Saturday, July 16, 2016

Is Permanence of Marriage a Doctine of Devils?

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

This blog is devoted strictly to the covenant of one-flesh marriage with the intent to correlate covenant marriage with the foundation of the Gospel and to expose the lies of tradition. I believe scripture accurately defines marriage as one man and one woman for life. This position is commonly referred to the permanence of marriage with a foundation that the law of marriage is as it was in the beginning. Once a person has a clear understanding of one-flesh covenant marriage, it is inconceivable and erroneous to believe that this holy union can end any other way than death.  

All this to say that once a person comes to the understanding of this definition of marriage, there are certain questions that arise which tend to derive from a person’s emotions then it does from the word of God. In other words, a person can understand the permanence of marriage position, they just fail to see how this applies to conflicting circumstances. These circumstances are usually remedied by understanding the Lord and how His ways are not our ways.

A prime example is the conversation I had with a AOG (Assemblies of God) minister. I questioned his understanding of marriage based on the idea that he believed his daughter could “remarry” another man while her covenant husband was still alive.  It is important to understand that AOG’s doctrinal position has drastically changed over the years and a recent post by “standerinfamilycourt” and a recent correspondence with another gentleman was the motivation behind this post. 

AOG’s current position is similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith, of which I exposed this doctrine in many a posts including the is one. Regardless, the conversation with this particular pastor centered around the understanding of sin in a marriage and how this relates to remaining in covenant despite the actions of a wayward spouse. In plain words, the Gospel was the center of the conversation as it pertains to understanding the vow of covenant marriage. 

When it came down to his understanding the position I presented based on the permanence of marriage as a one-flesh covenant which can only end in death, this pastor suddenly reverted to questions that were not directed toward the Lord, the Gospel, and the purpose of unconditional love within covenant, they were directed toward feelings, emotions, and personal gratification.

“Do you expect her (his daughter) to remain single the rest of her life?” 

At first I thought why would a pastor ask me this question knowing there are many who are single and love the Lord...What is wrong with singleness in Christ? Is this question based on the idea that singleness is the final outcome believing that her husband will never come to repentance? If it is, then what does this say about this man’s understanding of church discipline (Mt 18:15-17), his understanding of the Lord’s part in marriage, and his understanding of remaining obedient to the Lord? It’s as if he expects that his daughter is no longer required to love her husband unconditionally like Christ loved us. Then again, this is a man’s flesh and blood. Would his daughter love him if he stood firm on the foundation of marriage permanence? I immediately thought what would this man teach and refer to when reading these verses?
Luke 14:25-27 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 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. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

What about the fate of the wayward husband? Would divorce show the unconditional love of Christ, knowing that his actions are not worthy of the love of a wife who will remain true to her vows to him? Consider that God loves the fallen sinner WHILE he or she is rejects the love of Christ. It is Gods will that none would perish, and that the kindness of God leads to repentance. This is the truth of every believer. God loved us even when we did not love Him, and when we come to know the love of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, we now understand what love is truly about.  

By the grace of God, I have come to understand about divorce and remarriage that this desire of the divorcee is to make an idol of marriage. The person who looks for the loopholes, regardless if they were “innocent” or the “guilty” party of divorce, has given into the idea that marriage is something for their personal pleasure rather that marriage is for God’s glory. No one wants to be known as “divorced”, thus it is best to “remarry” as soon as possible, neglecting the idea that marriage cannot end other than death. 

In a recent article by standerrinfamilycourt, Book Series, “Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage”-Summery and Appendix, Rev. Milton T. Wells (a deceased AOG pastor and former President of Eastern Bible Institute) made a very interesting quote on the “Christian experience” of understanding marriage, divorce and remarriage from the excerpts of his yet unpublished book.

