He’s never once cancelled or withdrawn from an unconditional covenant to which He was a party.

However, if Jesus repeatedly called some of the “marriages” He mentioned ONGOING adultery, how can they possibly be holy matrimony at the same time?  God only took one rib out of Adam, not two, nor three, nor four. 

Would Jesus not say to the gays today “anyone who divorces his one-flesh opposite-sex covenant wife and marries his sodomy partner commits ongoing sodomy, and everyone who marries a divorced man for this purpose commits ongoing sodomy” ?? Jesus would have little choice semantically but to call legalized sodomy a (civil-only) “marriage”, but does that make that civil-only union holy matrimony, as both of these authors argue in the heterosexual case?  Are those vows to break the first valid vow really also valid, whether adulterous or sodomous? In other words, would God hold us to vows that dishonors our previous, valid binding holy matrimony vows, and at the same time, to our vows to remain in something that God’s law also says will send us to hell if we die in that state?

Wasn’t part of your vows in both cases to actually live with that person? If you go on living with another woman’s husband, you are interfering with their binding covenant, and with their God-ordained reconciliation. If you don’t go on living with the only man who made a valid and binding vow to you, are you not sinning by making it impossible to fulfill his vow to you?

Consider the unlawful marriages that were purged (with their children) at the Lord’s demand in Ezra, chapter 10. Presumably second vows were made there, too, but that doesn’t mean that they were valid or binding in His sight. In most cases, those were polygamous vows that intrinsically dishonored their concurrent holy matrimony vows. You vowed to your first “husband” to do something that God’s word is clear will send you to hell. That is not a valid vow. Your first “husband’s vow to you was also not a valid vow because he was vowing to not keep his original covenant vow, as well as vowing to do something that the bible says will send him to hell if unrepented. A God of justice and integrity just doesn’t operate that way. Only your second vow was a holy matrimony vow, and it is the only one to which you are morally bound.

Please pray and ask the Holy Spirit if I’m right about that. It’s what the Holy Spirit has shown me. OK?

“standerinfamilycourt”

(Note that the last sentence does not reflect any uncertainty about the response we gave concerning the obligation of vows before God, but an understanding that each person we counsel needs to “own” their own major life-and-eternity-altering decisions, and they must be owned on the heart conviction level, not just the “head’ level.   In this case, the lady still had significant doubt about the issue of vows that our explanation of the nature of one-flesh, of God-joining and of unconditional covenant where God is a participant  could not dispel.  In addition, there is always a soul-tie formed from an illicit sexual relationship that must usually be cast out at some point.    We recognize that she needs the space to work though all of this before she will be at peace and not be prey to compelling heresies.   We also would tell any unbeliever who comes to us for this kind of counsel to establish a firm saving relationship with Jesus first, and then we can talk about deeper, costlier matters of following Christ.)

Human reasoning substituted for God’s word is called “humanism”, no matter how much it tries to cross-dress as “discipleship”.     Failure of His shepherds to be faithful to HIs commandments hardly makes the resulting layers of iniquity “His fault” (or fault attributable to His commandments), as this humanistic reasoning behind the hypothetical situation implies above.    It certainly doesn’t merit an extrabiblical “solution” that contradicts the instruction of Christ and the Apostles, most notably, Hermes (A.D. 100).

HermasQuote

If scripture didn’t clearly tell us twice that  is a heaven-or-hell issue, this author might have a point in his hypothetical.    But it is a heaven-or-hell issue, so obedience to it is not debatable, and blame for the manmade complexity of human immorality it is not shiftable from men back to God.

It appears from the false instructions he is advocating (to come out of all the unions, whether God-joined or not), shows that at least this author fears hell and also agrees with true followers of Christ that this is a heaven-or-hell matter.   He also shows he further agrees that hell is a place where disobedient “Christians” can still end up. That’s certainly head-and-shoulders above the level of enlightenment among remarriage apologists in the harlot church as a whole, but it’s still erroneous for another reason.   Ongoing unforgiveness and lack of moral responsibility for the generations of one’s covenant family can also be a heaven-or-hell issue.    Hindrance of the same in the covenant family of one’s faux spouse (in this case, by setting a false example) is likewise sinful and harmful to the covenant generations of that other family.   Anyone who has come out of the bondage of a faux marriage should be encouraging that former civil-only spouse to reconcile with their one-flesh partner so far as it depends on them.

Overall, this erroneous teaching is a clever example of satan resurrecting an old trick (namely, asceticism) and tweaking it a bit to see if the church will fall for it again.   After all, the last time he trotted it out in the early middle ages, after failing to get it by Paul (see 1 Cor. 7, and don’t overlook the admonition that we are to keep our own spouse),  the natural overreaction and backlash to asceticism enabled the pollution of the Reformation with two heresies that have proven very effective in destroying the biblical family and progressively corrupting civil laws ever since (creating the vicious circle the author describes in his last point) :  the false belief that born-again people cannot harden their hearts and fall away from their inheritance in the kingdom of God, paired with the equally false belief that God-joined holy matrimony is “dissoluble” by acts of men based on “permissions” and “exceptions” rather than accepting the metaphysical reality that Jesus painted in Matthew 19:6 and 8.   This metaphysical reality makes subsequent marriages not resulting from widowed circumstances not ever interchangeable with God-joined holy matrimony.FB profile 7xtjw

“In conclusion, how would you answer the woman in Bluffton? Are you willing to gently lead her to the only source for fulfillment in life, and tell her what Jesus said, “Thou hast no husband”?  This answer is the only answer the Scriptures provide in order to give a person hope of eternal life.”

