Friday, May 29, 2015

The Village Church, the Christian Response, and Church Discipline...Reconciliation or Confliction?

I believe this  article "She Wanted an Annulment from a Pedophile. What Happened Next Ignited a Controversy", and the accompanying article "Dear God, What is Matt Chandler Thinking" lack clear biblical teaching , and in both cases offer conflict rather than reconciliation. I think it is also necessary to correct the title based on truth...It should read "She Wanted an Annulment from a "Confessing" Pedophile." Adding,or detracting a word can change the whole view of the article. However, I clearly understand there needs to be justice in this case, but not at the expense of reconciliation through the power of the Gospel. I think that many parties adding their two cents to this very serious case of church discipline have excluded many truths, and most importantly, have excluded the transforming power of the Gospel.

This case involves a husband and a wife within a body of Christ. The husband has sinned and is now under strict church discipline for his actions. He has since repented of his sin by first acknowledging this sin, and confessing that hat he did was sinful, and then sought the help from the body of Christ to reconcile to those he has hurt.

I will never retract from the horror of this sin, but the point is that this man publicly confessed his sin. Yes, there are consequences to his sin, and yes, there are many lives hurt by this sin. Not the least is a wife who is publicly humiliated, emotionally damaged, and spiritually betrayed by her one-flesh covenant husband. This is an awful tragedy. But to say that reconciliation is not possible, and out of the question, seems to be clear answer from several of the contributors. The though
t from these contributors is that divorce is the perfect option in this case. 

However, the fact remains that this is a one-flesh union that was violated by a man who sinned, who confessed sin, and seeks help to remain free from this sin. There is always three sides to story, in this case it is a husband, a wife, and God. I can understand Karen’s willingness to leave The Village Church, but I can also understand why the Village Church is seeking to enact church discipline. Yes, maybe TVC could have gone about it in more compassionate and private matter (Here is a follow-up to this article on their apology), but regardless, The Village Church is only seeking to keep the marriage together.

But this is not Karen’s desire. (At least by the tone of her letter) Nor do I get this feeling from the author of the first posts I mentioned. The sources quotes from the first article,  "She Wanted an Annulment from a Pedophile. What Happened Next Ignited a Controversy", have more to do with seeking divorce in this case than it ever has to do with biblical truth and handling this in a Christ-like manner. What every believer should consider is that there is real possibility of reconciliation even in a case such as this. Instead, the author of this article uses examples from women who have divorced and remarried.

This is the scripture for church discipline.  
Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

As far as we know, Jordan Root “confessed” his sin to the Village Church and to his wife. It appears Karen not only rejected the confession, she seeks to end the marriage. The Village Church enacted church discipline according to their “by-laws” based on Matthew 18:15-17, which is seeking that reconciliation be the final chapter in this story. 

If Jordan Root confessed his sin and seeks church discipline, what is the response of his wife? See wrote a letter seeking annulment from what she terms as a fraudulent marriage. Please understand that I would no way disagree that this sin was very unnerving and very serious. I cannot imagine the pain this woman feels, let alone the humility and betrayal of this horrible situation. However, she made a vow to the God of the universe, the same God who provided a way for salvation against her sins. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, she would be dead in her sins and face the just punishment for God’s wrath against sin. 

The point we must consider is that if Jordan Root remained in his sin instead of confessing his sin, even then, Karen would not have grounds to leave her marriage. The fact that Jordan did repent, she has the responsibility as a believer of forgiving her husband of this sin,(Matthew 6:15; 18:21-35) and over time, reconciling the marriage. At the same time, The Village Church is responsible, as a body of Christ, for both Jordan’s recovery, and enacting discipline (Which may well include jail time if convicted of a crime) for the consequences of his sin, as well as helping, assisting and caring for Karen while she grieves this pain. Karen appears at this time to have refused both options. 
All this said, reconciliation is not possible without the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all parties. Jordan Root will never forget the awful consequences of his sins. If he is transformed and renewed in Christ, he will have a deep regret for what he has done to his wife, his family, his church family, and most importantly, to God. However, the cross of Christ is exactly for men with horrible addictions. The power of the cross breaks chains of both the guilt and bondage of sin. God can use him in ways that we would never would think possible in areas of those who struggle with pornography addiction.

