Sunday, June 14, 2015

What if: Breaking News: Divorce Laws Abolished

The following is meant to be satire.

This just in, the divorce laws in the United States of Worldliness are officially abolished. The Supreme Court of the United States of Worldliness (SCOTUSOW) unanimously voted to abolish all divorce laws in this country, making marriage one man and one woman for life. The only divorce law that will remain in effect is a revision that requires the dissolution of all remarriages. This particular divorce law specifically pertains to a person, or persons who “remarried” after divorcing from his or her first covenant marriage. This new law requires these “adulterous” unions to end immediately.

The recent vote has caused considerable backlash from the family court lawyers who believe this law will eliminate their livelihood of exploiting and destroying individuals and families through costly divorce litigation. One divorce lawyer was quoted as saying, “How can the SCOTUSOW make a decision on this without considering the billions of dollars we family court lawyers make on this industry of divorce? This is preposterous!” In response, one of the judges said that this vote should give these lawyers a new position on preserving the covenant of marriage by creating contracts that would enforce laws to those who failed to live up to the vow of marriage. Instead of destroying individuals, the new laws would lean toward the reconciliation of individuals, families, and marriages.

The new marriage laws would compel “offenders” shown to be guilty of abuse and adultery to face severe consequences for their actions including extended jail time and community service. These consequences would not give either spouse the option of divorce, it would give the choice to repent of abusive and adulterous behavior, or remain single until death of either spouse. The courts believe that there is always hope for reconciliation even in the most arduous of cases. These new laws would give a person more appreciation for the importance of marriage in society.

The vote also brought considerable consternation from the divorce support ministries. They claim these new laws would create more problems if the law requires the dissolution of thousands of “remarriages”. One person quoted, “If we say that the divorce laws are abolished, then why would you force thousands to divorce from remarriages? Don’t you see the problems this would create?” The answer to this is simple. These “remarriages” were not marriages to begin with, thus they were unlawful in nature. There is opportunity for these "divorce support" ministries to adjust their curriculum to helping the unlawful marriages adjust to singleness or reconciling to first covenant marriages. 

In these cases, the new law would abolish current “remarriages”, while not allowing divorce and remarriage in the future. The worst case scenario is that this implementation of the new law would entail some severe changes and challenges for one generation. The succeeding generations would be under the new laws which would virtually eliminate the “divorce of remarriages" law based on the fact that there will be no more remarriages in future generations.Under this new law, a man and woman of "divorce from remarriage" (unlawful marriages) would separate from any further associations as husband and wife. 

The big question is how to handle the children of "divorced remarriages."Under the former laws, children became victims because divorce (granted upon) a unilateral decision (petition of one) of their parents. Therefore, the courts believe it is nothing less than hypocrisy for a person who divorced from a covenant marriage to claim that the new laws would cause pain and heartache for the children of divorced “remarriages”. This new law would teach a child the importance of marriage and obedience to laws created for their own good. This new law would be a reminder for future generations that divorce always has consequences.

Ironically, the greatest upheaval came from the evangelical church leaders. One particular leader was quoted as saying, “Marriage is God’s design, and you have no right to change these laws!” Ironically, this man was on his third marriage after divorcing his first two wives. It was believed that the first divorce was based on the spiritual condition of his wife, claiming that his first wife was an unbeliever. A few months after his divorce, he remarried the church secretary. Sadly, he divorced this second wife when she was found committing adultery with the praise leader of his church. He then married the praise leader’s divorced wife, and they claim to be happily “remarried” for 2 years.  

Another response was from the publisher and author of a very popular marriage, divorce, and remarriage publication. This book is famous for making the reader believe that certain passages of scripture provide loopholes to exit marriage. This author made the following statement, “This new law makes my book obsolete. Will I be held accountable under the laws of men based on the language in this book? I believe God gives valid reasons to divorce, and even though these new laws are in line with what God intended of marriage, I believe that God is merciful to the innocent.”

The court has considered language on passages such as Luke 16:18, and we understand that God does not give valid reasons to divorce and remarry, even for the innocent. Thus, we could question the validity of a book by a man who believes there are loopholes to leave a marriage based on other scripture that may refer to specific circumstances that are irrelevant to a consummated marriage covenant. The court believes that scripture points to marriage permanence, and that using scripture to validate divorce is tantamount to ignorance, selfishness, and deceitfulness.    

