Friday, August 29, 2014

The Frigid Spouse

Having just spilled much ink on the Death of Desire we now turn to the 'death of a vow'.  Or to the 'violation of a vow' at the very least.  A matter of considerably more import.  A matter that is much more prevalent.  And a matter with greater consequences.

IOW, having spilled much ink on the 'frozen eunuch', we will now spill some ink on the 'frigid spouse'.  But not a lot of ink.  Unlike the silent majority, I have spilled plenty on this topic in the past.

So we now turn from the eunuch who cannot be married- to the frigid spouse who may be better off  unmarried.  We turn from those who cannot be One Flesh- to those who often prefer not to be One Flesh.

To use the Pauline euphemism,  from those who cannot "touch" to those who often wish not to be "touched".

To belabor the point, we now turn from the physically impaired to the spiritually impaired.  From the disabled to the dreadfully disobedient.  From the sick to the selfishly sinful.

And it seems that many people would take issue with that final distinction.  It seems that I have to buttress my point about 'depriving a spouse being a sin'.
It seems that few folks will use that word in this respect. Few folks will use the "s" word when speaking of disrespecting a vow.

Folks like those in the recent outing of a frigid spouse in Elle.  A matter brought to my attention by a recent link to Lindsay's Logic.  A matter well discussed by the outspoken and logical Lindsay.
And a matter well discussed by the far more outspoken Dalrock (H.T. Nate).  But not even they, nor the comments on their blogs use the "s" word in this respect.

It seems that many sensibilities have been seared in this Age of Autonomy.  In this Age of Entitlement.  In this Age of Niceties. This age where few would call a sin "a sin".

Yet we clearly know that this 'depriving' violates their Marriage Vow.  A vow that was made in good faith.  And that breaking or even "delaying a vow" is a sin (Deut. 23:21).

Typically, this vow was to "have and to hold" in perpetuity (we are not talking about holding hands here, children).  To have and to hold in "sickness and in health".  In good and bad hair days.  In smelling good or smelling bad days (Job 19:17). 

Indeed, this vow was made with the delightful understanding of 'coming together' when the desire of either one of the partners was present. Whether significant interest of the 'significant other' was present or not.

Yet, was this vow truly upheld in spirit? Was there true mutual submission there?  Or is this submission clouded with superficial excuses?

Instead, we see in that Elle 'spreadsheet' many other excuses.  Excuses that clearly don't fly with the spirit of that vow.  Sinful excuses.
Excuses that may lead the 'less significant other' to pornography or adultery- 1 Cor. 7:5.  But more so, may lead the 'less submissive other' to far greater judgement.

And instead,we see in Lindsay's Logic- comments that evade her coherent logic. And even one fantastical comment that denies that 'one might have a valid desire when the significant other might not'.  IOW, that 'desire must be mutual or that desire doesn't exist'!

As well, we see other comments that  reflect the prevalent 'my body is my own' mentality (with the attendant comment that 'my wife's body is her own'). Comments that continue to reflect that old Edenic desire for autonomy. Comments that reflect a mentality quite contrary to the Marriage Vow.

Regardless, even if we don't grant that this 'non-depriving mentality' was intrinsic in the Marriage Vow- can we grant something else?  Can we grant the Golden Rule here?  A rule that seems universal?  Can we universally grant that 'we wouldn't want to be deprived in that very same way'?

But this is a Christian blog right? A blog where the Bible is our benchmark.

So what about our benchmark to 'love our neighbor as ourselves' (Lev. 19:18, Matthew 19:19)?  Yet this spousal love is an even greater love that is mandated.  Just as Christ shows a far greater love to his bride.

Indeed, Christians grant something greater.  We grant that the Marriage Vow is a model of our vow with Christ, right (Ephesians 5:22-33)? 

So, dear reader,  I am imagining a heavenly marriage in which we were to respond with a similar lack of passion towards Christ.  A similar disdain for intimacy.  A similar frigidity.  What sort of offense would Christ take at this frigidity?  And what would our frigidity look like in Heaven?

But am I just imagining things here, folks?  Won't that previous frigidity of ours be retained to some degree in Heaven? And  won't our intimacy with our heavenly spouse, be somewhat of a reflection of our intimacy with our earthly spouse?