What of Karen? Reconciliation is possible in the life of a woman deeply hurt by the actions of her husband. The Lord Jesus Christ came to heal the broken, even in cases of a woman horribly betrayed by her husband. Some will say time heals all wounds, but those forever changed by the power of the Gospel will tell you that the Lord Jesus Christ heals all wounds. Karen can remain in bitterness over the actions of her husband and the actions of a church family that did what they felt was the best for all involved, or she could embrace the love of Christ for her, knowing that while she was a sinner, Christ loved her enough to suffer and die in her place.
The Village Church has since offered an apology concerning their lack of compassion in handling this. This should be a reminder that to all congregations that accountability needs to be a great concern for the spiritual lives of the body of Christ. In this case, a man was able to remain in sin without the knowledge of either his wife or his church family.  Yet, we must be clear that even if Karen does leave and is comforted by another church, she is still required to forgive as Christ forgave us. She must honor her marriage vow, and she must remain willing to reconcile the marriage. It is the duty of both the Village Church and the church Karen seeks sanctuary to uphold the one–flesh covenant of marriage.
In conclusion, the Lord Jesus Christ will get the glory if all partied involved seek His will, follow His word, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them to His understanding in all things.  This story should remind us that none of us are susceptible to the devices of this world. As individuals, we need to be in Christ at all times. It is how we act in every situation presented to us that the world will either see a Christ-filled life, or a “me”-filled life. Let humility, grace, mercy, kindness, and truth be the heart of all in Christ, so that even in the darkest hour, we will shine the light of Christ for all to see. And last, but not least, let us have compassion for those who repent of sin so that they will heal, and we will heal, so that Christ will be glorified.

 Eph 4:32-5:2 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 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,


(Please read the comment section as there is an article with more details from Karen's perspective. As noted, I stated in this original article...

"As far as we know, Jordan Root “confessed” his sin to the Village Church and to his wife."
Again, there is many sides to a story, but God knows all, and this original article is centered on reconciliation through repentance by the power of the Gospel, and any subsequent additions to this story will not change the intended purpose of this post.)


Unilateral Divorce Is Unconstitutional said...

There's all kinds of stories in this story, isn't there?

The Pharisees calling for divorce (and most standers can tell far worse stories, but there's no point in doing so) DO NOT understand covenant, nor God's character in covenant, nor what breaks covenant. Why? BECAUSE THEIR PASTOR DOESN'T, EITHER. It's simply not preached or studied. This is also the reason why the Matt. 19:9 heresy is so hard to pull up by its bitter root.

The other story may pass by unnoticed. Here's a church that feared God enough in this day of civil liability to follow biblical instructions for church discipline that might get them sued. How refreshing is THAT?

PMB said...

Neil, have you read the analysis at ? I'm curious as to how it would affect your opinions as expressed in this post.

Neil Novotnak said...

Dear PMB,
Thank you for the comment. I have read the Watch Keep blog. Thank you for shedding more light to this awful situation. Regardless the actions of each party as I write this comment (There is a true story out there, and God knows the facts), there is a right way to handle these situations, and my post does not detract from that. If Jordan Root is not repentant, or never was, and The Village Church was covering up their own skins, there is always time to make things right through repentance. It appears that the TVC church has already publicly attempted to do so. However, this event will only further my belief that the clergy/laity system is not the example of the early church. If you care to know where I stand on the clergy/laity system such as TVC,especially as this system pertains to marriage, you can find these posts here.

I hope it is clear that I am not on anyone’s side, but that Christ be glorified by all through repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

In this case, if Karen was lied to by the TVC, then I would agree that she needs to move to another body of Christ that will come alongside her during this awful time. If she was publicly humiliated as this Watch Keep blog post indicates, those who have humiliated her need to repent, and she must be ready to forgive as Christ forgave us. She still must maintain a love for Christ in hopes of reconciling to her husband if he one day exhibits fruit of repentance. If Karen believes that divorce is the best option in this case, she still only has an option of remaining unmarried or reconcile. (1 Cor 7:10,11)

I for one, would say that she cannot go wrong by clinging to Christ in the period of her life. This is a sad story and I will never make light of the fact that there are clear problems in the institutionalized church, and many of these could be avoided if these congregations preached the truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Thank you again for your comment. I hope you that my response was helpful so that Christ be glorified.

Donna George said...

I am truly disheartened by the tone of both this post and replies. Obviously you MEN have passed judgment on this woman for seeking an annulment from the admitted pedophile, without even attempting to understand her point of view.

She was duped into marriage by a person who lied to her the entire time before marriage. If she had been truly and honestly married to the person she took her vows with, that is one thing. But she was married to someone else. Why would she stay married to a stranger? He was not free to marry at the time of the vows. His deception of who he was caused the need for the annulment.

