Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflecting back on the future of marriage

It is the last day of the year 2014. As I look back on the many posts I wrote during the course of this year, I cannot help to wonder what 2015 will bring. I started this blog in March with the intent to honor God and His covenant of marriage. My testimony is directly related to the reason I chose to write on this subject. I consider this as a ministry because I know from many angles how God views marriage, divorce, and remarriage. The irony of this ministry and my personal journey is that I was never married to a woman in the eyes of God. 
In fact, a gentleman once asked me why this ministry? He said if I was never married, why is this ministry so important? In another discussion during the year, a man asked me… “As I read your story, I wondered if you may have come to your overly strict view of divorce and remarriage due to your own circumstances.” Ironically, this man was in a “remarriage” and my question to him was…”I wonder if you have come to believe loopholes to divorce and remain in your “remarriage” is due to your own circumstances.”  

Divorce is not a fun thing to talk about, and divorce is something that I wish no one had to experience. This man was divorced and through his own thought process, he made a determination by what he believed to be true. He believed that God allowed him to remarry another woman. Thus, his view of marriage, divorce and remarriage is a pre-determination in why he chose to remarry another woman. When I used scripture that speaks to the permanence of marriage and told him that he was committing adultery on his covenant wife by remaining with his “second” wife, his last defense was to attack my personal experience. At first, this seems like a good option, until you realize that you have committed a logical fallacy by attacking the person, and not the problem.

I have over the course of the year presented both scripture, logic, and marriage being a representation of the Gospel, as a clear case for the permanence of marriage. My personal experience is not a good example for the permanence of marriage unless it has a foundation of truth. I have experienced what I thought to be a valid marriage….it was not. I have experienced the pain and agony of what I thought was a divorce from marriage…which it was not. I have experienced standing for what I thought was a marriage in the Lord…which it was not. So what has my personal experience have to do with a ministry that I believe is vitally important for the souls of men? 

The few things I experience every day which are applicable to my believing the former things is the consequences of my sin which includes the rejection of forgiveness from a woman who I loved for 20 plus years. You cannot truly explain pain until you know that you are unforgiven. Yet, this is a result of loving someone who I had no right to love in the first place. She was another man’s wife. However, my love for her has changed over the years. I care for her eternal soul, and the eternal soul of everyone who makes a decision to divorce, or to believe a divorce ends marriage. 

My journey for the permanence of marriage is a lonely one. As I look back today, I can see where my first words for the permanence of marriage had a negative effect on those who divorced and remarried. This became quite evident when I started attending the DivorceCare program offered by the former church of which I had membership. It was apparent later as I became a facilitator for this program. My stance from the very beginning was to wait on the Lord in singleness. 

This was not a popular choice by the others in my first DivorceCare group, nor was this a popular choice by others when I stressed this singleness as a facilitator. My stance also contradicted a particular segment of DivorceCare that defined marriage. This particular session was devoted to telling the truth on marriage, divorce and remarriage from a biblical perspective. However, I began to challenge this session as it took scripture out of context and ignored other scripture that called for singleness if divorce was an option. This session also ignored the fact that all remarriages after all divorce was adultery.

Then there is the matter of the response of the “Purpose Driven” church in which we both had membership. Looking back today I could see how uncomfortable my stance posed on others. Even though I left this church membership on unrelated yet very significant terms, I can see why the Senior Pastor refuses to acknowledge my request to give my testimony. This updated testimony for the permanence of marriage will not sit well for the many “remarried” who fill his pews on Sunday morning. Not to mention that he has “performed” many a remarriage ceremony… 

This Purpose Driven church system works to the advantage of any one man. Thus, a Senior Pastor who appoints a trusted Directors of Ministries, can all but control who will lead the various teams (ministries) under their guidance. They also incorporate a “vision” and anyone not focused on this vison of the “ordained” Senior Pastor is considered an opposition of God. Once you change and control the leadership to your specifications, it is easy to manipulate and control the vison. Often the leadership will “use” new believers as candidates for positions in the various church teams. This was my case for sure. I was a new believer and I had a testimony that would strengthen and give credence to the system. The leadership handpicked me because I was new in my faith and I was more 
impressionable in my vulnerability. However, once I started to mature in my faith and read the word of God through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I started to see the deception.
Spiritual discernment is the greatest need today. There is no limit to the amount of false teaching today. If you do not attend a church with an open bible and spiritually test every word from your pastor’s mouth, you may just find yourself being led into apostasy. The Gospel must be recognized daily, if not minute by minute. As I write this post, I need to remind myself of the promises of God’s word and the hope of things to come.