And will the King not say unto those depriving their spouses, 'As you did not do it for your spouse, you did not do it for me' (cf. Matthew 25:40, 45)?
Or do you think that our previous frigidity will be completely obliterated in our future intimacy with Christ?  Do you think that our previous lack of compassion will bear no reflection on our future glory?

Those are things that I am considering, as I prepare to record a highly recommended sermon by Jonathan Edwards.  As I prepare to recite a highly evangelistic sermon for my evangelical blog.  A sermon that speaks of the "immense intimacy" that the saints will share with their heavenly spouse. 

An "immensity" that Edwards concedes will be commensurate with our "capabilities" (a far larger category than our mere "abilities").  An "immensity" that will be suitably commensurate with our earthly 'spreadsheet'.

An "immensity" that will be commensurate with how well we 'spread the sheets' for our earthly spouse- Col. 3:23.









Tuesday, July 1, 2014

More Death of Desire- pt. 3

Finally, we get to the final category that Jesus addresses in Matthew 19:12.  He addresses "those that make eunuchs of themselves".

Now as strange as it seems, many folks do make eunuchs of themselves. Many folks castrate themselves in an effort to achieve an alleged "eunuch calm".  Many folks are averse to their design for intimacy.

Some physically castrate themselves because they don't like being influenced by their design.  And some psychologically castrate themselves because they believe that celibacy is their holy calling... but I don't think that Jesus is talking about the psycho's here.

We see Paul make reference to physical castration in Galatians 5:12. As shown in previous posts, we often see physical castration in ancient times as well as in current times. We see physical castration in the secular community- as well as in the Christian community.  In the wise and in the foolish Galatians.  

As cases in point, we may see that the secular-Alan Turing castrated himself in recent times.  And we may see that the Christian-Origen castrated himself in ancient times.  Jews weren't quite that foolish.

As regards Origen, I believe that his linguistic genius failed him- in taking Matthew 18:9 a little too literally (rather than Matthew 19:12 as often suggested). Yet, I don't think that most theologians (not even Calvin) take Jesus quite literal enough on our text in question.

Not literal enough- when most interpreters would presume that Jesus is suddenly talking of a 'divine call to celibacy'.  Would presume that Jesus is suddenly talking of a type of martyrdom that many missionaries and priests are flattered to identify with.  A martyrdom of intimacy.  A death of desire.

Yet, I don't think that Jesus is abruptly switching senses here.  I don't think that Jesus is suddenly switching from a literal sense to an allegorical sense.  From a physical sense to a spiritual sense.  From a sense of castration to a sense of celibacy.

That seems too utilitarian.  Too facetious.  Too obscure of Jesus.

After all, Jesus is repeatedly telling folks there to "accept" their lot in life.  To "accept" their physical design at birth. To  "accept" their physical fate in war.  And finally, telling those struggling with intimacy to "accept" their design for physical intimacy

It puzzles me to think that Jesus would even bother telling those already committed to being psycho eunuchs to "accept" their psychosis. Would it be just to comfort those questioning their commitment to celibacy?

And in retrospect, just how many Christian priests and missionaries ("for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven") would Christ be actually comforting at that time anyway?  John the Baptist had already lost his head.  Was Jesus just preaching to His choir?

Not only that, but from that text we see that it is men that are making "themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven" in this category.  Quite contrary to God who was previously shown to be making eunuchs.  Quite contrary to Christ who was making disciples.

Yet somehow we see the more obscure interpretations that they are rightly appointing for themselves a ministry rather then God.  That sort of autonomy is quite contrary to the divine appointing and anointing that this blogger believes in.  Something is not right there.

Rather, I see Jesus mocking such misguided people in this verse. I see Jesus mocking the ascetics with their misguided piety. Mocking those that think by "the means of the philosophy of ascetic practice and contemplation, the intellect is purified, illuminated and made perfect".

Jesus is mocking people so dull as to believe that literal celibacy (or literal circumcision as was the case of the "foolish Galatians") will get them into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus was mocking the local and literary Essenes.  Mocking those monks who fled to the hills.  Mocking those who would mutilate themselves.  Mocking those people who were too pious to even poop on the Sabbath.

