Language, Vaccines, Adultery, and More

Dealing with Adultery

Thanks for this, Pastor Wilson. My wife is dealing with this same dilemma, though with a worse offense than simple adultery. I’m very blessed that she’s even considering retaining me in my “office” as husband. What she’s wrestling with, and has found few resources to help with, is this: What standards should she use to make that decision? Some are obvious, like contrition, godly repentance, and reasonable assurance the sin won’t be repeated, but those are only entering arguments. She knows that she doesn’t have to keep me, but she wants to, but conversely can’t imagine living in a marriage with this much hurt. Again, thank you for laying out this situation. I’m hoping there will be follow-on letters.

R

R, prayers for your wife, and prayers for you.


Lots of good in here for sure, but one thing I didn’t expect. Many see Christ’s word on divorce in Matthew as license to divorce upon adultery. I don’t buy that interpretation, considering everything else, but many do, so fine. But remarriage? Especially laid out as part of the deal the wronged woman is considering? Seems crass, at the very least. “Or you can see what’s behind for number two!” Plus there’s St. Mark’s take. How do you square it, Pastor? “Biblically speaking, you have grounds for divorce, which means that you can obtain a divorce, and at some future date, you would be free to marry someone else. A biblical church would not discipline you for either action, either the divorce or the remarriage.” Mark 10:11-12: “And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. ?

Joey

Joey, Mark 10 is actually one of the passages I would lean on to build my case. We get the exception clause from Matthew (except for sexual uncleanness), which helps govern the first part of this passage. Since the second part, applying to the wife, is in parallel with the first part, I take the exception clause as applying here also. In other words, just as a man cannot divorce his wife for no good reason, so also a wife cannot divorce her husband on a whim. There must be cause.


Thank you for this. Is this applicable across the board relationally? For example, would you also give such counsel for those who have been significantly wronged by a parent (i.e. abuse, abandonment, negligence, etc.)? Forgiveness extended toward the person, but removal from the office of parent?

Chase

Chase, yes, I would. I would not allow for that for snowflake reasons, but yes, I would apply the principle. And I have seen that principle applied well—not out of malice and bitterness, and not for petty reasons either.


I hope it goes without saying that I greatly appreciate your ministry, but I find this position on divorce and remarriage to not only be wrong, but dangerous. To argue that a spouse can still divorce even after genuine and verifiable repentance reduces marriage to something far below the biblical scale. You actually try to make your case by comparing marriage to an employment relationship, church leadership and political office. None of those relationships are equivalent to biblical marriage. To reduce the marriage covenant to merely filling an office is wrong. Marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church, not a yarn shop employee. Sheesh. Moses authorized divorce to accommodate hardness of heart, not some Talmudic legal dance to give sinners excuse to destroy a lifelong covenant. True forgiveness will inevitably lead to true reconciliation, else our forgiveness in Christ would be insufficient. I simply cannot disagree with you more.

BJ

BJ, thanks for sticking with me despite such disagreements! But here is the situation. Once we say that true forgiveness erases the past in this regard, we run smack into the Lord’s teaching on 70 times 7. How many adulteries? As a pastor, I have seen genuine repentance after repeated falls, and genuine repentance in between repeated falls. If you insist that the wife (or husband) must accept that, and the sinner back into office, you have demoted her far below a yarn shop owner.


So. My Use of the C-Word

I was going to ask you to think about whether your word choice in the article, “That Lutheran Jezebel Lady,” was a wise one. I was in the middle of writing out an introductory disclaimer, in which I was assuring you that I understood the point, and that as it stands, your word choice made the point clearly enough. All that is required is an understanding of the context and some simple reading comprehension. Well . . . wouldn’t you know it, I went and disclaimered myself into not writing that letter. The point I was trying to make was that the use of that word may erect a barrier for some who would be otherwise inclined to at least hear you out. But as I thought through the wording of, and reasoning behind, my fevered and sincere disclaiming, I began to understand exactly why you wrote what you did. Nadia Bolz-Weber’s ham-fisted stab at clever subversiveness is the kind of idiocy that can only be born of white-hot hatred of one’s creator. It is a great, self-descriptive snapshot of our nation’s peak Romans 1 rebellion. Nadia Bolz-Weber IS what a reprobate mind looks like. As such it is the tepid response of the WHI authors which is truly obscene. You were, in essence, saying, “Okay ladies, you wanna be reduced to being identified with your genitals? I bet if I use language that reduces you to being identified with your genitals, you’re gonna get mad.” You were answering a fool according to her folly in the Proverbs 26:5 sense. The WHI article was doing so in the Proverbs 26:4 sense. The use of such raw language does make me uncomfortable. But I cannot find, “Thou shalt not make Andrew uncomfortable,” anywhere in divine writ. Maybe it’s in The Message somewhere. I don’t know. Anyway I am now writing to tell you that I get it. The raw language was used to make a point. As I racked my brain for how I would make exactly the same point with “nice” words, I came up with exactly nothing. Bupkis. I just hope you realize that the feminists aren’t going to like you anymore.

