Saturday, August 20, 2016

Why Should the Church View Homosexuality Like Divorce?

Here is another article by the President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention entitled “Should The Church View Homosexuality Like Divorce?” Dr. Moore takes specific passages on marriage that were contrived and interpreted by the Westminster Confession of Faith and not founded on the word of God. Dr. Moore is defending divorce and remarriage in this post because he defends a false exegete of certain passages in the Bible based on his theological understanding of God. He will take us through a journey that ultimately seeks to validate “remarriage” after a divorce of a one-flesh covenant spouse, thus freeing his conscience of validating, performing, and embracing sanctified adultery.

 A few areas need to be addressed first. Dr. Moore will use ambiguous verses instead of unambiguous verses to validate his position. He will use Matthew’ Gospel and one verse from 1 Corinthians 7. Matthew’s account (Mt 5:31-32 and 19:9) can only be viewed through the knowledge that this Gospel was written to Jewish Christians who understood that “fornication” was a sin that allowed a betrothed husband to put away his betrothed wife because she was not a “virgin” on the night of consummation. 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. 

Taking 1 Cor 7:15 out of context (which Moore does) 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.

If we read this article by Moore with the principle that divorce is no longer applicable to New Testament saints and that remarriage is an adulterous union in the sight of the Lord, we can understand that the evangelical church is not only clueless to the definition of marriage, the evangelical church also hypocritically defends divorce and redefines one-flesh covenant marriage by what they teach, preach and believe. 

"Whenever an evangelical denomination disfellowships a church due to compromise on the issue of homosexuality, I usually hear critics complain that such action is hypocritical. Don’t most conservative denominations, after all, welcome members who have been divorced into the fellowship? Why do evangelicals single out one sexual teaching over another?  Couples divorce, sometimes remarry others, and yet are welcomed within the congregation. We don’t necessarily affirm this as good, but we receive these people with mercy and grace. Why not, the argument goes, do the same with homosexuality?"

First of all, you can only compare homosexuality and divorce on the lines that both are a perversion to the definition of marriage. The thought of creating a union of homosexuality and calling it marriage is no different than believing a divorce ends what God has bonded in heaven (Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9) The same is true if one divorces when he or she is commanded not to (1 Cor 7:10,11) and then he or she dares to make vows to another when their covenant spouse is still alive.

"The charge of hypocrisy is valid in some respects. I’ve argued for years and repeatedly that many evangelical churches have been slow-motion sexual revolutionaries, embracing elements of the sexual revolution twenty or thirty years behind the rest of the culture. This is to our shame, and the divorce culture is the number-one indicator of this capitulation. The preaching on divorce has been muted and hesitating all too often in our midst. Sometimes this is due to what the Bible calls “fear of man,” ministers and leaders afraid of angering divorced people (or their relatives) in power in congregations. Sometimes it’s due to the fact that divorce simply seems all too normal in this culture; it doesn’t shock us anymore."

The charge of hypocrisy is very valid if the one making the claim views marriage as one man and one woman for life. (Gen 2:24; Mt 194-6; Mk 10:6-9) The preaching of divorce is coming from the foundation of tradition and not the word of God. The correct response to the “fear of man” is to fear God and repent of this erroneous and damnable teaching that gives exceptions to the covenant of marriage.

"A recovery of a Christian ethic of marriage will mean repentance, and a strong commitment by churches to courageously say, where applicable, what John the Baptist put his head on a platter to say to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” In that sense, the charge is correct."

The only real solution is to bow on your hands and knees and repent by telling everyone the truth. Divorce is no longer applicable to the Church, and that ALL remarriages after a divorce of a living covenant spouse are adulterous unions requiring repentance. Thus, a complete repentance from these damnable lies would have ALL remarriages cease and that the spirit of Ezra would be evident to a fallen, God-hating, immoral, and perverse society.

"But divorce and remarriage is not, beyond that, applicable to the same-sex marriage debate. First of all, there are arguably some circumstances where divorce and remarriage are biblically permitted. Most evangelical Christians acknowledge that sexual immorality can dissolve a marital union, and that innocent party is then free to remarry (Matt. 5:32). The same is true, for most, for abandonment (1 Cor. 7:11-15). If the church did what we ought, our divorce rate would be astoundingly lowered, since vast numbers of divorces do not fit into these categories. Still, we acknowledge that the category of a remarried person after divorce does not, on its face, indicate sin."