Yet to accommodate the more obscure interpretation, Jesus could have quite easily used the words "virgin for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" there.   Or could have used the words "evangelist for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" there. Or "remained single for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" there... BUT HE DIDN'T.
He didn't because it wouldn't be cohesive and it wouldn't be true.  None of those criteria qualify anyone for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Sound interpreters should not read that into the verse.  That is allegorizing far too much.

But how does my interpretation work itself back into the context?

Well, in the immediate context of this verse you may see Jesus telling his disciples to "accept" the foibles of their wives (Peter had a mother-in-law).  To "accept" all foibles EXCEPT unfaithfulness.

And in the broader context of this chapter, you may see a divine design of "male and female" for marriage.  For male and female to "accept" their design. For male and female to be "joined together".  And for them to be faithful in their 'joining together'.

My interpretation seems a whole lot more cohesive.  Seems a whole lot less divisive. There is a whole lot less cutting off.

And it is a better model of our Union with Christ as well.  Of us being faithful in our 'joining together' with Him.

But then there are others who fall into this final category.  Those who are averse to 'joining together'.  Those who do not have that 'desire for union'. Those who would rather have their 'desire for union' cut off.  So they castrate themselves...











Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Death of Desire- pt.2

Continuing with this examination of Matthew 19:12.  A rarely examined text. A text that exists in ALL manuscripts of Matthew.  A text with NO textual variants.

This time with a brief examination of the second category that Jesus addresses. This time, man as the maker of eunuchs as opposed to God as the maker of eunuchs.

Now hang in there guys, this is where it gets squeamish.  But unlike AFV I won't dwell on the groin shots, OK?

Now, from Wiki you may observe man as the maker of eunuchs in numerous points in time.  Man as the maker of eunuchs long before and long after the time of Jesus.  Man as the maker in many times, many places, many ways and for many reasons.  So this is not some remote hypothetical from Jesus.

Yet Jews were not the makers of eunuchs.  Jews had far more respect for God's design.  Jews did not injure men like that.  In fact, if a woman even came close to injuring a man's testicles- her hand was to be "cut off" ( Deut. 25:12).

I suspect that the eunuchs of Isaiah and Acts were such injured men.  Slaves and POW's deprived of their testicles.
A castration often depriving them of their life (often severing a major artery).  But always depriving them of their desire for women or power.  Putting their desire to death.  And putting their ability to sire to death.

So, let's briefly look at these deprived men of Isaiah and Acts.

In Isaiah 56:5 we see the suggestion that the eunuch had something "cut off".  Yet, we are assured that this concerned eunuch who is now a "dry tree" is still eligible for an everlasting name.  A name which was not "cut off" with his ability to generate children.

Now, the eunuch in Acts 8 was of a similar concern.  This eunuch was reading scripture surrounding Isaiah 53. This eunuch could identify with being "sheared".  Could identify with "humiliation".  Could identify with having no "generation".  Could identify with having a sense of life "removed".

And we see that those eunuchs were blessed in that identification.  Blessed with life through their identity in Christ.

Which is not to say that you should desire to have your desire to 'go forth' removed.  Or desire to have your ability to 'multiply' removed.  That will not bring you to an identity in Christ (and I don't believe that Christ was a eunuch).

Again, such emasculation will not make you an heir with Christ.  It may only preserve your hair.

That is the final category that I believe Jesus addresses in our next post...






















Calvin


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Death of Desire- pt.1



Having speculated on this obscure and contentious aspect of Genesis 3:16 in our previous post, let's engage with the less obscure or contentious words of Jesus in Matthew 19:12.  Words rarely indulged in.

Let's engage with His expansion on others who are 'dead to desire'.  His expansion on others who do not wish to be physically intimate. Folks that are listed in the Bible several times.  Folks with anomalies.

Folks that the Pharisees were familiar with.  And folks that we should be familiar with (but not too familiar :).
Folks that clearly set precedents.  Folks that don't subscribe to the precepts of 'going forth and multiplying'.
Folks not that interested in 'going forth'.  And folks incapable of 'multiplying'.