Neil Novotnak said...

Dear Donna, Thank you for your comment. I understand that this is a very difficult situation, but I believe the reasons you are disheartened by this post lacks truth. If Karen’s desire is to divorce from her husband, she must remain unmarried or reconcile. (1 Cor 7:10,11) These are the choices that the Lord gives. It is not my choice, her choice, or your choice. Surely we can all do and say what we believe ought to be, but the Lord makes the rules and we must follow them. Yes, this is humiliating and very sad on levels that we maybe cannot comprehend, yet she needs to trust the Lord in this, and so do you.

It is possible Donna that Jordan can come to true repentance. If this is possible, is Karen required to forgive her husband, or can she remain bitter against him? This is the whole purpose of my post. There are worse case scenarios than this that were reconciled. If it was truly The Village Church’s desire to reconcile the marriage, Karen needs to believe this, and so do you. If there was any negligence by both TVC, and Jordan, they must come forth and repent.

Again, I am not on anyone’s side here. I am on God’s side. I would never agree that Karen should stay in the care of TVC, but she needs to come alongside a body of believers that seeks restoration and reconciliation. She needs time to deal with this, but she needs the healing power of Christ most of all.

Also, the other comment was not from a man. You have capitalized MEN for what reason? We are to pass righteous judgment, but you have judged both comments without knowing the truth. My love for God, and my love for the ALL the parties of this story goes far beyond the worldly desires of this fallen planet. Please understand this.

The underlying problem is that if the church would preach the truth about marriage, divorce and remarriage, we would not have some of these problems today. Fornication, adultery, abortion, pornography, feminism, and same-sex marriage have a flourished since the church has caved into the culture by believing a divorce can end a marriage. Unilateral divorce has further degraded the covenant of marriage, not to mention that both men, women and children have been subjected to a sexually permissive culture that is orchestrated by an enemy that hates marriage.

Who is to blame? I am. What is the cure? The Lord Jesus Christ. That is the intent of this post, and that is the intent of this blog. Marriage is God’s design and represents the love Christ has for His church. Any deviation from this is disastrous. You and I can both can have our “thoughts” on what ought to be right, but let you and I both be liars, and let God be true. Until the Lord returns, we need to trust Him and His word, even if in our own minds what we see, hear, and witness is beyond all comprehension.

In Christ’s love,

Donna George said...

Even if she were to forgive her husband, it sounds to me like they were not scripturally wed. He was not free to marry, as he did not show his true self, and was emotionally involved (at the very least) with another (the underage girls).
If, and that's a big if, he was considered spirtually and scripturally wed, then she is free to divorce him. THAT is scripture. Matthew 19:9
And frankly, the whole idea that The Village Church makes the decision about whether a marriage to an adulterer is worthy of being saved, and thus Karen must follow is ludicrous.

Neil Novotnak said...

Donna, thank you again for your response, and your compassion. Using Matthew 19:9 is not the answer here. This blog has answered this false teaching on the “exception clause”, (here - and here - and church history and proper hermeneutics prove that marriage is one man and one woman for life.

I understand exactly what you are saying. In so many words, you believe that this marriage was not a marriage from the beginning based on the spiritual condition of Jordan. If that is the case, can we say that every marriage of unbelievers are not marriages, even if these are marriages of one man and one woman? Paul makes it clear that we are not to yoke ourselves with unbelievers. As far as we know, Karen, and the minister that married them believed Jordan was who he said he was. Regardless, vows to God were exchanged by both Jordan and Karen, and just because Jordan was hiding a dark secret, does not lessen the vows that Karen made to Jordan and God. Jordan will most certainly answer for his vow. We have to be careful when we think we can redefine marriage without considering who designed marriage in the first place.
Marriage is not on trial here, sin is.

Another thing to consider is this. If God did not want them to marry based on Jordan’s spiritual condition (Which he was well aware of), do you believe that somehow, some way the Holy Spirit would have given her a check in the spirit that Jordan had issues and she should not marry him? I am not asking you to answer this, I am asking you to consider the condition of all men and women based the power of the cross to transform each of us into the likeness of Christ.


Neil Novotnak said...