Andrew

Andrew, thanks for thinking it through. And you got it exactly.


RE: That Lutheran Jezebel Lady—Hundreds of gallons of coffee, tea, and other beverages were just explosively spat onto computer screens, keyboards, and smartphones as unsuspecting readers of this post, leisurely sipping their libation, came to the sentence which begins: “They are shamelessly declaring . . .” Mercy-sakes-alive, Doug. I love ya, man, but sometimes being one of your followers is like going to a Tombstone AZ saloon with Johnny Ringo. I’m happy to ride in your gang and rob all the banks of godless post-modern culture, but sometimes your taste for verbal blood seems like it might get your co-belligerents into more trouble than they’d prefer. I’m grappling with what to make of your use of that less-than-clinical gynecological term. Perhaps a bit too much. Also, I might add that it is somewhat ambiguous as to whether you’re using that term to describe Bolz-Weber/Steinem or DeLong/Ventura. My level of outrage (which is tentatively negligible) hinges on that clarification. Nevertheless, I hope you signed the back of your driver’s license and elected to be an organ donor. God forbid something happen to you, but if it did, perhaps doctors could find a way to transplant your vertebrae into the frail backbones of as many American pastors as possible. Hope this makes the Tuesday mailbag. See you next Tuesday. In Christ,

Joe

Joe, my point was that in effect Steinem and Bolz-Weber had successfully reduced themselves to something that has a name, and that they wouldn’t like the name. I was not thinking of the WHI authors at all.


Other Parts of the Same Post

I love, love, love it when you write these little analogous satirical bits, where a consistent application is required for the humor to really rise to the top. Just excellent. When I read stuff like your “Golden Calf festival” or “Baal-Peor incident,” I break the 10th commandment for a nanosecond, only to remember that I can kick it on guitar, I can’t have it all, and practice make competent. I used to listen to their podcast on occasion, but “TWHI” has been abysmal for quite a while now. Now, we desperately need two easily-accessed phrases for description’s sake: One: for those internet combatants who come out swinging like Marciano, only to feign personal injury when countered, and Two: for those who marshal their troops expertly in order to engage no enemy at all (as the authors of this article did). “Passive/aggressive” doesn’t work for #1, and a mere “straw-man” doesn’t quite capture the essence of #2. I’ll wait . . . Blessings

Tim

Tim, thanks. And please remember, your guitar has helped me out on more than one occasion.


Great post. I and a few friends on Twitter refer to NBW et al. as “Impuritans.” Seems to capture their trajectory well.

NCF

NCF, thanks.


Chestertonian Phinehas, with a strong undertone of C.S. Michelin star worthy. Thank you. “The attempt [to marry heaven and hell] is based on the belief that reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable either-or; that, granted skill and patience and (above all) time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found; that mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil into good without our being called on for a final and total rejection of anything we should like to retain.” From the preface of The Great Divorce

Danielle

Danielle, thanks. And thanks also for the pertinent quote.


Thank you! Thank you so much for being a straight-shooter. I have been going out of my mind on this one, including being dumbfounded by the article being lauded to the skies in Christianity Today by Tish Warren Harrison (which sounds very much in the same vein as this White Horse Inn piece you cite). I could say that common sense is dead, but it is one thing for it to be killed by a reality-defiant, God-loathing society, but a whole other thing for the church at large to be advancing its mortification. I myself grew up in very conservative Christian circles but never was subjected to any sort of “purity culture,” but was taught self-respect and grace-empowered chastity. However, to tackle the superficiality and triteness of certain church fads, that can be heavy on law and light on grace (like purity culture), by “sharing concerns” with the likes of Bloz-Weber is like “sharing concerns” with Karl Marx over “church consumerism.” You do no service to the family of God (or simple rationality for that matter) by embracing the perversion of the enemy in service of your “concerns.” I am astounded and continue to be astounded by the thoughtless and ambiguous analysis of Christian writers who seem to have abandoned logic and principle together, but then are lauded as innovative and intelligent cultural commentators. Madness. Madness cloaked in obfuscation. As CS Lewis writes, “the most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones that are being argued, but the ones that are assumed.” I’m afraid we have now reached the point where our most basic assumptions are the most dangerous because they are not debated. And as you point out, an assumption that a Jezebel is not acting antithetical to the law of God is a very seductive assumption. Crikey indeed.

Kristen

Kristen, thank you for seeing so clearly.


Lutheran Jezebel: I stopped listening to, and supporting The White Horse Inn years ago. Michael Horton and his crew have been dipping deeper and deeper into the leftist trough.

Mark

Mark, yes. It turns out that convoluted theological reasoning is no protection against Robert Conquest’s second law of politics: “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”


Thank you for not buying into the premise that Bolz-Weber is a pastor. WHI was quick to call her such, and I don’t believe we should ever give her that title.

Timothy

Timothy, exactly so.


