This is the second part of a five-part post, entitled “More Harm than Good"- find part 1 here.
Compassion is a word that often gets misconstrued. If someone has compassion for a person’s plight, he or she would do something about it. A good example is having compassion for the poor. However, we must have compassion without becoming a permanent crutch, or an enabler. There is a dividing line of helping someone out of compassion and enabling them to remain where they are while they do little to remedy the problem. If we enable them to continue to rely on our compassion, it does far more harm than good.
Correcting and exhorting a ministry that does more harm than good would be another example of compassion. The compassion I have for ministry leaders and those they mislead is of eternal proportions. If the ministry promotes a sin and then encourages others to engage in this sin without believing they are sinning, it would be compassionate to warn them of their errors. This would be a perfect example of compassion for the very souls of each individual involved.
Believers need to be like the Bereans who tested everything by comparing to what was offered to scripture. When I read a statement like this: “Nevertheless, he (Dr. James Dobson) feels that there are three occasions when divorce and remarriage appear to be justified in Scripture:” We need to make sure that these premises line up and corroborate with scripture. After carefully reading and considering Dr. James Dobson’s three premises on why he believes divorce and remarriage are optional to a one-flesh covenant that no man may break, I have concluded that I must present this ministry with the word of God and expose their false idea that Jesus and Paul allowed loopholes to exit a one-flesh marriage covenant. You can find these premises on his website, here. Dr. Dobson on Divorceand Remarriage
The first premise reads like this:
- When the first marriage and divorce occurred prior to salvation. Although a person cannot undo all the sins he has committed, he is forgiven for the wrongs he did before accepting Christ (see II Corinthians 5:17).
What Dr. James Dobson is saying is this: “God will not hold you accountable for remaining in the sin of adultery remarriage if you divorce and remarried as an unbeliever, and then became a believer.” Alternatively, compare this to the homosexual who believes he or she may remain in their sin of homosexuality, yet call themselves believers, washed in the blood of Christ…a new creature: with old things passed away…(2 Cor 5:17) There is a major problem with this premise.
This problem is not an issue after a believer is married and divorced; it is a problem with their understanding the definition of marriage prior to making this lifetime commitment. Again, scripture points to marriage as a one-flesh covenant until death. Only death breaks this covenant, regardless if you are believer or an unbeliever. God has put the law in our hearts, (Romans 2:15) therefore, a couple is without excuse that they did not know God when they made a vow of marriage (Romans1:18-20). Compare this first premise to this…An unbeliever stands before the Lord and says…”I never knew that I had to have faith in Christ to become saved.” Dr. James Dobson ignores every scripture that points to remarriage as adultery. This loophole premise makes a mockery of marriage and God because the person that marries while an unbeliever is making a vow of marriage to God while they disavow God at the same time.
In addition, if the church would not waver on the permanence of marriage, divorce would be non-existent, remarriage would be unthinkable, and same-sex marriages would have no supporting arguments. Yet, the homosexual seeking to redefine marriage is quick to point out the hypocrisy of the professing church that allows divorce and remarriage for any reason. Also, let us be very honest, there are unbelievers who marry and do not divorce. These unbelievers say they deny the very existence of God, yet made in God’s image, they ignorantly represent Christ’s love for His church.
We must also point that scripture shows clearly God recognizes marriages of unbelievers. A perfect example is found in Herod, Herodias, and John the Baptist. There are two accounts of this point, in the Gospel of Matthew (14:1-12) and the Gospel of Mark (6:14-29). Read these passages yourself, and you will find that John the Baptist lost his head for preaching the truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Herod was in adultery because he married his brother’s “wife”. We know John the Baptist rebuked Herod for his unlawful marriage to Herodias. Was this a marriage in God’s eyes? No, it is adultery because God surely recognized Philips marriage to Herodias. (Matthew 14:3) A piece of paper placed into a spouse’s hand does not end a marriage, regardless if you are a believer or not. A hard heart signs a paper that puts away a wife.
2 Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Reconciliation cannot occur if one remains in adultery, let alone a person who puts away a spouse while they claim to be an ambassdor of recociliaiton.. The whole context of this verse is that a new creation will recognize sins and thus exit from such unlawfulness to live a life of righteousness in Christ. This corroborates with 1 Cor 6:9-11.
1 Cor 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
After consideration and clear passages of scripture, the premise that God does not recognize marriages of unbelievers and the believer is not responsible for their vow is false. What God does recognize is those who repent of their sins by leaving their false adulterous unions of remarriage. If you married and divorced while you were an unbeliever, and the first spouse is still living, the marriage is still valid and binding because only death breaks a marriage covenant. Remarriage remains a state of adultery until repentance.(Matthew 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11,12;Luke 16:18)
In conclusion, Dr. James Dobson says, “Although a person cannot undo all the sins he has committed, he is forgiven for the wrongs he did before accepting Christ (see II Corinthians 5:17).” What Dr. James Dobson should write is this: “Although a person cannot undo all the sins he has committed, he or she is responsible for the vow of marriage regardless of whether they were saved or not. There are always consequences to sin, and dissolving a “remarriage” to remain single or reconcile the first covenant marriage is repentance from the sin of adultery. Just as a homosexual forsakes their lifestyle, an adulterer will forsake their adultery so that all will witness a life obedient to the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(Continue to Part 3)
(Continue to Part 3)
In Christ’s love,