Folks with anomalies that illustrate an important principle.  A principle of accepting God's design.  A principle of not 'kicking the pricks' (Acts 9:5 KJV) so-to-speak.

Again, this post is not kid stuff (although the subsequent verse in Matthew certainly is). As forewarned, this is Adult Content. Not a post for squeamish prudes.  Or those with misguided piety.

Again, this post is about God-given desire.  Indeed, desire that was awakened in a perfect man at the very earliest opportunity (according to Calvin).

Yet, I will try my best not to awaken in you any 'inopportune desire' (cf. Song of Songs 8:4) with these posts. I will try not to awaken a desire that cannot easily be curbed in a desirous man like myself.

But rather, hopefully awaken you to a greater respect for this God-given gift of desire. A gift that should awaken many to an intimacy much more glorious ahead.  And awaken your pity for those currently without this gift or eternal hope.

In this first installment we will consider the first category that Jesus addresses.  We will consider the "eunuchs who were born that way".  We will consider those that have had essentially no desire or ability from  birth. Those that were mysteriously born that way.

Now, those mysteriously "born that way" are often classified as inter-sex.  That is, most have dual genetic citizenship at birth.  They can identify somewhat with either sex. Others have far more subtle citizenship at birth.  Others are unidentifiable. "Smoothies" as-they-say in the eunuch community.

Now, our genetics haven't changed all that much since Jesus (or a much earlier Sumerian creation myth which also suggests 'smoothies').  Yet the point that Jesus makes, is that God creates functionally impaired genetics in our lives as well.  Genetics which may not be healed in the course of our lifetime.

That not only did God make "male and female" (Matthew 19:4), but that God also makes some folks who are testicle and ovary impaired (and desire impaired as a result). That 'those impairments are God-given, and that those impairments should NOT be overlooked when considering marriage'.

Indeed, it is strongly suggested by Jesus in this text that 'such desire impaired folks should NOT marry'.  This point seems rather moot- since few of those folks would actually want to marry anyway.

And such folks generally accept that marriage restriction.  Accept it since they are incapable of the "one flesh" (Matthew 19:5) duty that is incumbent on marriage. They accept that they are incapable of heterosexual intercourse. They accept that they are essentially 'dead in bed' (note the etymology of εὐ.: εὐνή ‘bed’ + ἔχω- BDAG lexicon).  They accept that they are desire-challenged and would not be up to the challenge.

To that end, we see that such desire-challenged folks were often assigned other important and challenging positions in various historical and biblical passages.  Positions suited to their lack of desire.

We observe two prominent positions in Esther 2:14, 15. We see a prominent position in Jeremiah 38:7. And a prominent position in Acts 8:27.  Not only that, but in the Douay-Rheims and the King James Version of Genesis 37:36- we see that the prominent Potiphar may have also been a "eunuch" (much to the intense frustration of Potiphar's "wife"- Gen 39:10) .

But Jesus was using these eunuch anomalies to illustrate His point.  To illustrate His point of being faithful to your actual design.  Of being faithful to your designer.  And for his disciples be faithful to the "one flesh" covenant that they were committed to.

As a criticism Jesus claims, 'Those desire impaired folks can accept their unmarried state- Matthew 19:11. Likewise, you unimpaired folks should accept your married state'- v.12.  In essence Jesus tells His disciples, 'Let the unhappily married man accept  his frustrated desires- after all, eunuchs can accept  their lack of desire'.

For God is the maker of male and female, frustrations and eunuchs.
Now go forth and multiply, dear disciples... unless you are a eunuch!

Up next:  Man as the maker of eunuchs.




























Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Death of the Death of Desire


Some wordplay in the nature of John Owen with the above title.  Playing on his monumental work The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.  Playing with a similar thesis... but let's play it out.

Got the idea for this post from a post by Rocking With Hawking. Numerous poignant points by the daring and delightful, Christian apologist Rocking.  He received some assistance from the brilliant and acerbic, Christian apologist Steve Hays.  So we have a collaboration of brave and cutting comments in that post. Comments of significant import.

Significant import because it affects numerous people significantly.  Particularly women, as we shall see.

