Sunday, September 28, 2014
Question #1- What is the definition of marriage?
Question #2- What steps do you take before marrying a couple?
Question #3- Will you marry an unequally yoked couple (2 Cor 6:14)?
Question #4- What is your view of divorce?
Question #5- Will you marry a divorced person?
Question #6- What is an acceptable reason for divorce?
Question #7- What steps do you take when a couple seeks divorce?
Question #8- What do you do to keep a couple from divorcing?
Question #9- What is your response to a church member who commits adultery?
Question #10- What is your definition of forgiveness?
How would you answer these ten questions? How would the Lord Jesus Christ answer these questions? If you notice, these questions are directed toward someone who has the "authority" to marry someone. Is marriage subjected to traditions of men, or is marriage so much more?
Some time ago I sent this ten-question questionnaire to a combination of fifty local churches and prominent mega-churches (mega-churches from across the US) . The mega-churches were all churches that influence society in their general local as well as abroad. Many of these mega-churches have "P"astors who authored books and provide radio programs heard worldwide. They also have extensive staff equipped to handle any emails they receive. The local churches were a mix of small denominations and mega-churches. There was no preference to denomination.
Only thirteen (1/4) of the churches responded. (The church I formerly attended did not respond either. Not surprised here because as a “former” member, I had already called out the leadership in already compromising God’s word in other areas.) Of those thirteen, six answered the questions. Of those six, four “ordained” pastors answered the questions. Of those six, five were mega-churches. Of those five, one pastor was a woman. I responded to each answered questions with the correct answers to the questions. I did not receive a response or correction from those answers. Overall, no one answered the questions accurately according to how God views marriage, divorce and remarriage. In every case, these leaders relied on the popular views (Matthew 19:9 and 1 Cor 7:15) of marriage, divorce and remarriage.
“My” interpretation aligns with what Jesus taught in scripture which calls for a permanency of marriage. This permanence of marriage clashes with the majority of those who only list adultery and abandonment of an unbelieving spouse as the “only” acceptable reasons for divorce. Yet, when there are those who do not divorce according to these “exception”, the popular church remains silent. The full council of God’s word points to divorce as a hardheartedness and remarriage after divorce as adultery. Nowhere in God’s word will you find that the Lord Jesus Christ permits remarriage to someone previously divorced if their spouse is living. The self-proclaimed church has not only failed to accurately promote God’s view of marriage, this false church has even promoted false marriages that God calls adultery.
The fact is that the false church of traditions of men has superseded the invisible church (the body of Christ) of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we simply use the New Testament as the standard for defining the church we will see that the early church was devoid of Seminaries, Bible colleges, Senior Pastors, Executive Pastors, Youth Pastors, Worship Leaders, Priests, Reverends, Ministers, Popes, Worship Centers, Churches(buildings), Mega-churches, Denominations, etc. There are many sacred cows in this popular clergy/laity caste system. Some of these sacred cows include vestments, sermons, regimented worship, tithing, titles, and ordination.
These traditions of men have thoroughly saturated the world with false teaching and false doctrine. The early church originated from the twelve disciples who preached repentance of sin through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. These disciples in turn appointed elders and deacons in the various towns to be examples to the people on what it was to shine the light of the Lord Jesus Christ. These were not to lord over the people but to be examples to the flock because the Holy Spirit provided each church with the spiritual gifts necessary to edify the saints. The early church hoped for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, today’s church acts as if Christ will never return and that the “clergy/laity system” is the answer to the world’s problems. The Lord pointed to the fact that before He returns that many will fall away from the truth. The clergy/laity system is a huge part of this “falling away”.
The qualifications for the early church elders were available through the letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus. (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 15-9) In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, we see that the word “pastor” refers to a shepherd. (Eph 4:11)This “shepherd” role could be a man or a woman but was never associated with the “hired” position of the pastor today. (Many men and woman pastor without the “Pastor” title and to deny this would be a lie.) Elders received gifts as other Christians because the body of Christ cared for each other. There were no special gifts set aside for elders and neither were they paid as hirelings. When someone in the body of Christ had more, they freely gave to others who had less. There was no preferential treatment to elders and none of them had titles. Titles lack humility and reek of pride. All succeeding elders came from the local churches from men who desired to be elders because of their age and their willingness to meet the qualifications of elder. Elders were not always pastors as some were evangelists, teachers, apostles and prophets. Pastors were not always teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles, and neither were they necessarily elders.
The early church also viewed divorce with great disdain and called any remarriage adultery. So when did all this change? When did we ever get the ideal for “no fault divorce” and “remarriage”? We do not have to look back far in time to see the Protestant Reformation had a hand in making marriage “other than” what God ordained. These “pastor” promoted the idea that marriage was governed by the clergy/laity system, which in turn partnered with the government. Of course this started with the rise of the Roman Catholic empire of priesthoods and popes.
Don’t get me wrong, we are to submit to governing authority unless these governing authority supplants the truth of God’s word. The "churches" and leadership of these churches today submit to the governing body. In recent times, the rise of feminism and the push for equality from a civil perspective created a secular view of marriage and changed it from a permanent covenant to a trivial contract. Instead of the church using accountability measures in the body, the church sought outside influences such as divorce courts and the twisted family courts. The ideologies of men superseded the word of God. What happened over the years is the rise of sexual immorality through the sexual revolution. This had an adverse effect on the sanctity of marriage, the roles of men and woman, and the perversion of human sexuality.