Hilarious and laser-focused as usual. Only publish this if you think it contributes something meaningful. Like you, (I think), I wouldn’t use the occasion of a Lutheran “pastor” offering up a golden vagina shrine to Gloria Steinem as the best time to critique purity culture. (I actually wonder if the vagina shrine was actually “pure” purity ring gold, or if they had to compromise by melting down peace symbols, pentagrams, and mood rings.) But . . . perhaps on another occasion, without the Steinem baggage, I’m guessing that some of your audience may have wrestled with Gothard style legalisms on the purity front—a struggle that highlights an interesting challenge in teaching teenagers: how to distinguish between the damage of sexual sin and the beauty of a “man with a maid.” When we scold a glutton for his behavior, we don’t curse the bread, but for, some at least, purity standards blemished both the sin and the bliss at the same time. That was never the intent, of course, but that’s the way some describe their experience. You may have addressed this elsewhere in your canon, and I missed it.

James

James, thank you. And yes, Christians who are legalistic about sex have caused no small difficulties, particularly for young people growing up in such a climate. I just don’t want to hear about it from the orgy organizers.


Contrasting Views on Vaccines

Regarding Vaccines: Here is a link to a chart of vaccines made from the aborted fetal cell lines vs those made from other sources: https://cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/vaccineListOrigFormat.pdf The biggest problems are the MMR and MMR-V shots which are made by Merck, mandatory in public schools and many universities, and are only available as produced from the aborted fetal cell lines. Here is an organization trying to educate folks about the dangers of aborted fetal cell line products: http://soundchoice.org/aborted-fetal-products/ My son had a severe reaction to the MMR-V shot. He experienced a low grade fever, abdominal pain (around the area of the abdominal lymph nodes), and extreme fatigue that began about 7 days after the shot and lasted for 5-6 weeks. He basically laid around, didn’t talk and was in pain the whole period. We had him tested for everything under the sun and none of the tests (ultrasounds, Krohn’s,, etc.) came back positive. When we tried to report this as a reaction to the shot, we were told that it could not have been caused by the shot. I wonder how much “data” is discarded in this way, thus reinforcing the “studies” that tell us the shots are safe.

Ginny

Ginny, thank you.


The concern many Christians have over how certain vaccines were developed using fetal tissue is genuine, and we should not repeat those mistakes. That said, the vaccines that were developed using fetal tissue (MMR, chickenpox, and Hep A primarily) were developed in the 1960’s, and the modern production of these vaccines does not use fetal tissue and has not for decades; in addition, no FDA-approved vaccines contain fetal tissue. I mostly see this concern raised by people who do not want to vaccinate at all. The history of these few vaccines gives them an excuse to throw out all vaccines, regardless of origin, which is disingenuous. This is behavior and thinking I do not think we should encourage.

David

David, thanks.


Re: Vaccines and aborted fetal cells. It is not accurate to say that vaccines use aborted fetal cells as an ingredient. Cell lines WI-38 and MRC-5 were developed using fetal tissue from babies that were aborted in the 1960’s. These cell lines are used as growth mediums to grow viruses for use in producing vaccines for Hepatitis A, Rubella, Chicken pox, and shingles (among others). In particular, the idea of refusing to vaccinate against Rubella because of this is hard to reconcile with being pro-life. The Catholic church has done a lot of homework for us on this issue. Links here and here.

Adam

Adam, thanks for the links.


Headship Question

The passage you quote in the blog post titled “Which Is Why We Are Here on the Bottom” sounds an awful lot like Natural/Seminal Headship. I assume from other blog posts of yours (although I cannot produce a specific quote) that you also hold to the Federal Headship of Adam. Would you agree that both views of Adam’s headship (and the resulting imputation of guilt from his sin) are correct and we need not choose between the two when attempting to explain/defend Original Sin? Thanks,

Steve

Steve, yes, I hold to both federal and natural headship—which helps explain why Jesus was entirely sinless.


Social Justice Blood

After hearing the sermon on Colossians 3, I was listening to the Westminster Confession of Funk on the Fight, Laugh, Feast Network. The podcast I was listening to from 2/27 is titled Thwarting the Blood Avenger. I was struck with how much the social justice language actually sounds like vengeance. The description of the constant cycle of blood vengeance in the ancient world and how impossible it was to find an end to it and how Christ swallowed it up in His victory on the cross reminded me of your sermon. It made me think that what is currently desired is not racial reconciliation but vengeance because there seems to be no end and no way to satisfy it. It has brought me much grief to think that the victory of Christ is being thrown away by many in the church.

Anna

Anna, yes. All these things tie together. Our stark choice is the blood of Christ, which puts an end to the bloodletting, or the blood of man, which of necessity perpetuates it.

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-BJ-
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-BJ-

People being in bad marriages is not an excuse to demote the institution. Your example is a false one. If a spouse repeatedly committed adultery, then under no definition of repentance is that genuine. You called it genuine, but it isn’t if it keeps happening. Genuine repentance doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean that repeated breaking of one of the ten commandments is off the table.

Plus, you didn’t address my challenge about Moses or the relationship between marriage and Christ loving the church. Your example is a non-sequitur.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Just saying his example is a false one doesn’t make it so. Let’s assume the adulterous spouse contracts an STD? Should the wronged spouse take them back?

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

His example is false, because it assumes that he has shown an example that disproves my point. Yet, I said very clearly that the repentance must be genuine and verifiably so, and the example he gave is such an obvious example of false repentance that you could hardly find a better one.

The STD issue is more complicated, because it precludes (or probably does, anyway) the ability for a man to satisfy is responsible for providing his wife her conjugal rights. Different situation.

Robert
Guest
Robert

The point has nothing to do with conjugal visits, but her safety. Should she reconcile with someone who could infect her?

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Of course it is about her safety. He can’t be a husband anymore without threatening her life, so no in that case I think divorce could be an option, because the consequences of his sin are ongoing and affect their ability to be married.

Jill Smith
Member

I think only HIV would be a major concern. That would be a deal-breaker for me. For me, one of the worst parts of my former husband’s adulteries was having, at the age of just about 60, to go to a VD clinic and be tested for every conceivable STD. Perhaps a younger woman might have found this less shaming, but I found it very hard to handle. It wouldn’t have prevented reconciliation if there had been penitence, but I would have had to struggle hard never to think about it.

John
Member

With the exception of AIDS there aren’t many instances of VD that modern medicine can’t remedy.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Herpes

Jane
Member

But is that relevant? Is it less significant for a man to give his wife a disease that could kill her because if you have access to good medical care, it probably won’t? I’m sure you’re not suggesting that it is, I’m just wondering what the relevance of treatability is to any of this. Giving your wife a deadly disease is a crime of a certain order; I’m not sure the nature of it changes due to the discovery of antibiotics. Nor, do I believe, does it change the nature of the question of what measures a wife can and… Read more »

Jane
Member

Or wife to husband, of course, I was only sticking with the situation as already given in the conversation.

lndighost
Member

BJ, a few questions. I can’t quite get a handle on your position. You mentioned ‘verifiable repentance’. How is any repentance humanly verifiable? Don’t you think that even in the most chest-beating, garment-rending display, there is still an element of trust that has to go in to accepting it as genuine? And why do you view speaking of office in the marriage covenant as a reduction? Offices can be high or lowly, but there’s no suggestion that being a husband is a ‘mere’ office. Nothing mere about it. You might remember a couple of months ago there was some discussion… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Indighost, Although you suggest the possibility that an unfaithful wife might be treated differently than an unfaithful husband, I cannot find (after careful reading) any suggestion that an unfaithful wife make any changes or even be held responsible for her sin. All I see is a focus on how the husband should behave, especially when he is the unfaithful one. Unfortunately, that seems to be in line with the general attitude that men are usually at fault, and, even when a woman is at fault, the husband is still responsible for her sin and expected to overlook it, with or… Read more »

lndighost
Member

OKR, not at all. In the current climate, I understand sensitivity to the ‘everything is the man’s fault’ paradigm. Far be it from me to excuse a wife from full responsibility for her own sin. I was talking about unfaithful husbands because that was (originally) the subject; but then I pasted my remarks away from their context, so there’s that.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

“How is any repentance humanly verifiable?” They stop doing it. They stop doing it forever. They show that they are sorry, most importantly by never doing it again and publicly changing all the habits that led to it in the first place. They open themselves up to inspection in all possible areas of secrecy. I would caution you in going down this road of thinking, because if you go to much further, you would basically be ruling out any possibility of genuine repentance. Every example would become suspect. “And why do you view speaking of office in the marriage covenant… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

-BJ-, “How is any repentance humanly verifiable?” ‘They stop doing it. They stop doing it forever. …’ I am dumbfounded, most especially at “forever”. On that basis, we can never know that the repentance was genuine until that person dies. This brings up a question that has bothered me for some time. How can a Christian insist that repentance is only genuine if the sin is never repeated? Those familiar with recovery programs like AA know that relapse is always possible no matter how great their repentance, and the goal timeline is “one day at a time”. I see that… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

OKR, I’m struggling a bit with this because adultery is not something you slip into almost against your will, the way you might be tempted to look at a porn pop-up on your computer or take a drink when you know you shouldn’t. If we expect a forgiving spouse to also be willing to forgive future lapses, we are making it much harder for him or her to decide to reconcile. Who would sign on to go through that misery twice? For adultery to be analogous to alcoholism, it would have to be something like a sex addiction. That’s something… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Jill, I think adultery, though it can never be excused as frailty, can sometimes be something a person more or less slips into, given a perfect storm of circumstances that were not planned. However, no one slips into an ongoing “affair”, or multiple partners.

OKRickety
Member

Jill,

I’m not so sure that adultery is as premeditated as you imply, not in this day and age, but an ongoing affair is a different story.

In all cases, there is a difference between a one-time relapse and an ongoing relapse. But I agree that adultery is a grievous offense so the possibility of relapse is significant. I suspect that is part of the reason that, as I understand it, Jesus allowed divorce for that reason.

