Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
This is the third of a series of posts exposing the popular divorce recovery ministry of DivorceCare. This is the first and second posts.
DivorceCare claims to be a Christ-centered support ministry established for people who have experienced or who about to experience divorce. They claim that their goal is to help find help for the hurts of divorce, discover hope for the future, and experience God’s blessing. The founder of DivorceCare, Steve Grissom, is a product of divorce and remarriage. He started DivorceCare based on his experience of divorce and the experience of healing from this divorce to remarry. He claims it was God’s calling to start this ministry.
In this second video session of DivorceCare, the video session highlights the “pains” of divorce. Up to this point, DC makes it very clear that there are devastating consequences surrounding the actions of divorce. If these videos were used primarily for showing the outcomes of divorce, they would make excellent resources for individuals, married couples, families and churches. However, while these DC videos make the destruction of divorce real, the remedy DC uses to combat this “emotion damage” comes from human philosophy, and not from the word of God.
The “road” DC uses to direct the reader to healing/finding help leads to a dead end. The false teaching begins right from the start. The very first section of this video asks why divorce hurts. The creators of DC, and the “Experts” in this video series believe that divorce, and the definition surrounding divorce, “Ends the one-flesh union.” Again, the videos contain convincing renditions of various actors depicting scenes of “pains of divorce.” It is one thing to accurately depict the “pains of divorce” and another thing all together to provide the definition of these pains. If the definition of these pains is incorrect, the remedy will be incorrect.
It is important to note that pains, emotions, feelings and thoughts after divorce, or separation, come from the consequences of sin. “Emotional damage” of divorce is a direct result of one or both spouses feeling the effects of sin. Unfortunately, the actions of sin touches many lives surrounding the one-flesh couple, thus divorce is like an atomic bomb that destroys or maims everything in proximity of the lives of those who divorce.
DC would have us believe that a one-flesh marriage covenant can end in divorce. This one-flesh covenant of marriage was already presented in the first session, but it stands to be addressed here. I knew that when I first considered writing this exhortation and rebuke of DC that I would have to give the correct definition of biblical marriage long before DC decides to address this definition in the sixth week. DC’s Biblical portion of marriage is “What Does the Owner’s Manuel Say?” Long before we get to this session, DC makes it clear that marriage definition includes divorce and remarriage.
In context, the prophet Malachi is addressing the people of Israel. However, we see in these short paragraphs that marriage is a “covenant”, and that God hates divorce. The sins of Israel were heart issues and the fact that God’s people turned their back on God. The example God gives of this heart condition is the fact that men divorced their wives of “covenant”.
All throughout the Bible we see the covenants God made to His people. The one covenant that preceded the fall of man was the covenant of marriage. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us specifically that marriage is a covenant that was from the beginning. (Gen 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9) The covenant of marriage begins at the beginning of creation, and was all that God created to be “good.” Since the Lord Jesus Christ has authority on all matters (Eph 1:21-23 ), whether they be in heaven or on earth, or in the earth, marriage for those who are in Christ will be as it was in the beginning.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This is the foundation of marriage. ANY and ALL deviations are in contrast to the New Covenant which is in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each individual who vows into a one-flesh covenant before the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will remain in covenant until death. Is this what DC believes? No. They believe in the philosophies of men such as the Westminster Confession, rather than the word of God.
If marriage is a one-flesh binding covenant that can only end in death, telling us that “divorce” (A law that came after the introduction of sin into the world and was permitted by Moses because of men’s “hard hearts”-Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5) ends this covenant makes God out to be a liar. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “You have heard, but I say!”… he (GOD) which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)
In one short section of DC’s “The Road to Healing/Finding Help”, they have led the reader, and the viewer, on a wrong road that leads to more sin, and eventually death. Even though the “Experts” make a very graphic depiction of the rending of one-flesh, this “rending” does not make one become two again. If this is the case, God’s design of marriage was not “good” and that “divorce” gives man the power to believe that he can put asunder what God has joined together.