FB profile 7xtjw SIFC:  The woman in Bluffton should absolutely be shown how she’s been substituting all these serial relationships for a true relationship with Jesus Christ, and that no relationship is ever going to succeed until this matter is put in order.     Since her one-flesh is still alive, however,  to tell her that “she has no husband” just because Jesus said this to the Samaritan woman at the well would be an inexcusable falsehood.     It’s entirely possible that it was literally true in her case, or it might be that this woman was thinking that her 4th “get” (Hebrew bill of divorcement) “dissolved” something that had substance to be dissolved in the first place, or actually both circumstances simultaneously.     Jesus was perfectly willing to do the work to deal with complex, inconvenient situations, and walk people through them toward righteousness.   We, however, have no business telling anyone anything that conflicts the facts or with God’s true word.    God’s word is crystal clear that only physical death dissolves holy matrimony and everything else connected with subsequent unions where a one-flesh, God-joined spouse remains alive is adultery.   Adultery and holy matrimony are mutually-exclusive and cannot both exist in the same relationship.    For the sake of our souls and our partners’ souls, we always flee adultery.   We do not flee the responsibility of reconciliation of our covenant family.   It is wrong to attempt to superimpose an element of Hebrew culture over this situation as this author has done in an effort to make his extrabiblical prescription “fit”.

This woman should be advised to exit her adulterous relationship, not commit the further idolatry of “marrying” this man, and not enter another adulterous relationship for as long as she lives.   If her actual husband dies before reconciling with her, she is then free to marry a never-married man (as clarified above) or a widower.    Until then, she should encourage her “exes” to do likewise, and she should pray for the repentance and reconciliation of her one-flesh back to God and then back to her.   She may endure a long season of celibacy, and may die celibate and unreconciled.   If so, she has still been a purposeful lighthouse as she raised this non-covenant child.   If she is blessed with covenant reconciliation, she has been a purposeful lighthouse and redeemed the soul of her one-flesh.   This is the only answer that gives her (and everyone around her in this web of relationships) hope of eternal life.

At the time the first lady contacted “standerinfamilycourt”,  yet another lady appeared to be reading these materials and embracing them, in this instance while in the process of coming out of an adulterous remarriage, and suffering backlash from some of her children for it.   This erroneous teaching appears comforting while under that kind of horrific emotional turmoil, and while knowing that not every one-flesh covenant relationship is restored on this earth.   If someone becomes a covenant marriage stander who has themselves committed the sin of divorcing their one-flesh and “marrying” another, even though they’ve repented, somehow there is considerable doubt in their heart that God is capable of that big of a miracle of forgiveness and healing in the heart of their spouse.   However, since forgiveness is a heaven-or-hell issue in and of itself (Matthew 18:23-35). that is akin to saying that God willed our spouse to not inherit the kingdom of God.    We regularly share miraculous accounts of Almighty God moving mountains to mend a covenant family, sometimes after decades of man’s divorce.    If this Anabaptist theory is correct, then those covenant reconciliations that only the hand of the Lord could have brought about are a “sin” against all subsequent adulterous “spouses”.    Quite clearly, that cannot be the case.
FB profile 7xtjw

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  –  2 Peter 3:9

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legalism, Fundamentalism…and Time-Limits on Almighty God

Psalm-32-9-Posterby Standerinfamilycourt

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
– Psalms 32:8-10

Is the following reasoning not true in the carnal estimation of our contemporary “me”-vangelical culture?

Legalism is the unpopular belief that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is immoral.   (Malachi 2:16)

Fundamentalism is the far more unpopular conviction that man’s divorce and remarriage while an estranged spouse remains alive is impossible.  (Matthew 19:8)

Anyone who has an unconditional love relationship with Jesus Christ, and who continues to be led by the power of the Holy Spirit, instantly sees the self-righteous fault in both of the above presumptions.    Those whose love of Jesus is merely conditional will eventually wear down and will go their own way, espousing both fallacious attitudes.     Are such people lost forever?    Mercifully, no, provided they live long enough to fully surrender to His rule and unconditionally repent.      If their conversion was false, they will have a much more uphill battle to true faith from apostasy, because the Holy Spirit only indwells those who truly did die to self when they once embraced Christ.   Both the false convert and the backslider are equally lost at this point.   If their initial conversion was the real thing, His indwelling Holy Spirit, now grieved and quenched, will make them miserable on a daily basis until they forsake all of their self-worshipping ways, including faux spouses.     Either way, God’s faithful chastisement can be counted on, despite external appearances.

Actual legalism can be observed in such people long before the outright apostasy manifests in their actions and choices.     This legalism can also ripen into actual fundamentalism if it continues to grow in the heart of such a person, and this can be readily observed externally in visible elements such as the mode of dress adopted over time.     Their lack of unconditional love for Jesus often either results in a reverted desire to become indistinguishable from the surrounding lost culture in all their ways, or it can swing to the other extreme of a loss of desire to be both salty and attractive in the culture, instead becoming a walking caricature.

Esh

There was a marriage permanence retreat in Ohio Amish country recently, coincidentally timed in the aftermath of one such highly visible fall from grace of a stander who was very prominent on social media.  This retreat  drew several leaders of our movement, and discussion of that overshadowing incident seemed to be everywhere in that gathering, despite a great move of the Holy Spirit that weekend.  The hosts for that annual recurring event are gracious people of Amish heritage who sensed that their former community did not uniformly consist of true Christ-followers.   Many had come out of those Amish communities (typically, being “shunned” in the process) in order to more fully follow Christ without the legalism or fundamentalism that it becomes so easy to hide behind as a substitute for that love relationship with Him.    For the most part, this coming out did not fundamentally change their mode of dress or their characteristic reverence for holy matrimony.  It did not change their wonderful ethic of ministering to others.     They formed churches around similar values, but with Jesus firmly at the center.   Here they made traveling to participate in this retreat affordable for standers of limited resources by putting us up in their homes, where they soaked our families in prayer.   Non-standers in the community spent hours preparing and serving the meals so that standers could focus on the retreat sessions.       Former prodigals and their standers from within that community were wonderfully transparent with us about their journey, and some of the waiting standers themselves are also from that community.    This was a truly refreshing time for emotionally-battered covenant spouses who bear the tremendous burden for souls in their own family members.     Legalism and fundamentalism have little to do with our outer circumstances, and everything to do with whom or what is sitting on the throne of our individual hearts.