Jill Smith
Member

You’re probably right, and this is probably something I just don’t understand. For me, being unimpulsive and slow to decide even if I want to go for lunch with the girls, it’s hard to fathom that anyone would break his or her wedding vows without serious thought. I would be much more inclined to forgive a one-night stand than an ongoing affair. As the cliches tell us, it’s the deception that’s hard to get over. But a string of one-night stands would make me feel the necessary respect for a man’s judgment and impulse control.

lndighost
Member

BJ, thanks for the response and for your caution. Cynicism and suspicion are indeed ugly traits; but in gauging repentance we are, of necessity, judging the state of the inside by the behaviour of the outside. Further, in a restoration scenario we have to decide whether repentance is genuine based on a timeline much shorter than ‘forever’. Love should give the benefit of the doubt, and wisdom should seek to remove the doubt. Wise as serpents and innocent as doves, etc. The restoration process is what interests me, rather than letter-of-the-law arguments about whether a divorce is permissible in this… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

BJ,

Thanks for taking the time to lay out your view. Doug brought up 70 x 7 in anticipation of your comments. Doug seems to believe that Christ is saying that, if someone asks forgiveness and states their repentence we must forgive them. We muat accept that their repentence is real and we shouldn’t worry about “verifying” (which could easily go down a legalistic penance mongering hole).

Do you think Jesus is saying something different here? Or that it doesn’t apply to this type of repentenece and forgivenenss?

Jill Smith
Member

That’s an interesting point. I don’t think an attitude of overt vigilance could sustain a reconstituted marriage after an affair. Nobody likes to feel checked up on, and the attitude wakens rebelliousness in most people. But, if I were the guilty spouse, I would think that complete transparency was an essential element of my return. If I weren’t willing to be candid about my phone calls or late hours, I would think that maybe I wasn’t really all that penitent.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Demo,

Short on time, so I can respond more thoroughly later.

Your concern about the legalistic penance hole is valid and real. But, ministers have to make these judgements all the time in order to fence the Supper. This situation is simply a varient of that practice.

OKRickety
Member

-BJ-, “To argue that a spouse can still divorce even after genuine and verifiable repentance reduces marriage to something far below the biblical scale. … Marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church, not a yarn shop employee. … True forgiveness will inevitably lead to true reconciliation, else our forgiveness in Christ would be insufficient.” While I agree that divorce should be rare and the goal of counseling married couples should always be a reconciliation and reaching for the goal of following the pattern of Christ and the Church, I do not agree that allowing divorce for porneia  even… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

“In fact, I would argue that divorce shows another aspect of the relationship between Christ and the Church, the fact that it can be broken.” Perhaps we have different theological views on the relationship between Christ and the church, but I don’t hold the view that the relationship between Christ and the church can be broken. “The other, more serious, concern I have is your statement that “True forgiveness will inevitably lead to true reconciliation, else our forgiveness in Christ would be insufficient.” This is not an equivalent comparison.” I am holding the comparison, because when Christ forgives us, He… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

-BJ-,

To clarify, I believe the relationship between Christ and individuals (who make up the church) can be broken, but not the one between Christ and the Church.

As to reconciliation, I agree the Christian’s relationship to God is indeed full reconciliation. However, I reject the notion that human marriage must exactly mirror the marriage of Christ and the Church, and thus reconciliation must occur when the adulterous spouse truly repents (but I very much believe such reconciliation is the ideal).

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Take that disagreement up with Paul and Moses. You are disagreeing with them, not me.

OKRickety
Member

-BJ-,

Well, I don’t see that I am disagreeing with them. In fact, although I have absolutely no concern for what Moses might think, I do rather feel a kinship with Paul who says:

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” [1 Cor. 13:12 NASB]

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

BJ, Do you think a Christian ever has a need to confess sin to God? Ask that sin be forgiven? Does sin *in no sense* alienate the Christian from God? In no way affect the Christian’s relationship with God? Not rhetorical; actual questions. I might be mis-reading your, but if your answer to all of the above is “No” we might be reading scripture differently. To use the marriage analogy, a couple might be quarreling; not speaking and avoiding one another, even physically separated, in which case there is in practice no relationship pending reconciliation, yet that alone will never… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins. That is in 1 John somewhere. The reason there is so little joy in so many Christians’ lives is that they haven’t confessed a sin since they were saved. Until you confess your sins, there will be little joy in your life.

Mike Metokur
Member

Divorce is *never* permitted, and even it is were, remarriage is never permitted. “Divorce” seems to be the termination of an engagement, eg. Mary and Joseph. But suppose you disagree. Fine. You still cannot exegete not being “bound” as a reference to freedom to remarry. If a man divorces his wife (that is, he is the one in the wrong, she is the one who is a victim of a divorce), he makes *her* commit adultery (Matthew 5:32). Even though she is required to let her husband leave — this is the meaning of not being “bound” to fight him,… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

Regarding 1 Cor 7:15, I think you can exegete not being bound as freedom to remarry. Is that the verse you are addressing in your comment? If not, what would you say to that?

Mike Metokur
Member

That is indeed the passage I had in mind, but you have not demonstrated how it could be exegeted to refer to freedom to remarry. The context is quite clearly *entirely* about divorce, not about remarriage, and the explanation given for why you are not bound is clearly making “not bound” about divorce: “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever divorces his wife makes her commit adultery. Even in the… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

First. I have not yet attempted to demonstrate an exegesis of the passage yet since it would seem a fool’s errand to do so if you had intended a different passage. I will do so momentarily. An aside: I believe we will fail to come to an agreement here, that we must end up agreeing to disagree. I am ok with that at this point. But I will say first that I agree entirely with your argument regarding divorce, EXCEPT for a de-factor or legal divorce that is the result of an unbelieving spouse abandoning a believing spouse because the… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Mike Metokur, at the risk of being found out to be somewhat the smart aleck, I have to point out that your name (Mike) coupled with an avatar that appears to be a lady with her hair up, lipstick, and an earring, does nothing to give one cause to seriously consider your view of any marriage issues.

Mike Metokur
Member

First, it is frankly stupid to be dismissive of someone’s articulated argument because of their avatar. You would have no grounds for being so dismissive even if Alexandria Occasional Cortex were the one making the argument. Second, the avatar is used so that my wife who shares the associated account with me can have a girl as her avater in mobile apps and such. Third, your name is soylent. Are you a soyboy, or do you promote eating humans? Or are you into those hipster fad soylent-like products? Either way, it does nothing to give me cause to seriously consider… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“Third, your name is soylent. Are you a soyboy, or do you promote eating humans? Or are you into those hipster fad soylent-like products?” I don’t want to get in the middle of this spat (hopefully it’s over), but I have to credit Mike for a snappy, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” retort. I had the same reaction when I saw his name and avatar. Then again, Soylent Green is only a few years away (2022), and some aggressive vegan, Green New Deal types might require it to live in their socialist paradise. Let’s all… Read more »

Jane
Member

Nor if you assume your own conclusions about the reality of marriage that stays in place regardless.

Mike Metokur
Member

I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here. Could you clarify?

Jane
Member

That’s actually (John) O’Sullivan’s Law, about right wing and left wing organizations. But I see it also listed among Conquest’s laws. Perhaps Conquest took O’Sulivan’s principle and included it in his larger list?

bethyada
Member

Doug’s post on adultery and divorce was very good (other than what I consider an incorrect interpretation of David’s psalm). Matthew writes: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” This suggests that adultery is a reason for divorce. To take an approach that says we cannot divorce if the other person is a Christian and repents seems to take a position more hard line than Jesus. I do think that the situation is a lot more complicated because there is a context Jesus is speaking into, and to… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

bethyada, “To take an approach that says we cannot divorce if the other person is a Christian and repents seems to take a position more hard line than Jesus.” I believe this is also true about insisting that Christians must forgive others of sinning against us without repentance, but God requires repentance before forgiving sin. That position requires more of us than God. “The other issue relates to refusal of sex. A wife refusing sex to her husband, or seldom agreeing with much spurning does not justify his adultery. But it is worth noting that her actions are fraudulent.” I… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

OKR, while I think we’ve done the song and dance surrounding obligatory forgiveness before, I think the difference here lies in the definitions. My impression, and do correct the impression if it is incorrect, is that you see forgiveness as inherently including ignoring that the sin ever took place. Many who profess obligatory forgiveness, including myself, use the word in a much narrower way. Forgiveness is not to be confused with erasing ramifications. Forgiveness deals with, primarily, the mental and spiritual attitudes of the one doing the forgiving. You forgive your neighbor who steals from you. You hold no grudge… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Justin, I do not see forgiveness as removing any consequences. I believe there is a distinction between an attitude of being ready to forgive and forgiveness itself. Unfortunately, the English language does not have a simple word for the former concept. I like this analogy: Offering forgiveness is like wrapping a gift and putting it under the tree, but receiving forgiveness requires the recipient to open the gift. Forgiveness does not occur until it is received. On the contrary, the world generally and the majority of the church believes that offering forgiveness  is forgiveness. That’s not true. God offers forgiveness… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

With respect, I don’t think your interpretation of Luke holds together grammatically. Interestingly enough, Bonhoeffer’s statement offers the same the gap. Luke gives a circumstance in which you must forgive. It does not establish this as the *only* circumstance in which you must forgive. It doesn’t in any way establish repentance as a fundamental requirement. If I said to you “If your child cleans their room, give them a cookie.” Is that a statement establishing that you must only give them a cookie after they’ve cleaned their room? Bonhoeffer’s statement alters dramatically depending on how you read into the word… Read more »

bethyada
Member

OKR, agreed, it is sin. But it is a species of fraud.

Jill Smith
Member

I am always a bit troubled about marriage counseling that explores the responsibility of both spouses for the adultery, even when it is carefully couched as not casting blame on the innocent party. In practice, that is almost impossible to avoid. It also assumes that adulterous people can be trusted to be honest about their own character defects and clear-sighted about what led them to stray. Doug mentions lack of perceived love for women, and lack of perceived respect for men. Sure, but there’s also a lot of adultery due to unworthy motives such as: Our sex life was boring… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think Doug would generally agree with you. And I am certain that there are situations where he would say that there is minimum blame on the innocent party—all things considered.

I do think there is the potential problem of not wanting to address the innocent (of adultery) person’s sin in marriage because they are the victim.

I think there are many cases where people would ask what was he doing to leave her for another.

And there are probably a few where people are surprised he managed to last so long.

Jill Smith
Member

My own dear one dispelled all speculation by telling all inquirers that my general agreeableness got dull after twenty years. He was surprised at their lack of sympathy! I take wicked delight that his current girlfriend has rages, sometimes in public, and throws things at him. But, serious issues should be addressed. Things like chronic bad temper, nastiness, belittling comments, and so on. I think what I was referring to earlier was things that the person simply can’t change. Like not having the body of a 20-year-old, or not being as funny as the new guy at work. I suppose… Read more »

adad0
Member

Jilly, my personal experience to all of these comment questions boils down to ” trust and obey” God and His Word. When my Significant other was under the influence of Lundy Bancroft, she “withheld” for 22 months! I “toughed it out” because divorce would have been worse for every one, and I don’t believe she was with anyone else. The best part on my story is, that after all that “trusting” and all that “obeying”, my autistic son spoke to my wife in the prophetic voice, “Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord, trust in… Read more »

adad0
Member

Re-earn. ????

OKRickety
Member

adad0,

Hope things are going well. I just found out that my employment contract is ending at the end of this month. So things are going to be changing at least in that regard.

As a Member, you should be able to edit your own posts, allowing you to make corrections such as “Re-earn”. Admittedly, there are times the edit function seems to be unavailable, which I suppose is a computer glitch of sorts.

adad0
Member

Rick, hope things work out well in your work life!
Thanks for the edit advice. My first error was so bad, that I thought I would leave it in for humor value!
The family situation is at least not getting worse. Still trying to get some Federal Justice re: the related church supported false accusations. ????????

lndighost
Member

Adad, your trust muscles must be very strong. Supernaturally enhanced, even.

adad0
Member

Well, I am trusting God……far more than anyone else! Hosea and Job had it far worse than I did, and they stuck to their guns so to speak, when things looked grim in the short term. At the time, I was under spiritual attack, for speaking truth to the New England evangelical establishment. They literally sued me,….. And lost!???? I also was not about to let “darkness” take my family, without putting up the best albeit quiet fight that I could. Then, having my not very verbal autistic son, speak in the Prophetic voice, loudly, to my wife, was the… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jill,

I think the second part of bethyada’s comment 222526 and my response address your concern.

JP Stewart
Member

“I am always a bit troubled about marriage counseling that explores the responsibility of both spouses for the adultery”

Even if one spouse has refused to have sex for years? I’m not saying that justifies adultery, but both parties definitely bear responsibility in that (and other) cases.

Jill Smith
Member

The innocent party’s refusal to have sex would clearly have to be addressed in any counseling. In fact, if the marriage is to be restored, there would have to be a mutual understanding about this. I was thinking more along the lines of “I”m just not into him (or her) these days” being used to club the innocent party. I have heard adulterous women use this as an excuse, and if they want to return home, counseling shouldn’t consist of telling the wronged husbands they need to lift weights and get back into shape. But a sexless marriage bespeaks any… Read more »

adad0
Member

Well Jilly, the point our host often makes, is that God has offered direct counsel on a number of issues, and on marital intimate relations in particular: 1 Corinthians 7 7 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“But a sexless marriage bespeaks any number of potentially serious problems–sometimes medical, sometimes the hormonal fluctuations of later middle age, sometimes medication-related) that counseling (and a good doctor) should address if there is to be any hope of saving it.”

And sometimes nothing medical at all–just an angry spouse who doesn’t “feel” right having sex…and uses it as a weapon (of course, it’s a very ineffective and disastrous weapon in the long-term).

Jill Smith
Member

Yes, it is. But to keep it up for years on end would mean a spouse was chronically angry and undoubtedly hard to live with in other ways as well. Living with someone who clearly wants no part of you must be dreadful.

lndighost
Member

I think it’s important to emphasise that each spouse is 100% responsible for their _own_ sin. Otherwise it so easily comes down to, ‘Well, he started it,’ or ‘She drove me to it’. The unfaithful spouse is 100% responsible for cheating, and probably lying too. The other spouse might be responsible for refusing, taking for granted, unkindness, badmouthing to friends, or being too stingy with the housekeeping allowance, and they should admit to being 100% responsible for whatever they are guilty of. But I don’t think these things should be addressed at the same time, or as if they were… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

I agree with you, Indighost. I think what can profitably addressed in counseling is the whole issue of secret keeping, especially around areas of conflict and resentment. If I am pretending not to mind something for the sake of keeping the peace, that only works if I can genuinely learn not to mind it. In my own marriage, we were cooing “Anything you say, sugarplum” and “You bet, bunny rabbit” right up to the day he walked out the door. That worked for me because of course I would rather give in than face a conflict, and I never stopped… Read more »

lndighost
Member

You are so right; a healthy marriage needs frankness. Do you think pretending not to mind can teach one to genuinely not mind? I know from experience that pretending to be cheerful can make you feel cheerful. But of course some things should be minded. People are creatures of extremes, aren’t they? We almost never apportion ourselves the right amount of blame. Some people blame themselves for others’ failings, and some won’t even carry the can for their own failings. And when one of the former marries one of the latter, it’s a recipe for disaster. A good counsellor would… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

I think that pretending not to mind when you really do is a hard thing to pull off. Most people give themselves away by over-reacting to something else! But I think we can make a conscious decision to let the flicker of irritation happen and then let it go. For example, my former husband invariably kept me waiting because he always had to check his email before leaving the house. It might be ten minutes, it might be an hour. I knew there was no realistic prospect of my changing his habits, and my mounting annoyance ;was distressing only to… Read more »

lndighost
Member

It is hard. I agree about the danger zone too. Honesty and tact need to be closely wedded! I went into marriage with a very imperfect idea of effective communication. My lovely husband retrained me completely without realising. Hints would not be picked up. Silent fuming would pass unnoticed. If I said ‘Fine’, he had the nerve to presume that I really meant ‘Fine’. There was nothing for it but to behave like a rational human being and be upfront about things. That way I could offer suggestions to him too, such as to switch out ‘Honestly I think the… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Actually, if it were a question, the honest answer would more typically be “Huh? I don’t think much of anything about the dress one way or another”. Which is the equivalent to “Fine”, except really meaning it, which is likely to be equally ill-received. Sigh.

Jane
Member

Then the issue goes beyond honesty, to cultivating the ability to help your wife feel that her appearance is pleasing and her efforts to present herself in a pleasing way are rewarded. Honesty is the bottom line but it’s not the only thing; you haven’t necessarily done all you ought simply by being honest.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

But…who is she trying to please anyway? If it’s her husband, whatever dress she is wearing probably matters less than she thinks. Thankfully my own wife just pretty much dresses the way that suits herself, and I’m plenty happy with her.

Jane
Member

That’s reasonable, but “I don’t care what you wear” may be overlooking a part of the feminine nature that is worth appreciating, and that she needs you to appreciate. Not that you said this, but, “It’s all the same to me whether you wear a grubby sack or a dress that flatters your God-given attributes” is an extreme version of it, but “I’m happy with whatever” might be failing to appreciate a part of her character that reveals itself in caring (to a reasonable degree) about how she looks, and that’s a natural part of being female.

Katecho
Member

And a husband telling her that she looks beautiful isn’t mere information, it is food for the wife. If he isn’t going to feed her with such compliments and expressions of satisfaction, what will the husband feed her with that’s true food for her?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Right, but that doesn’t need to wait until she’s wearing a new dress.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Well, certainly a woman ought to wear clean clothes in public and keep her hair neat. I guess I care that much. I’m kinda anti-spandex too, and I frown on public nudity, including virtual. If she dresses like a lumberjack it’d better be because she’s cutting down a tree. Is it important to a woman that her man has opinions about her proper appearance?

Jane
Member

Yes, I believe it is, for most women. At least, you might want to find out whether it is, to your wife. :-)

OKRickety
Member

lndighost said: “I think it’s important to emphasise that each spouse is 100% responsible for their _own_ sin. … But I don’t think these things should be addressed at the same time, or as if they were all contributing causes to the infidelity.” While I know there is a general distaste for the idea of addressing the faithful spouse’s behavior as part of resultant marriage counseling, I believe the cause is our tendency to use zero-sum thinking for the adultery. That is, thinking any recognition of failure by the faithful spouse must result in a reduction of the culpability of… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member

As a note of personal responsibility in returning to the site, I need to address the last post I made before I left. I had made some pretty significant criticisms aimed at Jonathan, and promised that if in my research into old pages I could not prove it, I would retract the statement. Then life happened and I’ve been gone for four months or whatever its been now. At any rate, what I found was that the primary basis of my criticism was that I was misremembering a series of comments as being his. He did seems to endorse that… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Justin,

I appreciate your willingness to apologize (confess and repent?) to Jonathan. I expect Jonathan would, too.

For what it’s worth, Jonathan has not posted for quite some time. I think his last appearance was extremely lengthy (that should not surprise you) over two or three weeks. Although he had interesting ideas, I do not miss his overly long rants trying to support them.

JP Stewart
Member

And when you set aside the verbosity, the vast majority of his ideas are from Woke SJ 101 class, with a couple of worn-out tactics to defend them (“that’s ad hominem!,” “you can’t understand the mind states of people you accuse (though I can delve into the psyche of DW or anyone else I deem racist/sexist/etc,” “here are my unbiased (but actually very biased) sources that are practically irrefutable.”).

Justin Parris
Member

Which is likely why my brain attributed the comments to him, when it was actually a rare and infrequent commenter who sounded like him. Though it would seem somewhat impolite to continue to criticize Jonathan in the thread below my apology for inaccurately criticizing him.