“The fallacy of building a doctrine of divorce on Christian experience is the greatest single cause for so many evangelical churches of this generation alter­ing or flouting Christ’s doctrine of marriage and divorce to fit the circumstances of converted divorcees. May God help churches which accept into good standing such couples as described above to realize that if their practice is persistently followed, it will as effectively destroy all barriers to divorce as the teaching and practice of Hollywood! ”

The pastor who defended his daughter’s decision to divorce and remarry has done so despite clear teaching that a divorce cannot end what God has sealed in Heaven. It would seem he is more concerned with upsetting his relationship with his daughter, his relationship with the many under his pastoral care who happen to be remarried, and the position of his denomination, rather than have faith that God’s ways are best. In a sense, this man and his daughter have created a god to their own understanding, their own desire, and their making.

How can these men of the cloth teach of the unconditional love of Christ on Sunday and then perform covenant vows to “remarry” a couple who abandoned their first covenant vows, remain indignant to an estranged spouse, and expect God to honor their “second’ vows to a new person? I have listened to many sermons by men who will tell us of God’s awesome love for us and then listen to this same person tell us that divorce is an option in covenant marriage.  Now I know that most pastors will tell you that the best way to honor a marriage is to reconcile the sins which dictate a decision to divorce and that divorce should be the last option…But I will tell you that is exactly what the Lord is saying about one-flesh covenant marriage. Reconcile in marriage or remain unmarried until one or both of you dies.

Even though many understand the position of marriage permanence, it is still too hard to believe that this is in line with God’s grace. Even when the rhetorical and sincere questions have all been answered as to why marriage is one man and one woman for life, and the foundation of marriage is illustrated in the word of God, the last resort is to demonize the position of marriage permanence as legalistic teaching and the doctrine of devils. 

1 Tim 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

In a recent correspondence with a pro-divorce pastor, I was told that what I believe is the doctrine of devils based on this idea that this position forbids marriage. In order to understand what he is saying, we must understand what he believes to make such a statement. If he believes that the permanence of marriage position forbids “marriage” to the divorced, then he has some credence to comparing this scripture to this position. 

However, one-flesh covenant marriage is saying that a marriage cannot end in divorce. This is not denying marriage; it is denying that a second marriage becomes lawful after a person divorces his or her first covenant spouse to marry another. The foundation of this position is that divorce, and the traditions of divorce ended when Christ fulfilled the law, rose from the dead and restored marriage as it was in the beginning. In fact, marriage was always as it was in the beginning and the Lord made it perfectly clear that Moses permitted divorce to a hardhearted people who wandered in the desert forty years. (Mt 19:8; Mk 10:5) 

We would never say that marriage is one man and many wives. Polygamy and divorce were things God tolerated, but never did He approve of these things. He commanded that Adam  would obey Him (Gen 2:16,17)The consequences of his disobedience was the curse of sin. (Gen 3:17) The Lord Jesus Christ was the remedy of their disobedience and He is the new Adam…

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

His offering is better than Moses…

Hebrews 3:1-3 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

So when someone tells me that God permits divorce and remarriage, they are telling me that Adam is greater than Christ, in that he was right to disobey God. When someone tells me that God permits divorce and remarriage, they are telling me Moses is greater than Christ, that the law of Israel is greater than the spirit of Christ who created all things for His glory. (Col 1:15-20) The disobedience of Adam capped earthly marriage until death, when Adam would have lived forever with Eve in the garden of Eden. The provision of Moses to permit divorce showed the condition of the hearts of Israel and their great need for a Messiah.

 Praise God that we no longer will die and that the work of Christ has freed us from both sin and death. Marriage should be a constant reminder of Christ’s love for us. We are betrothed to Christ as His bride and one day He will consummate the marriage thus living with Him for all eternity. My prayer as always is that those who need to repent of ever believing a one-flesh marriage can end in death, would do so. If the world truly wants to see the love of Christ, then it is about time the congregations, denominations, family ministries, and divorce recovery advocates humble themselves and speak the truth of marriage. One man and one woman for life, no excuses, no exceptions!
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

In Christ’s love,