The argument is mute if you take into account that there is punishment and consequences for the vow-breaker of covenant marriage. It is not the fault of the court’s decision that the evangelical church was not accountable to marriage permanence. What the new laws do take into account is the fact that marriage is not to be taken lightly. Instead of providing loopholes to divorce, the focus of these laws is significant on the definition of marriage…one man and one woman for life. There are no loopholes to divorce, but there are laws in place to make reconciliation possible. The court has recognized the significance of accountability in the Bible. The court has also recognized that the evangelical church has failed to preach the significance of a vow, and how this vow pertains to having faith in God to remain obedient.  

Another major consideration of this law was the effects of divorce on society. The courts believe that in years to come, the permanence-of-marriage law will eliminate many costly programs that contributed to the financial and social burdens of this country. There is no question that stable marriages provide the best for individuals, family and children in areas of financial stability, education, physical health, mental health, and accountability. The courts believe this law would make children become responsible adults, who in turn would view marriage as essential to the betterment of society.

There are also financial benefits with the elimination of divorce laws.The effects of divorce have greatly increased mental health issues, welfare recipients, and substance abuse. The escalation of taxpayer burden would decrease from programs associated with these social consequences of divorce. There would be a greater need for education on the dangers of fornication and the greater importance of marriage education. The greatest relief would come from the court systems itself. There would be a virtual elimination of billions of dollars in court costs associated with divorce litigation. 
This extra money could also provide financial support of current families affected by the new law pertaining to a divorce from “remarriage”. Statistically, this financial strain would only be temporary; considering a child born today of “remarriage” will become an adult in 18 years. The new law would virtually eliminate “remarriages” in the future. This extra money would also provide certain spouses financial support if their spouse is incarcerated because of breaking their marriage vow. The extra money could also go into educating the values of marriage, and how reconciliation of marriage is the best for the individual, families, children, and society.

The court is aware that some churches already recognize these reforms and that these same churches have preached for years for the permanence of marriage. These churches will not tolerate divorce, and they have already administered accountability for such actions. These same churches have also warned of the consequences of sexual promiscuity outside the confines of marriage.  The court is also aware of the dangers of sexuality transmitted diseases increased through unchecked fornication. That is why the court will consider revisions of current laws that all but ignore the dangers of pre-marital sex. 
This of course leads to a greater restriction to the pornography industry. The courts agree that pornography does greater harm to society than previously thought. The new fornication laws would eliminate many proliferators of “professional fornication”.  The courts believe that the restrictions on proliferators of fornication, and new laws of fornication would eliminate many social, health, and mental problems, up to and including, the death of the innocent (abortion).
This post is satire, and nothing more.  It begs the questions: What if this country would repent of redefining marriage? And where should that repentance begin? 

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

In Christ’s love,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

An Open Letter To Michael L. Brown

Dear Michael,

I believe every word you wrote (An Open Letter To Tony Campolo) to Tony Campolo was in the love of Christ. Your points were truthful, concise, and articulated, and you make it perfectly clear that compassion for the LGBT community must never come at the expense of what God’s word has to say in regard to the Gospel, marriage, and human sexuality. You also offered Mr. Campolo a chance to reconsider his “coming out” by offering him a chance to dialogue. But I would argue that  based on your position of marriage, you really have no authority to dialog with Tony Campolo.

I carefully read Tony’s coming out statement (Tony Campolo:For the Record), and what was most intriguing was the preceding paragraph to his closing remark. First, the closing remark...
“I hope what I have written here will help my fellow Christians to lovingly welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters into the Church.” ~ Tony Campolo

I believe you would agree with me that I personally can never call a professing homosexual a brother or sister in the Lord. The very language and lifestyle of “gay” and "lesbian” alongside "brother" and "sister" is not only contradicting, it is a direct insult to the Creator. The fact that homosexuality is a perversion to the very order of creation makes this parting comment a mere fallacy. The Gospel calls for repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and Tony Campolo’s new view ignores both.

This parting statement serves more as a warning and harbinger to come for those who disagree with this educated, spiritual social scientist turned theologian who believes he surrendered his life to the Lord at a young age. Perhaps Tony did at one time believe the Gospel, but the Lord did warn that there would be a falling away, and Tony Campolo would fit the bill for one who has "fallen away".

As stated, the one part of Tony’s “change of mind” was very evident in what he had to say in that last paragraph. Regardless of  his education, his leadership status, or the pleadings of his wife (more on this later), it is his view of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how Tony defines love, compassion, sin and discipleship that come into question. 
   “However, I am old enough to remember when we in the Church made strong biblical cases for keeping women out of teaching roles in the Church, and when divorced and remarried people often were excluded from fellowship altogether on the basis of scripture. Not long before that, some Christians even made biblical cases supporting slavery. Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong. I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.”- Tony Campolo

Michael, I believe that Tony makes some very clear observations that not only reveal the truth of the problem, it also reveals the fact marriage redefinition is not a new idea. I will argue that divorce, remarriage, and egalitarianism contributed to marriage redefinition and that the destruction of the family occurred when men like Campolo embraced culture’s acceptance of feminism and no-fault divorce laws. Not to mention that the evangelical church “changed” marriage from one man and one woman for life shortly after adopting the traditions of the “Westminster Confession” incorporates abuse of scripture to provide loopholes to divorce and remarry.(more on this later) 

One could make a strong biblical case that egalitarianism is not what the Lord intended for the church, and that the problem lies in abuse of complementarianism more than it does in believing that God did not have specific roles for men and women. These were roles that provided humankind with the best way to glorify Him, rather then for our convenience, our glory, or to make us proud.

It is clear to me that Tony has fallen victim to his embrace of egalitarianism since his wife has forgone her command to respect her husband thus proving her disobedience to Christ. It was the Red Letters of Lord Jesus Christ who said that …If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)  Tony’s wife is not a disciple of Christ, and it appears that Tony does not love his wife enough to rebuke and correct her to what scripture clearly says about the perversions of same sex. Thus, I would conclude that Tony Campolo is not a disciple of Christ.

As for Tony's point on divorce and remarriage,  I passionately disagree with his assessment that scripture was the fault of the church rejecting the divorced and remarried. The problem is that the church “changed” their position on divorce and remarriage which in turn created problems such as we have today. The early church defined marriage as the example of Christ’s love for the church, and that post-resurrection marriage was one man and one woman for life. (Gen 2:4; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:11,12) Divorce was not an option for a one-flesh covenant marriage of one man and one woman. If divorce was an option (1 Cor 7:10,11), remarriage was out of the question, simply because a “remarriage” is adultery(Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11,12;Luke 16:18), and not a sanctified marriage in the Lord. (1 Cor 7:39)

It is not a matter of excluding the divorced and remarried from fellowship, it is more about the evangelical church  repenting of false teaching on divorce and remarriage, that is, the twisting of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9… Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 to include loopholes for the “innocent”. The Lord  gives no provision for the innocent, nor does He give provision for the guilty of divorce (Luke 16:18) He says that 'remarriage" is adultery if you divorce from a covenant spouse. This has more to do with disciplining the church on marriage definition, and how marriage is an example of the Gospel. This in turn has more to do with admonishing/correcting a spouse who will not repent, forgive, or reconcile where applicable in the covenant vow before the Living God. 

Marriage is God’s design, and church leaders will have to answer to Him for any deviation. Michael, the evangelical church needs to look at the real problem in marriage redefinition. The church needs to be accountable for the Biblical definition of marriage, and one-man and one-woman-for-life leaves no room for error. We have to understand that marriage is one of the most perfect representations of the Gospel. If divorce is an option, then the vow is meaningless. If we understood that a vow of marriage includes the Lord, we would understand that the Lord will sustain the vow. Any spouse who believes that he or she can break a vow of marriage, believes that God is not part of marriage.

I see that scripture points to marriage as a representation of Christ’s love for us. Two people vow to become one, knowing that they can never be two. Death is the only way to end a marriage, and that is because earthly death leads to everlasting life with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, it is eternally important to have an eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as an individual, so when God gives you the grace to marry the spouse that He has for you, you will be ready to love them as Christ loved you….till death do you part.

