Monday, March 10, 2014

What do ordinary people have to bring to the table?

When I decided to pursue a permanence of marriage ministry, it was easy for me to say, “Why me?”  I second-guessed if anyone would ever listen to me, or read anything I had to say on the subject. After all, I have very little credentials. I have very little education in psychology, just a credit course for my Associates Degree. I am not a fan of universities and scholasticism, but a huge supporter of all things Christ. (Col 2:8 comes to mind) The extent of my public speaking never exceeded a group of one hundred people, and my literary skills are very limited, my vocabulary is less than college level and certainly worthy of editorial correction. I never taught on any level other than Sunday school, and my past relationship status is less than exemplary

Yet, the word of God reminds us, and certainly reminds me that God uses the ordinary man (Acts 4:13), and that what seems highly esteemed among men is an abomination to the Lord. (Luke 16:15)

However, people, including fellow believers want to know what you bring to the table. A blog post or a Facebook page hardly draws attention, unless one has a doctorates degree or majors in literature. If you want recognition in today’s society, you need an education, a title, and write a book or two. You also need a network of people of similar status, educated, well spoken, and charismatic. Often, you will get a network of people who agree with your stance, yet, it is commonly believed unless these people have “credo”, your message remains uninteresting or at the very least, passé.

This is often true of those in the profession of “pastor,” or commonly referred to as “clergy”, a title related to what we know as the clergy/laity system. A pastor is virtually non-existent or has very little credibility outside the influence of his congregation if he is without a degree, has authored a book or two, is charismatic, an excellent public speaker, and is part of a network among the other elite clergy. 

We should consider that this clergy/laity system is contrary of the early church and the body of Christ. This caste system makes a separation of the body of Christ by separating the clergy from the laity. In addition, this system generally believes that education and scholasticism elevates above or the very least includes the power of the Holy Spirit within an individual’s life. This is not to say that there are elders, but these older men were examples to the body and never lorded over the body believing they have special revelations and greater expectations from God. In addition, an elder has wisdom from experience as a father figure to his family and this hardly qualifies a 20 something year old man fresh from seminary.

Does this sound far fetched. Not really…it is the truth. Unless you upload a viral video on youtube, no one is going to listen to any ordinary uneducated layperson. The clergy believe that their profession is sufficient to administer proper leadership among the body. Yet, their profession is dependent upon their progress, and if they do not influence the elders who hired them when they begin their ministry, they will be looking for another job quicker than you can say the word “hireling”.

Yet, we see that scripture shows us that when Jesus chose His disciples, the early pillars of the church, He chose the ordinary uneducated layperson and not the crème de crème of the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees. Jesus selected fishermen, tax collectors, and uneducated men. Yet, today we see in the evangelical circle, if you do not have a title, if you do not have a degree with the word “bible” in it, you have very little influence and you are pretty much have nothing or have very little to bring to the table.  

Combine this truth with a touchy subject matter that remains taboo among the church, and no one will listen and no one will want to listen to someone without credentials. The subject that is so taboo is the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Many leaders in the evangelical church will tell you marriage is a permanent one-flesh covenant, yet in the same breath, they will say God allows certain exceptions and loopholes to exit marriage and then remarry someone else. It is important to note that should the clergy preach on this subject, they are very careful not to convict and upset the members of their congregations. It may have something to do with 50% of confessing believers are divorcing and remarrying, a number that includes the clergy themselves.  

This has truth because just recently, I had a conversation with a pastor and I asked him why he never preaches on the subject of divorce sand remarriage. I asked why he does not address the serious problem of bitterness and unforgiveness to restore a marriage. He was about to say in so many words that he would lose half his congregation, but caught himself. It was too late, I know this reason and it all revolves around a pastor’s livelihood and his reputation. Fear is the biggest reason most clergy will not speak the truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage.

Regardless, this never really answers the original question, but only verifies you will be rejected and ignored even if you have something to bring to the table on this subject  matter. This is not to say there are not clergy who speak for, and have written books on the matter. It just proves that the mainstream popular church ignores this subject, and covers it over with cheap grace by validating remarriage while promoting hundreds of divorce recovery ministries. Most pastors writing on the subject will also twist scripture for the sake of creating loopholes to validate divorce and remarriage. The pastor who writes on the permanence of marriage will not have the backing of big name publishers because these corporations make more money on divorce and remarriage. Sad, but true.     

So to answer to the original question, what does one uneducated, plain, ordinary, nonprofessional, layperson bring to the table?  I personally am a blood bought believer who has faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in me. I am a past adulterer convicted by the word of God that marriage is a permanent one-flesh covenant that only ends in death. Had I known 20 plus years ago that I could not date a married woman and then believe that our marriage after her divorce was adultery and not a marriage, I would not be writing this. Had the word of God not convicted me that after four years I believed in the permanence of my marriage after she left me for another man, I would have waited until death to restore the marriage. God is patient and merciful with us. God used repentant murders and adulterers in the past, surely He would use me to stand for the permanence of His covenant.  
I am reminded of Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

I have seen it all and experienced it all. I experienced a marriage that was not according to His plan, I  thought I was a man who could remain in sin and believe I was doing God’s will, I experienced a separation that pierced my very soul, and I received the grace, restoration, and redemption through repenting of my adultery.  It was only by the power of the Holy Spirit convicting me of the word of God. It had nothing to do with my education, my status to society, or my faith in the philosophies of men. The hard part is convincing several generations of people to believe the truth of what Jesus and Paul has to say on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, instead of them listening to the man they hired to make their church experience enjoyable.

 What I have to bring to the table is obedience to His word and accepting the truth even if the whole world is against me. God calls marriage a one-flesh covenant until death, He calls divorce, hardheartedness, and He calls remarriage after divorce of a living spouse, adultery.  I will humbly stand for the permanence of marriage and will preach the truth about divorce and remarriage even if the majority will not.  I bring experience to the table, yet I do not seek recognition from man…no…never…because if the scriptures reveal the truth that there are millions of people in adultery through divorce and remarriage… saving souls is more important than anything we could ever do on this earth for His glory…and I will write for this very reason, and nothing more…so help me God.

In Christ’s love,


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