Early on, people who eventually fall away adopt (and make highly public) an attitude that treats peripheral matters, such as the observance of popular holidays, the day Sabbath is observed, the name by which God is referred to (etc., etc.) as heaven-or-hell issues.

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 5:1

They fail to “keep their powder dry” for the relatively few actual heaven-or-hell issues.     They use harsh language and subjective name-calling that should only be reserved for backsliding issues that harden hearts and pose a true danger of falling away, or leading others away.     If such a person is a covenant marriage stander, they structure their home in a way that is so drastically different from the best of what the home their prodigal once shared with them brings to remembrance, that returning and reconciling looks increasingly unattractive to their true one-flesh, especially in comparison with the material rewards that our culture (and church) heap on legalized adulterers.    As time goes on, the floundering stander become less and less Christ-like, less ready to go the distance with a suddenly-returned prodigal, and perhaps even eventually repelling their own children from faith as they come into adulthood.     At this point in the progressive hardening of their heart, they become actual fundamentalists.    This earned label, “fundamentalist”, is no longer a badge of honor for them, but a badge of dishonor.

Sadly, such people may have tens of thousands of social media followers when they finally, publicly fall away from heart-driven obedience to Jesus, potentially taking many with them into apostasy.   Ironically, these people lose (or never actually had) the only valid motive for standing, aside from loving obedience to Jesus….deep care and burden for the eternal soul of their prodigal spouse and children.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.     –  James 3:1                 

Those of us who love Jesus, without any reservations or conditions, will learn from witnessing this fall…in an edifying way that sharply contrasts with those who follow them into apostasy.     “But for the grace of God, there go I. “

The heresy adopted in any particular case that becomes the deceitful rationalization for “marrying” another’s spouse must be uniquely creative, because if it is not highly subtle, the appearance that their own personal standards of holiness have not slidden cannot be maintained, and outright rebellion against God’s word must then be admitted.     A good rule is that any rationale for “remarrying” while having a living, estranged spouse which departs from the unchangeable principle in Matthew 19:6, 8 is automatically a heresy which results in what Jesus repeatedly called adultery.     However, there are clever ways to attack this foundational truth, and satan will not hesitate to use them.     The current popular heresy is that what Jesus said in Matthew 19:6,8 “does not apply to unbelievers”, claiming that “God does not join” those marriages into an inseverable one-flesh entity if one of the spouses was an “unbeliever” at the time of their vows.     Ironically, there is a mountain of biblical evidence against this claim in dozens of Old and New Testament couples who illustrate God’s recognition of their state of holy matrimony – without applying any religious test.    Logically, this assertion would require intact one-flesh spouses to repeat their vows after they both come to Christ, in order to not be living in “adultery”.  We see no illustration of such in all of scripture.     Only lust and idolatry make this theory appear “valid” – we readily believe what feeds our flesh if Jesus isn’t everything to us; if He isn’t truly sufficient for us.

Those of us in the marriage permanence community who stand firm should not be surprised or discouraged by any of this.    First of all, the battle is the Lord’s.    Secondly, satan’s intensified rage that we’ve recently witnessed is a testament that light always overpowers darkness, and not the other way around.    The very reason that Jesus likened us to “salt” in the first place is because salt is a preservative, of society, of our covenant families and the of the church.    As nice as a lengthy vacation from Ephesians 6 might seem to most of us, satan is not going to take his ball or his bat and go home until Jesus comes back for the third time.    We all know he is actually going to gain power for seven years after Jesus comes back for the second time.   If we don’t learn this while dealing with various and sundry apostates in the movement today,  including the high-profile ones, we can’t expect to learn it in time to be effective when our repenting prodigal suddenly returns home to our families.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.   And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.     –  Matthew 7:24

 

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
– Hebrews 10:35-38

www.standerinfamilycourt.com
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall |  Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!

 


Actual Letter to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, RE: Skit on “Purity”

by Standerinfamilycourt

October 11,  2017

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Revive Our Hearts
P.O. Box 2000
Niles, MI   49120

RE: Skit, Day 2 of Revive 17 livecast

Dear Nancy:

I and the womens’ ministry of my longtime church have attended your events in Indianapolis and on a few occasions, including two Saturdays ago, we gathered in a retreat setting to join you for part of the simulcast.   I drove down to join, though I have now moved to a neighboring state.   Typically, we always have a mix of generations in attendance, beginning with the teenage girls whose lives and values are just forming.  I am writing to express my biblical concern over the content of the skit that preceded Dannah Gresh’s message on purity.   Before I do, I’d like to bring a few brief scriptures to the fore, if I may, since Titus 2 begins with a plea for sound doctrine:

“You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall not commit adultery’ 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 “It was said,  ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 32 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

Of course, Nancy, you know that these scriptures are:  Matthew 5:27-32, Romans 7:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:11 and 39, by those two “graceless legalists”, Jesus and Paul, respectively.   I think it’s also important to acknowledge that the Matthew scripture is the first of three separate occasions where Jesus delivered the [bolded] message [closing verse 32] using the same present-indicative Greek verb tense (according to two different apostolic, Spirit-led authors), meaning that where the translation renders moichatai  as “commits adultery”, a more precise rendering would be, “enters into a state of ongoing adultery“.