This is an eternal love that is centered on the One who gave us mercy when we surely did not deserve it. If we love Christ like He loved us, we will be ready to truly love our spouse even if they should not love us. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can remain in covenant even in the worst of times. Divorce comes from a hard heart, and those who vow to God and believe that the Lord will not remain in covenant with those who remain in covenant, have either created a different god, or never believed in Him from the very beginning. 

Michael, I too am willing to dialogue publicly or privately with anyone on the subject of how marriage is one man and one woman for life; a reflection of the Gospel. I believe that Tony Campolo can truly understand marriage if he would only embrace the Gospel. But the evangelical cannot  defend marriage as God designed marriage until they repent on how they view divorce and remarriage. Otherwise Michael, you really have no authority to write a letter to a person who fails to understand marriage, when you do not have a clear understanding of marriage either.

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

 Praise be to God!   

In Christ’s love,

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Porneia Collison

There is a collision coming, and it will involve two players in the debate on the definition of one Greek word. “Porneia”

The first player is the homosexual Christian. The recent push for same-sex marriage is not strictly confined to the atheists and unbelievers of this world. There are those who would call themselves Christians who believe homosexuality is not a sin, on the fact that since the Lord Jesus Christ never specifically addressed this “sin”, this sin must be acceptable. This is like saying that the Lord Jesus Christ never said anything about bestiality, so this must be acceptable.

These “gay” Christians also believe that the evangelical church has no business telling a homosexual to repent of sin when they have already dropped the ball on divorce and remarriage.  The thought is that how can a divorced and remarried person call out the homosexual’s sin, when a remarriage after divorce is adultery? This logic on this goes so far, right up to the part when the same-sex partner files for divorce.

In a recent article Come on Christians, "It’s Time To Let Go of Your Aversion to Gays", the author Susan Cottrell tries to make a point that it is hypocrisy to call out the sin of a homosexual, when you are on your fifth marriage, as is the Texas lawyer Tony Tinderholt. She then goes on to make this remark…”Blindness to their own hypocrisy is pretty common among those who are non-affirming.

This article was made complete with a picture of a church sign which read…”WE TRULY REGRET THAT GAY MARRIAGE ATTACKS THE SANCTITY OF YOUR FOURTH MARRIAGE.”

There is a problem with this logic. First off, the Lord Jesus Christ, though he never did mention a single word on the homosexual (I might add that this word "homosexual" comes from the Greek words that translate into “same-sex”…more on this later), specifically reverted back to the beginning for the origin of marriage. He specifically said that a “husband” will leave “his” father and mother (Not father and father, or mother and mother), and cleave to his “wife”, and they will become one flesh. Therefore, marriage is one man and one woman in a one–flesh (never to become two) covenant for life. 

Secondly, since marriage is one man and one woman, “gay” marriage is impossible and totally illogical. A man can only be a husband, and a woman can only be a wife. The biological purpose of sexuality is to pro-create. Therefore, the word “same-sex” is not only illogical to the idea that a man and a man, or a woman and a woman can pro-create, it is illogical to associate the word “same-sex” with marriage. It would be like asking you to draw me a square circle. 

Thirdly, since marriage is one man and one woman for life, what is wrong with a person who is on their fourth marriage? Before, you jump to conclusions, could a man be on his fourth “marriage” if his first three wives died? Sure, we may question the deaths of his first three wives, but we should never disagree on the fact that a man can be married for the fourth time. 

Fourthly, even if this was a fourth marriage through three divorces and four “remarriages” (There is a difference between a “remarriage” and a marriage…more on this later) does a “gay” married person have the option to divorce if he or she finds a reason to divorce? As stated earlier, the moment a “same-sex” couple divorces and remarries into another same-sex marriage, puts this sign and article out of order. What is even more alarming was the comments on this article defended the idea that divorce is acceptable in certain cases. Ironically, these were comments against those who believe marriage is one man and one woman for life. How can you write an article bashing something you defend, or will defend in the future? I would like to see Susan’s theology on divorce and remarriage of “gay” marriages.