Jordan was false. No question. I would not disagree if he faced some sort of punishment according to the laws against the heinous crime of child pornography. He deserves to suffer the consequences of his sin. But let me ask you this? Does Jordan deserve to burn in Hell for all eternity? Would you want to see Jordan burn in Hell for all eternity?
We have to come to a conclusion here. The Village Church was doing the right thing if they sought to come along side both Jordan and Karen restoring Jordan into a right relationship with the Lord by making sure that he was completely repentant of his sins. They were also doing the right thing if they were coming along side and comforting Karen so that she could get through this awful experience. They were doing the right thing if they sought to help this couple restore their marriage through all areas of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This is what the body is called to do….be accountable to the Gospel.

Jordan is doing the right thing if he is truly repentant. If he is not, he will most certainly face the wrath of God for this sin. If he is truly repentant, he must face the consequences of his sins which may include incarceration. He is doing the right thing if he confesses to his wife for the pain he put her through. If her option is to seek divorce (or annulment) his only option is to remain unmarried, or reconcile his marriage. That will not be possible until Karen forgives him.

Karen is doing the right thing if she steps away temporarily to heal from this grievous sin. It will only take the power of the Holy Spirit to help her forgive her husband to reconcile to him. It will take a body of believers to comfort her and share in her grief. I shed tears for her in this and so should everyone, but if Jordan confesses his sin and shows fruits of repentance, she will be accountable if she remains in bitterness. If she forgives him, and over time reconcile to restore the marriage, who knows what the Lord will have in store for both of them.

It is my hope that five years from now, both Jordan and Karen have a ministry that speaks of the horrors of pornography, the hope in Christ for woman dealing with pornography addiction, and that it is only by the love of Christ that a person can break free from the bondage of sin, restore relationships, and shine the redemptive power of the Gospel. I hope that TVC learns from this so that other churches will stand by the truth of the Gospel in showing compassion for the broken, accountability for the fallen, and obedience to God and His word.

In Christ's love,


Donna George said...

She can forgive him, and still not want to restore the marriage. She is loosed from the bonds due to his behavior.
I will tell you this. I was married in the church in 1989. What I did not know was that my husband was a child molester. I found out when he was arrested. I worked hard on forgiveness, and can truly say that I have forgiven him completely. However, I cannot be married to him any longer. I was loosed from the bonds of marriage due to his behavior. I am at peace with him, and even consider him a friend now. I have not married again due to my own choice. If I did choose to marry again, I am free to do so, and do not believe that God in all his mercy would ever consider me an adulteress for it.
It is Karen's choice to forgive, and I hope she does sol But it is also her choice, NOT the church's, on whether to reconcile. Having been there, I can say that the idea of being touched by a man who prefers children is emotionally scarring.
It all comes down to a real What Would Jesus Do? moment. Would Jesus ask that we forgive? Absolutely. Would he require that she remain married to him? I doubt it. He allows divorce in the case of infidelity. The bible is completely clear on that. Again, Jordan did not enter in the marriage unencumbered and free to marry, so I don't believe that the marriage was even valid. I trust that Karen will seek the guidance of the Lord in this matter, and will trust the truth she puts in her heart.

Neil Novotnak said...

Donna, thank you again for your comments. I am sorry you had to experience this. I will never say there are not consequences to this kind of sin. It is heartbreaking and humiliating. Emotional scarring may never go away, but it can be substituted and covered with the love of Christ. I have witnessed stories similar to these, and there can only be two outcomes…reconciliation of the marriage, or divorce. Which of these is a true example of the Gospel? Marriage is surely a gift for this lifetime, but Christ relationship to His bride is not unlike marriage. (Eph 5:32)
Let us say that we are “married” to the Lord. Would the Lord forgive us if we sinned, and also repented of sin, so that we would be reconciled to Him, or would He divorce us? What is the measure of true forgiveness? The Lord says he forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, remembering our sins no more. Is divorce compatible to this?
Also, what scripture do you use to say that you are “loosed” from the bonds of marriage when the Lord commands that a husband is not to divorce his wife, and if she is divorced, she is to remain unmarried or reconcile the marriage (1 Cor 7:10,11)? Only death can end a marriage covenant. (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:39) Again, you are relying on twisted scripture that the Pharisees used, and the evangelical church mimics to allow for both divorce and remarriage. Divorce is not the law of Christ. If you are at peace with him, you must reconcile the one-flesh marriage. Once you vow into a one-flesh marriage, you can no longer become two again. You are bond in the marriage covenant until death, and so is he.
Any “remarriage” to another is adultery because you are still in covenant with your husband. Not my words, the Lord’s words. (Luke 16:18) Praise God that you have remained in Him during this time. We all have choices to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, or what seems right in our own eyes. Divorce is not what the Lord would want in any case. What He wants is the fulfilling of the Gospel…Children of light who forgive as he forgave. The choice is most definitely yours. When we stand before the LORD before we enter in eternity, we will look back and see what a very short time the Lord has granted to us. In that time He loved us and pursued us, and most importantly, He suffered and died by taking the wrath of all these awful sins upon Himself. Yes, even the sins of your husband, and the sins of Karen’s husband. If these men repented and the Lord forgave them, and restored to them into His righteousness, what will He expect of His children? I pray you consider these words in the love of Christ. God bless you, Donna.
In Christ’s love,

Donna George said...

Pretty much the only thing I agree with you in that whole statement is that divorce is not what the Lord wants. I wholeheartedly agree. However,when you marry to someone who is hiding their true self, there is no marriage, which is what annulment is for. A person who enters marriage with duplicity on their side is no better. Matthew 19:9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. I believe that the opposite would also be true. A man commits immorality, and the wife is then free to divorce her husband.

Although I have enjoyed our discussion, I will leave you know. I pray for Karen, that she finds a church in which she feels fully supported, and for Joradn, that he might find light in his soul.

John Hutchinson said...

"Yet, we must be clear that even if Karen does leave and is comforted by another church, she is still required to forgive as Christ forgave us. She must honor her marriage vow, and she must remain willing to reconcile the marriage. It is the duty of both the Village Church and the church Karen seeks sanctuary to uphold the one–flesh covenant of marriage."

You have no authority to 'require' of a person beyond what Christ Himself demanded (Matthew 5:32, 19:9). Based on Gal. 5:19-21 / 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, it is highly doubtful that this self-identifying "Christian" husband was ever a Christian, even if he 'prophesied' in Christ's name. And in having left the marriage via chronic and appalling infidelity as an unbeliever, she is free. I would suggest that you incorporate the FULL COUNSEL OF GOD, and not just your selective proof-texts.

Secondly, you really do underestimate and disregard the psychic harm that the thought of sexual intimacy with a spouse who thinks of sex with 4-5 year olds, which by its nature is extraordinarily abusive. In the name of a compassionless and psychologically-obtuse legalistic definition of love, you are obligating reconciliation. Grace and charity is not an obligation of God. And He seeks such things in His children "not reluctantly or under compulsion" (2 Cor 9:7), even if there exists a theological foundation for such forgiveness.

Furthermore, the issue can be one not of forgiveness, or lack thereof. The issue is one of the wife retaining her spiritual and psychic integrity and wholeness. And the threat to her wholeness may make it necessary to not reconcile, especially in the intermediate. Furthermore, it is also a case of lies and infidelity (destruction of trust). Trust and trustworthiness is the cornerstone of all social relationships, and especially of marriage, since we are (or are supposed to be) so vulnerable. The destruction of trust can only be reacquired by a long proven evidence of trustworthiness. We are not under obligation to be masochists. (When they persecute you in one town, flee to another, wherever possible and prudent. e.g. Matthew 10:23)

Accepting that Christ can heal the worse addiction, it still becomes necessary for proof of transformation in this long self-professed 'believer' who has fooled the TVC elders, let alone the wife. A cheap profession of repentance and faith does not suffice for us humans of a genuine repentance and faith in Christ and His counsels, who have no direct insight into the hearts of men.

Your counsel is without compassion; something to which I myself was prone in my "cage" phase of the Christian walk.

Neil Novotnak said...

Thank you for the comment John. Please read the other comments. I (through other posts on this blog) and many others, have already provided clear biblical teaching that the “exception clause” is specific to fornication of a betrothal marriage. Also, remarriage after any divorce of a living first covenant spouse is adultery.

Again, this post is specific to the defense for the permanence of marriage and the heinous sin of a man confessing to be a Christian is the context of this post, and how only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation be the order of all parties in this story so that the glory extends to the LORD.

You need to provide me with biblical proof that she is free to divorce her husband from a covenant one-flesh marriage. You need to provide me with biblical proof that a man can never be transformed by the power of the Gospel, even if he was the sickest, deceptive, and most heinous criminal on the face of the planet. You need to provide me with the biblical proof that you can know for sure that Jordan will never come to repentance. Then you need to show me where the Lord said that we do not have to forgive someone if they show fruits of repentance.

In Christ’s love,

Neil Novotnak said...