The message of the skit was intended to model an “older woman” (who is purported to have “repented”  from adultery)  admonishing a “younger woman”, who is dangerously flirting with adultery, not to go there.    However, for those of us who know our scripture well enough, there were actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit: girl #1 who is presently violating vs. 27, and girl #2 who is continuously violating vs. 32.   The verses in the middle dramatize from the Master’s perspective just how eternally dangerous both forms of adultery are.   With this in mind, it was disappointing to me that this skit reinforced the world’s too-narrow perspective on what constitutes adultery, and appears to be ignoring Christ’s higher definition of the same, for which we all will ultimately answer.
I shudder for the young ladies in the audience, because most of their evangelical moms and dads don’t know (or don’t care to accept) Christ’s definition, and as a result, actual souls are on the line, just as Jesus made graphically clear in that passage, and again in Luke 16:18-31.     In a few years, when their daughter wants to “marry”  some other living woman’s estranged husband, just because man’s paper and the man-voted Westminster Confession of Faith each say she may, those parents will probably feel queasy, but the particular brand of “grace” that rejects moral absolutes will seem to compel acceptance of it, if she insists.   I’d like to point out in contrast, that Paul would have considered such things worthy of the degree of church discipline he urged in 1 Corinthians 5, due to the preciousness of those souls that are on the line.   Indeed, John the Baptist, whom Jesus highly commended, would have deemed those souls as worthy of his very head.

If I may, I’d like to share as a mom and grandmother why I believe that when it comes to this type of discussion, accurately communicating the “why” matters every bit as much as communicating the “what“, especially when it comes to young, exploring minds.   Jesus defined marriage itself in Matthew 19:4-6, and 8.   Most contemporary evangelicals attempt to reject and ignore verses 6 and 8, which tell us all of the following things that many, if not most of us, would rather not hear:

(1) God does the joining in holy matrimony (or declines to, in which case it’s only man’s counterfeit)

(2) This joining occurs upon valid vows from eligible parties (the man leaves his FATHER and MOTHER, not his existing one-flesh companion who is still living).

(3) This joining, as an act of God, is instantaneous, not gradual, contrary to what most liberal, contemporary commentators would prefer we believe.

(4)  This joining creates a new supernatural entity that is severable only by death and can’t be counterfeited by men, not even by His appointed shepherds.

(5) This new entity is one party to an unconditional covenant–with God (per Malachi 2:13-14) being the other party to that indissoluble covenant….“She IS (not ‘was’) the companion of your marriage covenant.”

Aside from this unanimous teaching of all of the early church fathers from the 1st – 4th centuries, Spirit-led men of God such as R.A. Torrey, an early president of Moody Bible Institute, also held to this view despite a Calvinist background and despite the revisionism of those who succeeded him in leading the Moody organization.   In his famous book, “How to Pray”, Pastor Torrey said this:

RATorrey2

Neither he nor Jesus nor Paul would have ever made the assertions they did if they believed that man’s paper dissolves holy matrimony in God’s sight.   Boiled down, adultery is sleeping with someone else’s spouse who has not died, or it is coveting them in that way.  Man’s civil or church paper doesn’t change it, because Matt. 19:8 tells us that due to the sacred concept of one-flesh asserted in vs. 6, and His holy participation in an unconditional covenant, He never delegated that kind of authority to men…”MOSES allowed…but FROM THE BEGINNING, IT WAS NOT SO”.   We speak very shallowly today of “restoring a culture of marriage” in the church when we ought to be speaking instead of no-excuses indissolubility, since this contemporary impurity is what is most keeping the church from true revival.

Some of the most shining moments at your conferences have featured covenant wives, Vicky Rose for example, obeying 1 Cor. 7:11 and standing for their one-flesh prodigal spouses for as long as it takes for them to be won or restored to the kingdom of God.   I like to think that one-flesh is a sort of spiritual weapon in that regard, as Paul strongly hints in 1 Cor. 7:14.   Standers who don’t stand from the pure motivation that their estranged spouse’s very soul is on the line will never go the distance.  Sadly, standers tend to be scolded by evangelical pastors and counselors for taking on this quite-legitimate burden, which to a one-flesh partner is actually unavoidable.

 

Jesus and Paul both used unique words in describing this supernatural joining, cleaving and its resulting supernatural entity, and entirely different words to describe its man-contrived counterfeit, as follows:

sarka_oneflesh2

Just imagine the power that would be added to the many excellent points of Dannah’s admonition on purity if its basis had been the supernatural, instantaneous one-flesh entity and God’s unconditional covenant, instead of the unsanctified brand of “grace” that demands no actual repentance or obedience, hence no genuine submission to the process of moving toward purity:

  • We avoid erotica and pornography because they will never match the supernatural one-flesh state that God inhabits, and with which He unconditionally covenants
  • We choose our partners for this indissoluble entity wisely because the one-flesh state applies until death, for better or worse
  • Man’s divorce isn’t attractive when both partners understand the nature of the one-flesh state, because we know sarx mia can’t be replicated for us outside of widowhood.
  • Not only is purity a process, God applies no religious or moral test when He creates and covenants with the inseverable one-flesh entity between only the biblically-eligible.  It existed between Potiphar and Mrs. P, Ahab and Jezebel, Hosea and Gomer, Philip and Herodias, Herod and the daughter of King Aretas of Petra, as well between Timothy’s parents.
  • The one-flesh entity is a fact of divine metaphysics “from the beginning”, and not rules, permissions, exceptions or allowances.  It was actually God’s true grace that made this objectively so, making the question of “legalism” completely moot in this realm.
  • We love and nurture our own husbands and wives because they indeed are (literally) our own flesh (Eph.5:28-29).
  • We oppose unilateral divorce laws and support their repeal when there’s an opportunity to do so because those laws often send people to hell in pairs, just as gay marriage laws do.