The Lord made it clear that the Law of Marriage is as it was in the beginning. Now either He fulfilled the law and His ways are as they were in the beginning, or He was a liar. Which is it Dr. Moore? It is quite clear that “your” (or rather the WCOF doctrine) exegete of Mt 5:32 and 1 Cor 7:15 would contradict clear and unambiguous verses such as Mark 10:11,12, Luke 16:18, 1 Cor 7:10,11,39; Ro 7:2-4; and Heb 13:4. The permanence of marriage is a one-flesh covenant bond which can only end in death. Most evangelical Christians are in error since most the modern world recognizes divorce, remarriage, homosexuality, fornication, transgenderism, bestiality, etc. etc, etc.

"The second issue, though, is what repentance looks like in these cases. Take the worst-case scenario of an unbiblically divorced and remarried couple. Suppose this couple repents of their sin and ask to be received, or welcomed back, into the church. What does repentance look like for them? They have, in this scenario, committed an adulterous act (Matt. 5:32-33). Do they repent of this adultery by doing the same sinful action again, abandoning and divorcing one another? No. In most cases, the church recognizes that they should acknowledge their past sin and resolve to be faithful from now on to one another. Why is this the case? It’s because their marriages may have been sinfully entered into, but they are, in fact, marriages."

The redefinition of marriage is complete by calling an act “sinful”, and then “sanctifying” that act by calling it a "marriage". The worse-case scenario is a hardhearted person that lives in the flesh, believing a piece of civil paper can end a one-flesh covenant marriage. Then, the heart remains hard when one receives another civil paper co-signed by the witnessing Pastor which states one is “married” to another while their covenant spouse is still alive. Dr. Moore, how do you expect a world to see the light of Christ when they do not see Him in your words? How do you speak for God when God rejects your words?

"Jesus redemptively exposed the sin of the Samaritan woman at the well by noting that the man she was living with was not her husband. “You have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband” (Jn. 4:18). It could be that her husbands all died successively, but not necessarily. Christians are forbidden to marry non-Christians. This does not mean, though, that these are not marriages, or that, after repentance, these marriages are ongoing sins. Instead, the Scripture commands a repentance that looks like fidelity to that unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:12-17; 1 Pet. 3:1-2)."

You are taking scripture out of context to make a point. You cannot assume that just because the Lord pointed to the Samaritan woman that He recognized her five marriages. In her day the laws allowed men to put away their wives and even if she was divorced five times there is no indication that the Lord approved of this. The point was she was living with a man who was not her husband and that He was pointing her to HIM! Yes,believers are to marry believers, but it would be false to say that a marriage is not a marriage in the Lord if a believer married an unbeliever if both were never married before. The point is that marriage is a one-flesh bond between a man and a woman that can only end in death. Where is your scripture on this fact?

"Even if these marriages were entered into sinfully in the first place, they are in fact marriages because they signify the Christ/church bond of the one-flesh union (Eph. 5:22-31), embedded in God’s creation design of male and female together (Mk. 10:6-9)."

This is contradictory and illogical. You must have read John Piper's book, since he comes to the same illogical conclusion...How do you expect unbelievers to agree with you on this when many believers emphatically disagree on this? No wonder you are viewed as hypocrites. I seem to recall that God sought for His people to repent by sending ungodly nations to punish them. Do you see the hypocrisy or are you blind? You make no mention that the Law of Marriage is until death (Ro 7:2-4) and you twist the word of God to defend divorce and remarriage.

"Same-sex relationships do not reflect that cosmic mystery, and thus by their very nature signify something other than the gospel. The question of what repentance looks like in this case is to flee immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), which means to cease such sexual activity in obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). A state, or church decree of these relationships as marital do not make them so."

Divorce and remarriage do not reflect the cosmic mystery either, AND THUS by their very nature signify something other than the Gospel. The question of what repentance looks like is to flee sexual immorality ( Cor 6:18) which means to cease all remarriages in obedience to Christ. A state, and article by Dr. Moore, or church decree of these relationships as martial do not make them so.  

"We have much to repent for in the accommodation to a divorce culture in our churches. And if we do not articulate an alternative gospel vision of the definition of marriage, we will see the same wreckage we’ve seen on so many churches’ capitulation on the permanence of marriage. But our attitude should not be that so many have shirked their churchly responsibility in some things, so let’s then shirk our responsibilities in everything. That would be the equivalent of someone saying, “Since I have had lust in my heart, which Jesus identified as root adultery, I should go ahead and have an affair” or “Since I am angry with you, which Jesus identified as springing from a spirit of murder, I should go ahead and kill you."

Agreed. Here are a few articles that can help you Dr. Moore on your road to repentance.

  1. Dear Pastor
  2. Open Letter to the Evangelical Church
  3. How the Church SHOULD Handle Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

"Instead, our response ought to be a vision of marriage defined by the gospel, embodied in local congregations. This means preaching with both truth and grace, with accountability for entering marriages and, by the discipline of the church, for keeping those vows. We don’t remedy our past sins by adding new ones."


In Christ’s love,


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