John, I wanted to add to your comment. In particular regarding the severity of Jordan’s sin and how this will effect Karen and her ability to forgive and then reconcile. There is no question that even should Jordan show fruits of repentance, it will only take the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to extend supernatural forgiveness for this awfully atrocious sin.

What I feel from you is that even should Jordan show fruits of repentance, it is best she ends the marriage and gets away from him as far as possible. Tell me how this is extending a love to Jordan that he does not deserve? Did you really deserve what the Lord did for you on the cross of Calvary?

You take Matthew 10:23 out of context if you believe this verse applies to a man who may be willing to repent of his sin. What about love your enemies? Love thy neighbor? Is Jordan worthy of love if he repents, or should we just hang him now?

Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I forgive you for writing that I am without compassion. It seems that idea (and many others who responded to this story) of compassion would be to have Karen end this marriage, and Jordan pay dearly for his deceitfulness. How would you respond if Jordan remained in repentance, Karen forgave her husband and over time, they reconciled their marriage? Would that be the wrong thing to do, and would this glorify Christ?

As I wrote in the original post and the comments, it is my prayer that all parties would remain under the power of the Gospel in this, so that God be the glory. Let it be known, that God will get the glory no matter what any of His creation does. I do have compassion for all parties involved, and this will not error on the side of truth. I pray that Karen would spiritually and emotionally heal from this by the power of Christ, I pray that TVC would see the errors of their ways and that this instance have them consider their view of accountability, and I pray that Jordan would come to full repentance so that he may heal, and that all healed wounds would lead leads to reconciliation.

In Christ’s love,

Neil Novotnak said...

Donna George, thank you again for the comment. Please do pray for both Karen and Jordan. Also, pray for The Village Church and the leadership. I too was blessed by the discussion as it has challenged my faith and offered another view of how people understand the one-flesh covenant of marriage.

I have seen many discussions on how people use the “exception clause” (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) to find loopholes to exit this covenant, but unfortunately they do not have a solid biblical understanding of marriage. The law of marriage is before the fall of man. Therefore, we cannot as fallen people redefine marriage as God designed marriage. Marriage is as the Lord says,…from the beginning (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9)
In this case, Jordan and Karen exchanged vows to each other, in the presence of God. Even if Jordan was deceitful in not coming forward and telling Karen of his awful secret, he is responsible for his vow to her in the eyes of the Lord. The same goes for Karen. Her vow to Jordan has nothing to do with his deceitfulness. She is responsible to remain in covenant because God witnessed her vow.
You might say (and you have) that Jordan was deceitful in that he hid his secret from Karen. Yes, he did. No one will deny that, and as I wrote previously, God was fully aware of Jordan’s deceit. Yet, you also think this gives Karen the right to divorce, or as she states, to annul the vow, which she believes takes into account that since Jordan was deceitful, the marriage never took place. Or, that God never accepted the vows of Jordan, thus releasing Karen of her vows.
However, nowhere will we find this in scripture. No one can show me any scripture where God does not recognize vows of “unbelievers” or the unequally-yoked (1 Cor 7:12-14). In fact, Podiphar’s wife made advances on Joseph and he told her that he would commit a great evil succumbed to her wishes. (Gen 39:7-9) Joseph understood that Podiphar’s “Egyptian” marriage was a marriage honored by God. The closet scripture we have is in Ezra, but the Israelites divorced from their pagan wives because they were told by God to never marry them in the first place. Did God tell Karen to not to marry Jordan in the first place? Of course not, but what do we do about Jordan’s deceitfulness?
Karen must rely on the officiator and witness of her vow (The Almighty LORD) in the case of Jordan’s deceitfulness. Remember, Jordan has already proved that he was deceitful, thus his ONLY course of action is to repent. If he does not repent, he will be judged according to the law. Karen must trust in the Lord in this. Her responsibility to her vow is to love her husband through her love of Christ. She does not have the freedom to divorce less she would break her own vow to her husband. If she does divorce, she is COMMANDED to remain unmarried or reconcile to her husband (1 Cor 7:10,11) If she chooses to divorce and remarry, she will commit adultery against her husband and so too will the man she marries. (Luke 16:18)
Not too many people like this idea, until the Holy Spirit reveals to them why God requires this. If the Holy Spirit does not reveal this to you, then you need to check to see if you are in the faith. Marriage, like anything else, can become an idol. Both Jordan and Karen will make marriage an idol if they both believe marriage is according to how they both believe it ought to be, rather than what God made it to be. Thank you again for your comments, I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of marriage and how this gift of God is a true representation of Christ’s love for His church.

I n Christ’s love,