For the sake of the young ladies in the audience who have all of these choices ahead of them, as well as for the sake of the standers whose estranged spouses have somehow remained in the church, I wish girl #2 had gotten the very same intended points across by sharing how she was now obeying 1 Corinthians 7:11 in remaining celibate or reconciling with her own husband after her one-flesh “divorced” her, since those are our true biblical instructions.  For me, the most grievous element of this skit was the unnecessary slander God endured because of the unsupported assumption that He had brought a strange man to this already-married woman just because “husband” #2 seems to be a professing believer.

Nancy, I have enclosed an excellent book by the faithful and scholarly bible teacher, Joe Fogle, entitled One Flesh, calling your attention in particular to the chapter on church history which starts on page 65.    This is the book I was recently relieved to find out I would not have to write myself someday.   I apologize in advance if reading this upsets your relationship with the Moody organization whom the marriage permanence community has tirelessly attempted to persuade to truth over the years.   Aside from your established role as spiritual mother to millions of ladies, you now step into the role of actual mother and grandmother, so I pray this book will help in some way as you walk out all of these callings. Thanks again for all that you do.

 

Respectfully,

“standerinfamilycourt”
Blogger

Delavan, WI

One-Flesh: Preaching / Teaching Only the “What” of Marriage Indissolubility Isn’t Enough!

AugustineOneFleshby Standerinfamilycourt

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.
–  Genesis 2:21

To our post-1970’s divorce culture these words, spoken by Adam and penned by Moses, aren’t too controversial, so long as everyone agrees that the “become-one-flesh” part is a human, sexual, gradual, “natural law” process.    That way, any number of “ribs” are perfectly interchangeable, even though the Lord saw fit to take only one rib out of the man.    But living spouses aren’t morally interchangeable!   Jesus didn’t agree at all that becoming one-flesh (sarx mia) was a gradual or even a primarily sexual process.  He came along and said a whole bunch of things in one short, controversial passage,  Matthew 19:5-6, that strongly suggested this process is not at all natural, gradual or interchangeable as the humanists would like, but supernatural, instantaneous, individually God-accomplished–ahead of and  independently of the physical consummation.…and (therefore) inseverable.     Then Paul followed along to confirm twice that only death severs this God-created one-flesh entity,  going so far as to say in Ephesians 5…

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.   This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

This topic has been urgently on SIFC’s heart over the past several weeks due to a trio of recent events.     There is a Thursday night conference call arranged and hosted by one of the “standers” as part of his ongoing ministry to other covenant marriage standers where typically someone gives a detailed testimony, then the call is opened up to questions from others on the call.     One recent Thursday, the featured speaker was a pastor with a congregation who teaches the biblical truth that man’s divorce does not dissolve holy matrimony, and that remarriage after man’s divorce is almost always adultery–other than the rare instance where the divorce was a repenting divorce and where only one of the partners has a living, estranged true spouse.     On the same call was also a second marriage permanence pastor who joined in to the question period.      SIFC took the opportunity to commend both pastors, but was concerned about all the crazy, heretical teachings out in the “marketplace of (evangelical) ideas” that compete with the biblical truth, even among the stander community,  and asked,

“Praise God that both of you courageously preach the truthful ‘what’ of marriage permanence.    But it’s one thing to speak of ‘permanence’ and quite another thing to more precisely speak of ‘indissolubility’.   Do you ever have occasion to preach on the concept of one-flesh, or the ‘why’ behind Jesus calling remarriage adultery?”

There was a long moment of quiet as thoughts were gathered by the two preachers on the call.    SIFC asked if they understood the question, and realized that this might actually not have occurred to either one of them before.    They both said they understood, but SIFC clarified that the question was based on Matthew 19:6, and Jesus describing a supernatural, instantaneous process by the hand of God, and that the New Testament speaks in several other places about the implications of that truth — so, do they ever speak on that topic?    Both preachers on the call said that they didn’t think their congregations could “handle” that kind of packaging, saying… “we try to bring the hard truths to our people as gently as we can, without running them off.   There are people in our congregation who would be offended due to their loved ones being remarried.”     (Therefore, due to the sensitivities involved, those congregations only get the “what”, but at least they get that much of the truth, which is better than the silence or false teaching that most congregations get.)

The second incident relates to a certain brother in the permanence movement who seems to be growing weary after a few years in his stand for the rebuilding of his covenant family,  and he seems to be “re-evaluating”.      He and others are currently embracing an extrabiblical theory, that God only joins two believers in this inseverable one-flesh state,  therefore believers shouldn’t be “unequally-yoked” with unbelievers, and furthermore, God would never so “yoke” them.     This seems to be the “heresy-du-jour”,  such as satan brings along every few months, seeking whom he can devour, perhaps even supplanting, for now, the pair of wicked Judaizing heresies we were so fiercely wrestling with a few months ago.    We standers live daily on the fierce front line of spiritual warfare, fighting with all our might for our families, and giving satan a major black eye every day.   Our lives are filled with wearying conflicts with many others in our world, including other believers whom we love and respect.   The emotional exhaustion makes any one of us a prime target at any time for falling into deception.  This man knows his bible well,  and the Good Book is chock full of historical examples in both the Old and New Testaments against this false notion, so we can only pray the emotions and urges he is suffering will subside, and this brother is refreshed in the Lord again soon.   Until then, may our faithful Father place dense thornbushes in this brother’s path to keep him from walking out the deception.
(Update: this man has now apostasized and entered into an adulterous “marriage” with another man’s estranged covenant wife.  Willful, unrepentant adulterers forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God, and, losing their freedom in Christ, they come under the dominion of satan.)