Which brings us all to the conclusion of another year in our nation. Every New Year brings new hopes and expectations for the future. In looking back on 2014, marriage is under attack like no other time in history. If it was an exclusive attack by the world, it would not surprise, yet this attack comes from the very halls of churches across the western world. There are Christian married couples who sit in their pews that have a voice to proclaim the permanence of marriage, and yet most remain silent. All around them they see the destruction of marriage through divorce and remarriage, and they remain silent. They see the redefinition of marriage with the rise of same-sex couples, yet they remain silent. 

They see a handful of men and woman who stand alone in covenant marriage. These men and woman stand for the truth that marriage is a covenant no man may break. These men and woman believe that God is the author of marriage and even though their spouses ran off and divorce and remarry, these men and woman will stand alone in Christ knowing that divorce does not end a marriage covenant. Yet, the Christian married couple says not even a simple word of encouragement. Instead they tolerate divorce, they tolerate remarriage. If that was not all, they tolerate sex before marriage and co-habitation by their children, their parents, and their friends. They even encourage those who do this. 

If 2015 is anything like 2014, I would not be surprised. The Holy Spirit is exiting churches across a perverse nation of murderers and adulterers. You say…”When did we murder?” You murdered your spouse of covenant by issuing a murderous divorce decree of which death can only end a covenant marriage. You partake in murder when you agree that divorce ends a marriage.  You say…”When did we commit adultery?” You commit adultery when you believe you acknowledge, commend, attend and partake in you or your neighbor’s second marriage after divorce of a living spouse.  

Is there hope in all this? Yes, and no. There is hope for the individual, but there is no hope for the future of this fallen world. The word of God says that Christ will return to make all things new. The Gospel says that a relationship with Christ is what you need more than anything this earth can provide. The Gospel in marriage is wonderful and beautiful to behold. The moment the church does not stand for the truth for the permanence of marriage between one man and one woman for life, is the moment that the end of this fallen world is very near. 

In conclusion, each individual will give an account on the last day. Will 2015 be the year that you stand for the permanence of marriage because it is a reflection of Christ’s love for His church, or will 2015 be the year that marriage becomes a part of a verse that tells the story of the times of Noah? As they say, only time will tell…It is my prayer, my ministry, and my dedication and thankfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ that I continue to stand for the truth of His word in all things…even should I stand alone.

Matthew 24:35-39
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
In Christ’s love,


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

The letter of 1 John ends with this verse…Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
(1 John 5:21) This verse says a lot. Idolatry is the thought of placing something or someone above the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. We have many examples of idols in the world today. Since we are close to the date where Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, it can noted that many idols and traditions accompany this holiday. Interesting enough is the word “holiday” is defined from two words, "holy day". Holiness is defined as "being set apart from" or "sacred".

If the day of Christ’s birth is set apart and holy, why do so many Christians celebrate this day alongside other pagan traditions and idols? Trees, lights, ornaments, wreaths, and garland have nothing to do with the holiness of Christ. Then there is the traditions of gift giving and the worship of a fictional character who wears a red suit and has the attributes of omniscience. Combine this with fabricating stories that he rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and will only give gifts when the children are asleep. Not to mention that lying to your children is a sin. Seems harmless except for the fact that the word of God says, the things highly esteemed of man are an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15) 

Then there are other idols that are less conspicuous. These are the dangerous idols. These idols are deeply embedded in our hearts and often when these idols are exposed, there is propensity to defend these idols at all cost. For some, these idols do include the holiday of Christmas. If you mention to some people that their traditions are idols, you may not like their response. Yet, there are other idols that are deeper yet, and for the sake of this blog post, one of these idols is idolizing your marriage. 

Marriage is God’s design and is between one man and one woman for life. No questions here. Marriage becomes an idol when we place the marriage above the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. It is very simple to understand. If you place anything above the Lord Jesus Christ, that thing becomes an idol. Your marriage vow first and foremost must be according to your love for Christ. Your vow in marriage is not to please you, your vow in marriage is to please and glorify God. Thus, regardless of the actions of an imperfect spouse to you, your allegiance is to Christ in all aspects of the marriage. You are responsible for your vow alone, and the Lord will hold you responsible for your application of that vow.
This understanding of Christ’s sufficiency and supremacy of the vow makes it easier to understand the consequences of breaking that vow. If your spouse leaves you and your actions against your spouse do not align with your allegiance to Christ, you can very easily make an idol of marriage. This happens in many ways, but the most glaring way this idolatry is evident is when a spouse believes that a divorce ends a marriage. 

