Sunday, August 21, 2016

Simple Responses To Exceptions and Privileges

As you may have realized by now, this blog is solely dedicated to defending the truth of marriage as a reflection of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe scripture tells us that marriage is a one-flesh covenant bond sealed in Heaven, that the Law of Marriage is as it was in the beginning, and is a representation of Christ's love for His church. (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9; Ro 7:2-4; Eph 5:31,32) and that God gives us clear words that tell us this covenant can only end in death of one or both spouses. I believe that divorce was permitted to a hardhearted people by Moses with the intent to protect women, and that God does not permit this action (divorce) in the New and better covenant of His only begotten Son.

I also am very aware that historical facts of the early church indicated that if divorce was enacted through civil channels, a remarriage was always an adulterous union since it is widely agreed a divorce decree cannot end a one-flesh covenant. The divorce only permitted a person to remain unmarried or to reconcile the marriage.

I am also aware that the capitulation of marriage definition eroded over the history of the church beginning with the “Constitineization” of the church, and the subsequent Protestant Reformation totally redefined marriage as a matter of the state in the writings of the Westminster Confessionof Faith. It was this latter movement form which the “exception clause” (Matthew 5:32and 19:9) and the Pauline privilege (1 Cor 7:15) first appeared in Christendom.

I am aware that the redefinition of marriage continued in the succeeding centuries and that in the past 100 years we were introduced to feminism, no-fault divorce, woman clergy, and same-sex marriage. All of these have not only caused schism among the brethren, they have all contributed to the dismantling of the family unit as God commanded from the beginning. The church continued to capitulate on these matters by endorsing books by men like Jay Adams and David Instone-Brewer who believed like the Pharisees of Jesus day in that there are “many” grounds for divorce.

Today many churches recognize “remarriages” without the thought of how these remarriages came to be in the first place. The idea of church discipline is replaced with acceptance and I am convinced that divorce and remarriage is no longer a concern in most evangelical churches. Yet, it is this single action of divorce that contributes to the other sins for generations to come.      

Since I have come to the truth in the year 2012, I have defended one-flesh covenant marriage in many forums and often find myself repeating the same answers to the same questions. There are certain reoccurring positions that require continual rebuttal. In particular, it is common for most people to take Matthew’s account out of context to validate a divorce and remarriage by the “innocent” party from the actions of a spouse who committed adultery within the marriage. A simple and concise paragraph in response can clear this misconception and invite particular dialog to correct and bring a person to the truth.

Therefore, I have decided to write brief paragraphs that defend the one-flesh covenant marriage by rightly dividing the word in truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) This is a basic list on where people have been in error and is intended to bring the grace and truth to the understanding of one-flesh covenant marriage. These are designed to cut and paste when commenting on social media or comment sections in articles and I intended to write these to use myself.

Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 aka the exception clause-This exception is always used to allow an "innocent" spouse to divorce and remarry in the case of the unrepentant adultery of the other spouse. This at one time was exclusive to "adultery" but is now associated with substance abuse, pornography abuse and other forms of sexual immorality.

Matthew’s account (Mt 5:31-32 and 19:9) can only be viewed through the NT knowledge that this Gospel was written to Jewish Christians who understood that “fornication” (except for fornication-verses 5:32 and 19:9) was a sin that allowed a Jewish betrothed husband to put away his Jewish betrothed wife because she was not a “virgin” on the night of the consummation of the marriage. The whole foundation of Jewish marriage was understanding that a wife was to be pure and unblemished, and “except for fornication” can only be viewed in the context of pre-resurrection Jewish betrothal. It is poor and erroneous hermeneutics to teach, preach or believe that divorce is applicable to post-resurrection believers and the context text of Matthew’s account corroborates with the unambiguous texts of Mark 10:11,12 and Luke 16:18. 

 Verse 7:15-aka "The Pauline Privilege" The interpretation is often misused to validate a divorce and remarriage for the believer when his or her unbelieving sposue abandons the marriage.

Taking 1 Cor 7:15 out of context places this interpretation on contradicting grounds to other verses in the chapter. Abandonment is not grounds for divorce, and neither does it permit the believer to “remarry” another. In context, the verse is calling the believer to “peace” knowing that he or she was not at fault for the abandonment of the departing spouse. The believer is not to feel guilt or shame for the abandonment of an unequally yoked spouse who decided to leave the marriage. However, even though he or she abandoned the believer, they are still bonded in the covenant marriage until death do they part. Thus, remarriage is not an option since divorce is not applicable to severing a one-flesh marriage covenant. This correct interpretation corroborates with the bookends of Paul’s teaching on the one-flesh marriage covenant. (1 Cor 7:10,11and 1 Cor 7:39)

This last response it to the new idea inspired by men like JAY Adam and David-Instone Brewer that allows divorce and remarriage in the case of spousal abuse or other abuse such as pornography and drug addiction. 

Abuse is never an excuse to divorce. If a spouse is abusive, we as believers are to enact all forms of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17) to bring him or her to repentance. If this does not work, then he or she is to be released to the laws of men which God has allowed to protect people in such cases. It is sinful to allow a spouse to continually abuse us, therefore the greater love is to hand over the impenitent spouse to law to be prosecuted and indicted to the fullest extent of the law. Separation is the temporary solution so that such abusive and sinful spouse will repent. Divorce is never an option since the impenitent spouse may one day repent, turn to salvation in Christ and be saved, thus restoring the marriage. The spouse willing to love like this is an example of Christ’s love for us. 

The last topic is the idea that "remarriages" and "blended-families" are socially acceptable, and that we must accept these in the church as well. I see it all the time where there is this "grace" of divorced couples who reunite with each other for the sake of the children. The problem is that one or both have "unmarried" another, and we should applaud these new families...God forbid.
Step-families and blended families are only possible when one or both spouse’s previous marriage ended by the death of a one-flesh covenant spouse.(1 Cor 7:39) A “remarriage” after a divorce of a living one-flesh covenant spouse is not a marriage in the Lord as this union is adulterous which requires repentance. (Mt 19:9. Mk 10:11,12;Luke 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10,11, 39; Ro 7:2-4; Heb 13:4) Teaching that a “remarriage” after divorce is a marriage in the Lord is a lie and causes people to remain in the sin of adultery.

There is no such thing as an “ex-spouse”. A one-flesh covenant marriage can only end in death. Divorce is no longer applicable in the New Testament as the Lord defines marriage as it was in the beginning. (Gen 2:24. Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9, Eph 5:31,32) Do not believe that lies that marriage was handed over and governed by civil governments or traditions of men (Westminster Confession of Faith) Marriage is one man and one woman for life, no excuses, no exceptions.

These are all just basic responses to the basic and constant questions surrounding the popular idea that a divorce is applicable for the New Testament believer. We must always respond in kindness with the intention to bring a person to the truth. Many people are deceived because they believe what their Pastors have told them and not what the Holy Spirit tells them from the word of God. Yet, there are many who know the truth and want to ignore it anyway to appease the desires of their flesh.

Still, it is important to pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the person when answering and commenting. Social media is a great tool to communicate, but the only drawback is that it does not convey the compassion or love that is associated with face to face contact. Many take comments as “trolling” or a way to be vindictive or quarrelsome. Therefore, it is imperative that we be both salt and light in our commenting so that it leads people to the power of the Gospel which is so evident in the permanence of marriage. Our intent must always be to restore a person to the grace and truth of Christ, and if we do not write in this mindset, we should not write at all.

Col 4:5,6 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

In Christ’s love,


No comments: