Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Permanency of a Christian Marriage

Pastor Jordan Hall hosts The Polemics Report podcast.  On September 7, 2016, he aired a podcast titled "Kent Hovind Gets Hitched" and aired another podcast on September 15, 2016, titled "Ecclesiastical Anarchists".  Both podcasts addressed the subject of the permanency of Christian marriage.  I've included my notes for these podcasts below (slightly edited for grammar and flow) because Pastor Hall's comments are greatly needed in today's Christian churches.  As a Christian, I do not believe in divorce except where the Bible explicitly allows it.  However, I never thought about the subject of remarriage from a biblical perspective as presented by Pastor Hall.  His comments have really shown the importance of marriage from a Gospel perspective and how Christians should not take their marriage vow lightly; which only makes sense given that the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is head of the church (Eph. 5:23) and husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25).

My notes from Pastor Hall's September 7th podcast (~57:45):
"A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. The permanency view of marriage says that divorce is forbidden and there's no remarriage; a second form of this view is that divorce is allowed, but still no remarriage. The permissive view allows for divorce and remarriage.

Scripture has certain grounds for divorce. God gave one explicit grounds of divorce to Moses. Another one is in 1 Cor. 7; if the unbelieving spouse seeks to leave, you don't have to seek to get them back. One implied ground is abuse because of a biblical right of self-defense and safety for your family. Even if there's grounds for divorce, it doesn't necessitate remarriage being biblical. It's a life of singleness. However, the Gospel can change people.

An elder must be the husband of one wife. Is that one at a time, addressing polygamy? No, polygamy wasn't a thing [in the time of Paul's writing]; it's referring to divorce. We aren't pragmatists. If his first wife is still living, and he gets remarried, then he has two wives; that is the permanency or semi-permanency view of marriage. If both spouses are Christians, then in God's eyes they are still married, even if they are divorced. The Gospel can reconcile a sinner to a holy God, then it can also reconcile two sinners. Christians need to look at all issues through a biblical perspective."

Pastor Hall's comments were cut short in the previous podcast, so he finished his story and expounded his views on the next podcast.  Here are my notes from his September 15th podcast (~17:30):

"A Christian's view should be the permanency or semi-permanency view of marriage; not the permissive view of marriage where anyone can divorce and anyone can be remarried.

Let's say divorce is permitted or allowed under certain circumstances, it does not mean divorce has to happen. Biblical advice for divorce and remarriage should uphold and propagate the Gospel. In terms of marriage, if the Gospel can reconcile a sinner a God, the Gospel ought to be able to reconcile two sinners together.

In the semi-permanency view, there are individual circumstances in which remarriage can be biblical, but outside those circumstances remarriage is strictly forbidden. In the full permanency view, divorce is never permissible.

In Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Genesis 2, we see that God is bringing something together in marriage; it is something God is doing. Since God is doing it, we shouldn't be putting it asunder. So man leaves his father's house and he cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. The first principle is that in marriage two become one flesh. How do you "unbecome" one flesh?

Matthew 5:32 implies that the woman remarries because that is the context found in the second half of that verse--anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. If the woman is divorced and a man marries her, he commits adultery. Why? Because they [the original spouses] are still one flesh. The only way to make verse 32 make sense, is recognizing that the adultery of the divorced woman implies the remarriage of the divorced woman when her first husband is still alive. If a divorced woman's first husband lives and a second man marries her, she commits adultery and he commits adultery.  The only exception is fornication in regards to the divorce and the remarriage .

A second exception is found 1 Cor. 7:15 when the unbelieving spouse separates, let it be so. Let the unbelieving spouse divorce, but it doesn't mean that you have to divorce. A Christian can not divorce an unbelieving spouse because they are an unbeliever. The unbeliever must file for divorce. If he/she wants to reconcile, the Christian must take them back.

There is a basic right of self-defense and a responsibility to protect one's children. In the case of spousal or child abuse there is an implicit right in the Bible for divorce.

Two believers have no right to divorce without adultery involved. When one or both parties are divorced, there's no right to remarry for two individuals who are professing Christians because under the Gospel they should be reconciling at some point and in some time with their first marriage partner. Why not? How terrible does that make the Gospel look?

If you are a Christian man in a difficult marriage with a believing wife and no one has committed adultery, but you still get divorced, then you need to get use to being celibate. If you want to have physical relations again, then you might want to work on your marriage. There's no biblical allowance for remarriage to another woman; this would be polygamy. Because of what the Bible says, Christians have to be willing to be in their marriage for the long-haul.  They have to remain faithful to their spouse even though they want separation.  This allows the Christian in Christ through the Gospel to demonstrate for the world the type of love and affection that the Bride of Christ and Christ Himself have for one another. Satisfaction is found in Christ, not in the opposite sex.

What the Bible says about marriage and remarriage is abundantly clear. There are a few pieces of nuance that we have to interpret carefully. Please do so under the guidance of your elders and your pastors, but it's really not that complicated. When the vows say until death do we part, that is a citation that comes from the Holy Scripture."

"It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I [Jesus] say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery," (Matt. 5:31-32).

"For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man," (Rom. 7:2-3).