Most marriage heresies are quite easily discredited with a firm and steadfast understanding of the biblical one-flesh concept because most such heresies ignore or violate this truth,  but in this instance, satan seems to be whispering (Pssst…did God really say?)  against even this core truth, by falsely claiming that God only joins a certain few (believers only)  into that instantaneous, supernatural inseverable entity.
MarriageHeresy
Therefore, as this carnal reasoning goes, the battle-weary stander should be able to remarry after a valiant effort at standing, without Jesus calling it adultery if their unbelieving spouse civilly divorced them.     By this same logic, however, most marriages that ever existed throughout all time in any culture have been mere fornication under civil-paper unions, including Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar, Ahab and Jezebel,  Herod and the daughter of Aretas,  Herodias and Philip,  and Timothy’s parents.  Under this logic, John the Baptist only laid down his head on the executioner’s block for the sin of “incest” (since supposedly God did not join either of the pagan unions involved), and Paul was urging believers to remain in a fornicating civil-only relationship in the hopes of evangelizing a spouse who wasn’t born again…

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.   –  1 Corinthians 7:12-14

Sanctification without an authentic, supernatural one-flesh joining in place, and without God covenanting with that entity?   Not likely!

The third incident happened to SIFC at a recent weekend retreat held by the womens’ ministry at a former church, where Day 2 of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s  “Revive 17” conference was being simulcast to remote audiences.     This year’s  theme was Titus 2, which begins….

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Various segments of the excellent day-long presentation featured speakers who each addressed some aspect of verses 3 to 5 of Titus 2:  Reverent behavior, Self-Control, Loving husbands well,  Being a worker at home, Submission,  and….Purity.    Each segment was preceded by a clever skit to set the tone for the speaker.    Just before the lunch break came the segment on Purity, and that skit unfolded thusly:

Two young married ladies were meeting up in a coffee shop at the request of one of them (Girl #1)  in order to talk about her unhappiness with her covenant marriage, and the (married) man she had just met who, of course,  was “wonderful in every way”, unlike the toad she was married to.    Girl #2 listened attentively, then attempted to bring a reality-check into the situation by asking various questions.    Girl #1 finally figured out that she was not going to get any approval for her plans to pursue an adulterous relationship, so she lit into Girl #2:  “it’s all easy for you to say, since you’re married to Mr. Perfect-and-Wonderful.   You think I don’t deserve to be happy just because I made a mistake in who I married.”     A moment of heavy silence, then Girl #2 says “There’s something I have to tell you.    Steve is my second husband.    I committed adultery like you’re thinking about doing, and my first husband divorced me.    It was only by the grace and the mercy of God, who brought Steve to me.” [END].

The conference participants were then called to prayer with their tablemates…while sitting right next to SIFC was the church secretary who had two years ago “married” a divorced man for the second time (her first had unfortunately passed away in his state of sin, but had been a loyal elder in the church.)    SIFC prayed aloud for sound doctrine to land in the session, based on what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-32, so that everyone would be able to see that there are actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit, and not just one.   This skit and prayer was then followed by a presentation by Dannah Gresh, where the main theme was that biblical purity is accomplished by the “grace and mercy” of God in our lives.    When the lunch break was announced afterward, the two leaders of womens’ ministry called SIFC outside for a “sisterly admonition”, details of the severity of which will be spared here.

SIFC responded to these two women’s ministry leaders that charges of “legalism” are not valid when a heaven-or-hell issue, according to biblical instruction, makes clear that real souls are at-stake.  Since Titus 2 begins with a call to “sound doctrine”, it was not “inappropriate” in an audience that included impressionable teenage girls (their own daughters, as a matter of fact), for Christ’s directly relevant teaching to bring the skit back into alignment with the scriptural truth.    One of the two pleaded that the remarriage(s) in question were not adultery because the original marriage(s) and divorce(s) occurred before some of the parties got saved, so nobody’s going to hell due to “God’s grace”.   It ended with “an agreement to disagree”, and was followed up two days later with a rebuking email to SIFC from the senior pastor of that church, who levelled a charge of “disrespect for leadership”, to which SIFC responded, in part:

“I am well aware of your close friendship with C___ and G___, and perhaps it was even you who performed their wedding (hope not), but if you really love them and want to share eternity with them, I urge you to study a lot more on this topic before you jump to the conclusion that I and a growing number of pastors (now found in quite a variety of denominations), are “wrong”.   I deeply regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to speak with C___ before that wedding as I did have an opportunity, but at the time I was still honestly questioning whether “not inheriting the kingdom of God” was the same thing as going to hell….Remarriage adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at a minimum, if not physically repented before death.  There is an excellent book written in 2007 by Joe Fogel called “One Flesh” that I just gave away my last copy of to the board of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in response to The Nashville Statement.   I will be ordering more copies for the work I am now doing full time, and would like to bring you a copy when my supply is replenished.   It does an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind all of this in an impeccably-scholarly manner.  It needed to be of this high caliber because each of those board members is a PhD seminarian.”     ( A brief “bible study” was also engaged on the oft-hijacked topic of The Unpardonable Sin in that email.   These leaders all insisted they were “not going to debate” with this blogger.   Both this pastor and Nancy D-W will be receiving a letter this week about the skit, with a complementary copy of Joe Fogel’s book.   The letter to Nancy will be covered in a separate blog post. )

The readers can readily notice that the conflict in incidents 2 and 3 are both based on the same extrabiblical premise, namely, that our vows and resulting covenants “don’t count” if they happened before we got saved.    “Standerinfamilycourt” dealt with that abusive notion in one of the blogs in the “Debunk Series” in 2015.