Like the evangelical church, DC does not consider that a new creation in Christ is incapable of becoming “hardhearted” to believe that divorce is an option, or that divorce by definition has the power to end the covenant of marriage. After all, an ambassador of reconciliation will live in the righteousness of Christ and he or she will become a witness to the “prodigal” spouse, DC, and the evangelical church on what a child of God looks like to a world that embraces, celebrates and participates in divorce and remarriage.
The percentage of marriages that end in divorce by adultery and abandonment (These are the popular exceptions and privileges of the evangelicals which provide loopholes to divorce and remarry) pale in comparison to the marriages that end in financial woes, addiction, abuse, incompatibility, and lack of reverence for the fear of God. There is a lack of understanding the covenant of marriage and how this relates to God’s holiness and sovereignty in His participation of the lives of those who enter into what He calls “good.”
This lack of a proper foundation and definition of one-flesh marriage covenant is planted in the DC’s inability to properly handle the “purpose” of God’s plan to reconcile man unto Himself. A weak Gospel message is really no message at all. The ugliness of sin should be evident in this “theatrical” rendition of these videos, Instead of addressing the issue of sin, DC addresses the “emotions” and “roadblocks”.
The “On My Own” section features the story of “Lesia” I would love to say it was a testimony of a woman who experienced abuse and adultery, yet she remained in the shadow of the Almighty. I would love to say that Lesia remained in covenant knowing that God is much bigger than her ability to “save her husband.” I would love to say that Lesia was witness to the love of Christ and that her love for her husband came from the Holy Spirit within her. I would love to say that Leia was a witness to the power of the Gospel and a shining witness to a world, a church, and a husband who believes the actions of one spouse can end a one-flesh covenant marriage.
Instead, DC shares Lesia’s testimony-
“My marriage was abusive, and he was committing adultery. It was a difficult decision to leave [because] I had made a commitment to God that I would stay through thick and thin and for better or for worse, so I didn’t take it lightly. Looking back on it, I know I did all that I could do. When I walked down the aisle, I didn’t think I would an abused wife. It was just awful to have someone you love, and who you think loves you, just hit you. How do you get from that?
The abusive and adulterous actions of her husband’s actions does not give Lesia the “green light” to divorce. Since marriage is a covenant where two become one, Lesia is bound to her husband by the witness of the Lord. The Lord considers the vow of both the husband and the wife, and that both the husband and the wife are responsible to the vow they vowed in His presence. Lesia is responsible for her actions pertaining to her husband.
Lesia is not responsible for her husband's vow to her. She tells us that she understands the vow, but makes it clear that "she did all she could do". The error is her believing it is "her" responsibility to save her marriage and save her husband. She also errors into believing that she can change her husband. She also lacks faith to believe that the Lord will remain passive in this situation. God has been faithful to every covenant He has made with His people. Also, God always fought the battles that needed to be fought. This is no difference in marriage. When you are in covenant marriage, the Lord fights the battles of the one who breaks covenant, and remains with the one who remains in covenant.
In just two weeks, DC has provided the reader enough lies that divorce, though painful, is a viable and safe option. I understand their main focus is leading people to a life in Christ, but the Lord Jesus Christ would not recommend DC to anyone. Thus, it is safe to say that the DC Jesus is not the Lord Jesus Christ who says that marriage is as it was from the beginning, no excuses, and no exceptions.
In conclusion, the Lord Jesus Christ wants all to come to Him so that they can be reconciled to God. The reason divorce is so painful is because it stands contrary to the will of God. Unless DC recognizes that divorce is a result of ignoring sin, the consequences of that ignorance will result in pain, despair, anger, depression and eventually, death. A new life in Christ does not take away the pain of experiencing the loss of a covenant spouse, it provides a person with a relationship with the One who has the power to sustain us in this life, and for the life that is to come.
Remaining in Christ when your spouse will not can only serve as a witness to God’s love for us; in while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Loving a prodigal spouse as Christ loved us is what the world needs more than ever. A true witness of the Gospel is the husband or wife who remains in covenant, trusting on the Lord no matter the circumstance. This walk is not what the world wants, but God hath proven time and time again that the foolishness of this world is no match to the power of the Gospel.
Eph 5:1,2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
In Christ’s love,