If you believe that a divorce ends a marriage, you suddenly made marriage an idol. This is true because first and foremost, you have placed your marriage and what you believed to be marriage, over what God says of marriage. If you initiate the divorce, you redefine marriage as applicable to how you believe a marriage should be and not what God calls marriage. In other words, your vow of marriage became dependent on the actions of you or your spouse, and not on the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. If you imitate divorce for reasons that seem to you that are beyond your control (adultery, abuse,etc.), you just made a god in your own image, because you have no confidence in the God you vowed to in the first place.

Since when did your marriage vow include you having the power over the actions of your spouse? Is that not your spouse’s problem with God to his or her vow to you? If you believed your spouse initiating a divorce against you has any power over the vow you made to him or her, you again just made marriage an idol. Your spouse will answer to God for his or her actions against his or her vow to you. Marriage becomes an idol when we believe divorce ends a marriage.

Those who believe that a divorce ends a marriage covenant usually believe that “remarriage” is an option. Since remarriage is a by-product of divorce, it is easy to see that marriage, and the ideal of being a married person becomes idolatry for the divorced person. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ calls “remarriage” adultery, thus it is not a marriage at all. The “remarried” person looks at marriage as a necessity and the thought of remaining in singleness as burdensome. The person who divorces and remarries must believe that the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ is not enough.

The word of God is clear that marriage in this lifetime is unlike what it will be like in Heaven. Anyone who believes that a marriage on earth will remain a marriage in heaven is deceived. The Lord Jesus Christ says that we will be married to Him in Heaven.  Thus, it is imperative that in this life, we start that eternal relationship so that if and when our spouse does the unthinkable, we will be prepared to shine the light of Christ in that dark hour.  

Matthew Jesus answered and said unto them (Sadducees), Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

A life in Christ must exceed the marriage itself, thus when a wayward spouse seeks to leave, he or she will have to answer to the Lord, either in this life, or the life to come. It is imperative that we remain in covenant so that God will be glorified. A spouse that remains in covenant paints a picture of faithfulness, humility, perseverance, obedience, love, and forgiveness. This stand is not without truth. A spouse that remains in convent must make it clear to the world (this includes, church, pastor, family, friends, co-workers, and most importantly, the wayward spouse) that God remains in the covenant and His word speaks loudly for those who remain in sin. Thus, God will chastise and discipline the spouse who seeks to break his or her vow against God. 

Unfortunately, the vises and the ways of the enemy have slowly and efficiently crept into the churches across the land. The enemy attacked marriage from the beginning and it should be no mystery that marriage idolatry is a great weapon in his already potent arsenal. If marriage idolatry were not enough, many a spouse put their own children above their spouse. Children idolatry has ended a many marriages simply because one or both spouses elevated their children above the one they vowed in marriage. The results of divorce from child idolatry is common. 

We shall not stop here, as many a marriage have ended because a husband or wife elevated their parent or parents above the vow he or she made to their spouse. There are many parents who seek to remain in the lives of their children without letting God take care of the marriage in His power. Then there is the spouse who seeks the advice and companionship of a parent over and above the spouse they vowed in marriage. All these cases involve idolatry on some level by replacing the word of God and the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ with the ways and vices of the world.

The last example of marriage idolatry is the most dangerous and the least talked about since it involves the worship and idolatry of the church itself. The powers of the church and the examples of church polity have done more to create idols of marriage than most will ever admit. Many a person has put church government, church leadership, and church traditions above the Lord Jesus Christ. This is evident in many areas and none so more evident than in marriage. 

Marriage is God’s design, thus if any  church, congregation, ministry, government, or any man put marriage above what God calls marriage, they created an idol. Marriage is not subject to the powers of man, marriage is subject to the power of God. If it can be proved that man has twisted the word of God to make marriage an idol, then it will be evident if that idol is a part of and worshipped by the world.

The fact that divorce and remarriage is widely celebrated, encouraged, and acceptable to a world that lies in wickedness is a great indicator that those who teach and preach in the church that God approves of divorce and remarriage have also gone the way of the world. The evangelical church has done more to promote the idolization of marriage than any other institution. They have provided loopholes, just liked the Pharisees before them, that provide a man or woman to view marriage as anything but an example of holiness, forgiveness, grace, love and mercy.

In conclusion, marriage is honorable in this lifetime if marriage is according to God and His word. If marriage becomes something we use to appease our flesh and worldly desires, then marriage is nothing but an idol that excludes the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. If we are not ready to be married first and foremost to Christ, then we had better not even think about entering into marriage. 

1 John 5:18-21 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

In Christ’s love,