How did Jesus get around the “black hole” of excuses, exceptions and permissions when He had to take the same wildly unpopular stand in order to usher in the kingdom of God?    Matthew 19  and Mark 10 both tell us….He deliberately skipped past Moses’ regulations designed to mitigate carnality (the conversation the Pharisees all hoped to have with Him)  and went all the way back to the Creation to which He was personally a witness, and Moses was the historical author.    That way, He could focus the conversation on the only thing relevant to the New Covenant — namely, the old one-flesh design “from the beginning” that Mosaic regulations had trampled under foot.    Excuses, allowances and exceptions, after all, are only for those not willing to lose their life to follow Him.    Those who claim that God “made an allowance” for man’s weakness or “hard-heartedness” are pagans and phonies.    To them, anyone who preaches even the “what” is a “legalist”.    Chances are, if anyone preaches the “why” to them, they will be slandered even more severely as a “fundamentalist”, but at least then the rebellious will choose their sin over following Christ with the full information on the table, as well as its accurate context.   If even one of the already-perishing actually repents, the result would be well worth it.

Here are the top eleven additional reasons why anyone who wants anyone else to take #1M1W4Life  to heart, must be educating people about the true, biblical nature of one-flesh as the indispensible “why” behind the “what”.

11.  The culture war within Christ’s church is just as fierce and high-stakes as the outside culture war, and neither will be won otherwise.

There is a cognitive dissonance among evangelicals that makes them resistant to define adultery differently than the culture does.  Even when they embrace Christ’s Matthew 5 definition, they only embrace the part about “mental adultery”,  and they gloss right over the part about marrying the God-joined spouse of another found in verse 32, even though Jesus repeated it two more recorded times afterward.    This can be seen in a response by a Moody Bible Institute representative to a recent letter by SIFC asking them to stop broadcast programming that promotes “blended families” as not being sinful, so that true disciples can conscionably donate to their godly ministries.   Said that Programming Manager, “However I fail to see where the content in the programs you listed [ Family Life Blended and Focus on the Family] are sanctioning adultery.”   This, despite our original letter citing several explicit scriptures stating that to marry a divorced person is adultery.

10.  All marriage heresies (“annulment”, “Pauline Privilege”, “Matthean Exception”, elevated Torah observance)  have the common characteristic of being mutually exclusive of what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:6.

(Self-explanatory:  all are unauthorized  and illegitimate human attempts to put asunder what God has inseverably joined and only death can separate.)

9.  Permanence and indissolubility are not equivalent concepts.

Even an adulterous union can hope for “permanence”,  but such a union lacks indissolubility because of the absence of the authentic,  God-joined state and lack of divine covenant.    Permanent adulterous unions by Christ’s definition lead to an eternity in hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8)

8.  Even Jesus did not consider it enough to give “rules” without kingdom-based justifications.

He painted a very graphic picture in Matthew 18 of what will happen if we take justice into our own hands and refuse to forgive;  In Matthew 5, He warned that fornication and adultery are so addictive as idols that we’re better off losing the means to commit them than wind up in hell for all eternity;  again in Matthew 18, He warned that if children / grandchildren are abused and rejected because they’re in the way of our carnal desires, their angels will take up their case before Him and He will treat the transgression as if it was directed at Him.      In that vein, pastors will have a very difficult time ceasing to perform adulterous weddings over the already-married-for-life unless the groundwork of teaching and preaching on one-flesh and indissolubility occurs beforehand.   The “exceptions” must evaporate entirely, because every such “exception” endangers souls.     

7.   Correct one-flesh understanding knocks down barriers to genuine repentance and restitution needed for cleansing of sin.  

God doesn’t just “hate divorce” in Malachi 2.    He was actually saying He hated the economic and spiritual abandonment of the one-flesh spouse of our youth, and covenant children – literally, “putting away”, with or without civil sanction.    We don’t actually need a “culture of marriage” in the church.   Instead we need a culture of repentance, restitution and obedience.   Unfortunately, wicked shepherds have spent five decades creating a  situation that will entail some repenting divorces.  That is not the fault of those convicted to repent, but instead the fault of those who twisted biblical doctrines to accommodate grievous, society-destroying sin.

6.  Correct one-flesh understanding demonstrates just how immoral it was for the Reformers to cede authority over holy matrimony to the civil state.

The Roman Catholic Church falsely taught that only a wedding within that church and between two baptized members created a valid and indissoluble state of “sarx mia”, whereas Jesus taught that all valid vows between eligible couples (i.e., not already one-flesh with another living person) created inseverable “sarx mia”.     This RCC distortion directly led to an overreaction by Luther and the other “Reformers” to misuse the state to create an aura of legitimacy over that which Jesus repeatedly called adultery by restoring access to manmade “divorce” as it was among the Hebrews before Jesus abrogated those Mosaic laws.   No access to divorce is ever needed in a society unless the motive is to attempt to legitimize an immoral relationship through the illusion of “dissolution” and “remarriage”.    This is the only wicked reason for the civil state to have power over families that God never delegated.    There are other ways for the civil state to hold the adulterer responsible for his or her illegitimate offspring without claiming to “dissolve” his or her biblically valid state of holy matrimony.   Adultery partners, on the other hand, don’t deserve state protection that shields them from the natural consequences of their sinfulness at the expense of the God-ordained covenant family.  They need the consequences and censure in order to repent and redeem their soul, since they are never morally interchangeable with the living covenant spouse.   Today the civil “marriage contract” reflects no part of the definition of biblical marriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:4-6 in any state in the U.S., and any pastor who signs a civil marriage license these days as an agent of the state is saying, in effect, “I (and possibly NOT God) have joined these two people for as long as they don’t grow weary of each other or lust after someone else, of the opposite or same gender, despite the words of God I falsely spoke over them.”

5.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs believers of their anointed walk in the gifts of the holy spirit, and robs the church of all power among the pagans.