Is this the logic of the “homosexual” Christian? (Homosexual Christian is illogical since it is illogical to be “same-sex”, and that same-sex is defined as sinful) 

In another recent article, "Lexical Lies and Dictionary Deceptions", a proponent of homosexual Christians makes the claim that “porneia” in the case of Matthew 15:19 is specific to “fornication”, or at the very least that this word says nothing about homosexuality. The thought is that “porneia” is specific in language, and not the broad term of sexual immorality, which would include homosexuality. The author’s thought is that since the Lord did not specially address homosexuality, it must be “ok, because it is obvious to him that the lexicons and definitions are not entirely accurate.” My question to him would be if “fornication” is specific to elicit sexual intercourse between heterosexuals outside the confines of marriage, on what grounds can a same-sex spouse divorce for “fornication” (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9)?   

This brings us to the other player of the collision. The evangelical Christian will tell you that “porneia” is the broad term for all kinds of sexual immorality, including homosexuality. They will make the claim that the “exception clause” in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 is clearly including all kinds of “unrepentant” sexual behavior, thus an innocent “believing”  spouse can initiate a divorce on the grounds that the other spouse proves impenitent. Ironically, they refuse to acknowledge the other Gospels on the subject (Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18), or the very least, they will use Matthew’s account as the reference for the case of divorce. HERE is my recommendation for a great book on the use of Greek and the evangelical's view of the exception clause- Except For Fornication-Why Evangelicals Must Reevalaute Their Interpretation Of  Matthew's Divorce Exception Clause. by Daniel R. Jennings

Luke 16:18 makes no mention of “innocent” or “guilty”. It only makes it clear that marriage is one man and one woman for life. Remarriage after a divorce of a living covenant spouse is adultery, and not a lawful marriage. It also makes it clear that it is adultery to “marry” a divorced person of a living covenant spouse, thus the “remarriage” is unlawful. Both Romans 7:2,3 and 1 Cor 7:39 state that death of either spouse gives the freedom for the widow or widower to marry in the Lord.  

If “porneia” is the correct term and it is specific to fornication, why do the evangelicals use it in the broad sense for a “reason” to exit a consummated marriage? In Matthew’s account we even have the case of Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:18-25) If Joseph had the right to divorce Mary, because it was assumed she committed “fornication” during the year of betrothal, why didn’t he?  The evangelical will tell you that it is God’s intention that marriage is one man and one woman for life, but He provides loopholes in case your spouse proves unfaithful and unrepentant. They also say…”Well, your spouse sinned against you, but you still have the option to forgive so there is reconciliation.”

Do not get me wrong. There are churches that seek reconciliation of a marriage through repentance of a “guilty” spouse, and this is through church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17) and forgiveness of the innocent spouse. But we need to be clear that this is suspect in many churches, and that the rate of divorces and remarriages is not unlike the unchurched. The spouse that remains in covenant is the spouse that trusts the Lord in marriage definition. This has more to do with a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ than is has to do with anything else.

Marriage definition is not decided by what we think ought to be, marriage definition is what God spoke it to be. Paul was only reflecting the words of Lord when he wrote that a man is not to divorce his wife, and a woman, if she is put away, is to remain unmarried or reconcile the marriage. (1 Cor 7:10,11) Marriage must be a reflection of Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. (Eph 5:32)  It is a perversion to deviate from or add to the definition of one man and one woman for life. Death ends a marriage, and if you believe divorce is an option, you need to check to see if you have the Holy Spirit living in you, or you have a desire for the flesh. 

In conclusion, there are two forces coming to a collision on the word porneia.  On the left is the acceptance of same-sex marriage, and on the right is the evangelical church that created, accepted, participates and approves of loopholes to divorce and remarry.  The fact that there is a collision coming, or it has already arrived, is not a bad as it would seem. What this collision only proves to show is the true definition of one man and one woman for life was always there, and we either just missed it, or maybe we were trying to avoid it all along. 

As always there is still time to repent. For the homosexual and the adulterer, it is time to repent of your sin and embrace the cross of Christ. One day marriage will be a thing of the past, because we will either be married to the Lord in His presence, or we will face eternity without Him. We cannot fully understand the things of the spirit unless we kill the desires of the flesh. A new life in Christ is sufficient of itself, because it is in relationship of the One who not only saved us from our sin, He delivers us from the bondage of sin. The joy of Christ is knowing both to be true.  

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

In Christ’s love,