Today we now have congregations who not only recognize same-sex unions, we have congregations who disregard homosexuality as a sin. No surprise here as the sin of remarriage adultery is all but forgotten. Lost in all this is the slow decay of the marriage covenant of God. Many clergy caved in long before the civil push for same-sex marriage. Marriage crumbled away with the rise of divorce lawyers and laws like “no fault divorce” that required any reasons to dissolve a marriage. What very few people will recognize is that the often venerated California Governor Ronald Reagan was the first one to sign the “no fault divorce” into legislation back in 1970.
What very people will agree with is that the professing church is responsible for the carnage of broken marriages. Instead of following the words of our Lord, we have created legal-loopholes with scripture by twisting God’s word to allow divorce. We ignore the passages that call the church to confront sin. (Matthew 18:15-17) What “hired” clergy will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and validate their willingness to allow for divorce? What clergy will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ by telling Him that remarriage of a divorced living spouse is valid? I truly pity the many deceived clergy who will hear the words “I never knew you.”
The title of this post is "Ten Questions for the church". The small "c" in church refers to the modern day church and not the body of Christ. That is not to say that these churches are devoid of the body of Christ. The "church" has become the voice of the "Church". What needs to happen is that the Chruch must start becoming the voice of these congregations so that unity on the Gospel and in turn, marriage, divorce and remarriage can become a reality. This requires the voice of he Holy Sprint speaking through those who hold to the value in the grace and truth of God 's word.
Scripture is clear that the Gospel is for broken people who confess their sins and seek repentance through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is the foundation of the Gospel and must be the foundation of marriage. If we say we are without sin, we make God to be a liar. God designed marriage as a representation of His love for the church. As Christians, it is our duty to defend the covenant of marriage even if it costs our lives. Marriage is not a fad or a civil union. Marriage is not a temporary contract nor is it up for redefinition. Marriage is God’s covenant between a man and a woman that is only broken by death.
Eph 5:31-32 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
In Christ’s love,
Saturday, September 13, 2014
A book review, “Except For Fornication, Why Evangelicals Must Reevaluate Their Interpretation Of Matthew’s Divorce Exception Clause” by Daniel R. Jennings
I have read many books and articles defending the “Adultery View” of the exception clause. This Adultery View consists of a belief that the “exception clause” of Matthew 19:9 allows for divorce and remarriage based on the concept that a spouse commits adultery. This clause permits the ‘innocent” spouse an option to divorce if the “guilty” spouse lacks repentance. After reading Daniel R. Jennings Book, “Except For Fornication, Why Evangelicals Must Reevaluate Their Interpretation Of Matthew’s Divorce Exception Clause” it became clear that the “Adultery View” has little merit from a biblical standpoint as well it has very little merit according to historical evidence apart from the word of God.
Daniel wrote the book due to that that he was convicted by his research and after viewing scripture purely on the idea of formulating a theology on divorce and remarriage.
“The purpose of this book is to explore the reasons that led me after several years of preaching the Adultery View to abandon it in favor off the Fornication View.” Page 2
Daniel lists several reasons he reconsidered his view on divorce and remarriage. The first reason he reconsidered the view was the way the Greek literature used the word “porneia” and how this Greek word related to adultery. Dan has the reader consider the use of “porneia” in an exception clause that includes the Greek word for adultery. (moichao)
“If porneia carried with it the idea of adultery and fornication then there would have no need or reason for the writers to include the Greek word for adultery along with porneia. -page 8
Another reason for his rejection of the Adultery View is how the early church in the 1st to 5th centuries used the Greek word "porneia". Daniel lists several key passages from many early church writers that back up his claim. In these writings there is a clear distinction from fornication and adultery.
Other reasons Daniel gives for the purpose of reevaluating the evangelical view is the use of the King James translation favors the “Fornication View”, that there is a clear theological argument for the “Fornication View”, how the exception clause refers to an actual law in the Old Testament, and one of the strongest reason is how the Adultery View contradicts other scripture. In particular, Daniel uses Luke 16:18 as an example.
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
“I read this passage for years and never really noticed that it was clearly contradicting the Adultery View. In the above passage Jesus says that there was a husband who divorced his wife and married another person. The Lord is clear in this scenario that the husband “commits adultery” in his sexual relations with his new wife. However, notice what Jesus says to the innocent party in this situation. He says of the innocent woman whose husband has left and committed adultery that “whoever marries her…commits adultery” also. This verse is really one of the strongest pieces of evidence against the Adultery View because it plainly and clearly shows that the innocent spouse, whose husband has “committed adultery”, is not free to remarry and that if she does she herself commits the sin of adultery –page 28
This is compelling evidence that the “Adultery View” needs to be reevaluated. Daniel continues to provide more evidence thought this book by listing an extensive list of historical evidence of early Christian writers and their view of divorce and remarriage. These writers use scripture as the foundation. Daniel also answers specific questions that deal with response or objections to the core purpose of this book.
Overall, this book provides sound and accurate evidence for the “Fornication View” that calls all “remarriages’ after divorcing a living spouse nothing short of adultery. This is totally contrary to the evangelical stance that has permeated the church. Daniel will be the first to admit that his word in this book is not the final word on the subject. Yet, those who hold to the view that adultery is a license to divorce and remarry do so on very shaky ground. I highly recommend this book as reference for the permanency of marriage. If you believe that marriage is a sacred covenant then this book needs to be a part of your library.
Divorce and remarriage is so common in the church that few will question the “reasons” for a divorce and remarriage. These divorces and remarriages are just accepted as normal, no questions asked. I am not sure how many have read Daniel R. Jennings book, but I am sure that those who will, must consider the content. I highly recommend reading this book if not for the fact that it would make you consider the words of Jesus. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The book is available to read Here
In Christ's love,