Jesus promised we would be sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit as soon as our lives are surrendered to His lordship.    When we backslide and choose to live immorally after that event, the Holy Spirit does not depart from us, but Paul tells us He is instead “grieved” and “quenched” when we do things like sleep with someone other than our God-joined one-flesh under a blanket of man’s paper and the false blessing of our church.    Such a church, in turn, is deceived out of all moral authority against satan’s schemes and attacks.   This has been recently played out in the religious freedom court wars over Christian wedding professionals being legally compelled to participate in sodomous “weddings” in an earlier blog post.

4. Failure to respect and uphold the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs the church of leadership opportunities in legislative efforts and judicial influence toward the overall good of society.

If the church deems all heterosexual marriages as morally interchangeable based on civil law, there is little incentive to conform civil law to God’s law, nor to stand up to those who claim it’s “wrong” for civil law to reflect God’s law, or for civil law to promote what’s good for eternal souls.   This likely explains how “no-fault” repeal bills could have been before the legislatures of several states in recent years, and in two adjacent states in 2017, but barely elicited a yawn from the churches of those states.   Failure to comprehend the insult to God, that violation of the one-flesh precept of God constitutes, can probably also explain why the only churches sending busloads of people to national marriage marches were the inner city and minority churches most adversely impacted economically by immoral family laws, and why issues like pot, gambling,  and bathroom access take the highest priority with Christian family policy groups in various states, with endeavors to influence family laws getting little or no funding.    To stand idly by while the nation’s family laws have been irrefutably shown to lead to the mistreatment and deprivation of innocent children instead of their “best interests”,  leading to eventual derangement of our citizens in all sorts of manifestations, is a shirking of the Creation mandate of God for His people to take dominion and to rule righteously.    

3.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state creates an implied moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual unions, despite all “hot air” to the contrary.

Remarriage that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (marrying any non-widowed divorced person) is immoral for precisely the same reason that homosexual “marriage” is immoral:   there’s no God-joining, hence no one-flesh entity created, with which He has unconditionally covenanted.   This would have been far less difficult to explain to the world if the church had not abandoned these principles in pursuit of unrighteous mammon, but as it stands, even the pagans know that serial polygamy is immoral rebellion against God, and that it is destroying society.   Cynically, some actually hope it destroys marriage  (and assessments of biblical morality) altogether.   Indeed, the need to explain these principles to the homosexualist community probably would never have arisen at all, because the Almighty would not have needed to go to such extremes to gain the attention of His bride.

2. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes church discipline to be carried out unjustly, and on the wrong members.

This point is very eloquently expressed by the testimony of a repented prodigal named Dave, who was shunned by the church for divorcing out of an immoral union with another man’s one-flesh wife:

DAVE:  “They don’t teach about the one-flesh covenant marriage relationship, so, in their eyes, a person divorced from a legitimate marriage is in the same boat as a person divorced from an illegitimate marriage.  So, can I ever marry again and not be living in sloppy-agape?
Now follow my logic here: A marriage can’t be legitimate and illegitimate at the same time. If you divorce from a legitimate marriage and remarry anyone else you are committing adultery. But, if you divorce from an illegitimate marriage and marry a life-long single person, you are not committing adultery!”

(FB profile 7xtjw As with SIFC’s recent experience of being censured at the ladies’ retreat for speaking out against satan’s lies which profoundly marred a ministry event, we must aim to please God rather than men, and remain accountable to Him when our leadership refuses to be.    God is never going to ask us how faithfully we followed our denomination’s doctrine.   He is going to ask us how faithfully we purposed to obey Jesus with our life choices – and He’s already going to know the answer!)

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord– Proverbs 17:15


1.  Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes severe disorder in the homes of believers, and missed opportunity for sanctification of unsaved family members.

If legitimate husbands and wives truly saw themselves as an inseverable one-flesh entity, each would realize that they cannot bring harm of any sort to their spouse without bringing the same degree of harm to themselves.   We, of course, see Paul admonishing the men to this effect in Ephesians 5, but if it works that way for husbands, it’s equally true for wives.    We see this validated in scriptures like Proverbs 12:4:

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

We even see the one-flesh state as something of a designed-in spiritual weapon in 1 Corinthians 7:14:

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

This is, of course, not a guarantee of success against satan’s domination or control of a one-flesh spouse.    After all, a sword is a weapon, but if it is not skillfully wielded, or if it’s laid down too soon, it might be used against its owner!   We daresay that the brother mentioned in the second incident described at the start of this post, who grew weary enough of the Lord’s timetable for rebuilding his satan-ransacked covenant family that he turned a deaf ear to both Christ and Paul, will soon feel it in his own flesh and bones (and offspring) if he does not repent on his face before the Lord of his lust to marry another (and thereby compromise the very soul of another) – with whom he cannot ever be one-flesh.

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“Standerinfamilycourt” concludes by challenging all of God’s shepherds to muster the most righteous courage you will ever need to muster, short of actual life-and-property persecution conditions (which obedience in this area might actually avert from God’s hand),  and begin the process of gaining Spirit-led knowledge about the divine, supernatural one-flesh state, sarx mia, not to be confused with satan’s counterfeit, hen soma.   Then preach it boldly, and let the chips fall where they may.    The most likely result is that all of the false converts in your pews (who would not be there, had your MDR doctrine not been falsified to accommodate their sin)  will indeed rush for the doors, but true disciples will soon replace them.    Revival will then explosively follow, but it will appear to be moral chaos to those who don’t understand one-flesh, because a massive wave of repenting divorces and reconciliations will be an inevitable outcome, for the sake of many souls that now hang in the balance.    Those who do understand these events because the groundwork was laid by a return to the faithful teaching of one-flesh will compare it to the purging described in Ezra, chapter 10 and realize that Christ’s bride will not be purified enough for admission to the wedding supper of the Lamb until these things inevitably come about.

 

www.standerinfamilycourt.com

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