Salient points pertinent to our post include:

#5- a man finds sexual intercourse enjoyable even if he doesn't find the woman attractive.
#8- women can find sexual intercourse physically enjoyable even if she doesn't find the man attractive.
#24-  Low desire was the most common sexual problem in women, reported by 39 percent of women and associated with distress in 10 to 14 percent [1].  [several surveys are cited]

As mentioned in the Triablogue comments, these points caused me to re-consider the nature of the  Garden Curse of Genesis 3:16.  That the woman's "desire shall be for her husband"- ESV translation.

The NET Bible that is hyperlinked on the text above quite admittedly adds considerable "interpretation" on this verse (see its textual note).  In that verse the NET narrows the semantic range of "desire" considerably.  In that verse the NET has narrowed the range to merely 'the desire of usurping the authority of the man'.  That is the traditional interpretation.  But is it 'too narrow of an interpretation' as others have suggested?  Is that 'limiting the scope too much'?

Yet to the NET's credit, at least the NET gives some indication of the gloss.  Unlike the egalitarian folks at CBE who seem too offended and afraid to give ANY indication what this "desire" actually is (do the search!).  I see that as a far greater disservice to wives.

In other versions, the NASB altered their translation from the indicative "will be for her husband" to the imperative "shall be for her husband" in their 1995 update.  Suggesting something more than just some innocuous passive passion.
In other versions, the 2011 NIV update has retained the less offensive indicative translation from their 1984 version.
While the NKJV retained the more demanding imperative from the old KJV.  Suggesting that there is something far less innocuous there.

But what if both are right?  What if it is both indicative and imperative?  What if is both descriptive and prescriptive?
What if we can actually embrace a much bigger gloss?  One that actually has application?  One that doesn't make that Genesis verse a waste of ink and inkling.

What if- if Rocking's stats are some indication- we can also embrace the gloss that wives are predisposed to 'lose their sexual desire' yet are commanded to 'strive for desire for their husbands' regardless?  A command for wives to put to death their Death of Desire for their husbands?

At least that embracing grants some alternate implication and application.  Are egalitarians willing to grant that much at least?  Sure is less hostile than the 'usurping authority desire', huh?  Less mutinous.

Yet egalitarians insist that "this is merely a descriptive of mans inhumanity to women"? That this Death of Desire 'couldn't possibly be something intrinsic to wives'. "That would be frankly soul crushing!"  'Why can't us girls just follow our feelings?'

However, wouldn't this be consistent with the primary parallel-interpretation of Cain "desiring" to kill his brother but God commanding him to "subdue that illicit desire"?  Isn't that a bigger gloss?  Isn't the indicative as well as the imperative in view here?  Why couldn't Cain just follow his feelings?

Or would this not be consistent with the other parallel-interpretation of "desire" in Song of Songs 7:10?  Of the context of the "desired" being rather reluctant to please her Lover?
Of being reluctant due to her presumed impediments of 'immature vines, blossoms and pomegranates'- 7:12? Despite her breasts actually being like "fortress towers"-8:10?
Did she not falsely think that her vineyard was at her "very own" disposal rather than his?- 8:12
That she held complete authority over her "very own" body?- cf. 1 Cor. 7:4

And isn't that a bigger gloss of "desire"?  Isn't the descriptive as well as the prescriptive in view here?  Why couldn't the "desired" just follow her reluctance there?

Or would this not be consistent with the subsequent verse?  Consistent with the Garden Curse given to the man that 'thorns and thistles will now impede you so that you shall now sweat to overcome these impediments'?  Of the ground being predisposed to giving the man grief so that he must now overcome that grief?

In similar manner the women is given grief and distress in her Death of Desire.  A death that she is commanded to overcome.  A death that she is given hope of overcoming.

In this chapter, man is given hope in overcoming those thorns and thistles.  That man "will eat the plants of the field" despite those thorns and thistles.
Are women being given a similar hope and mandate here?  A mandate to overcome their own predisposed thorns and thistles?







Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sinful Sex with your Spouse

Yes, I know a great deal about the above-mentioned Incubi and Succubi... about Spirit Husbands and Spirit Wives.
I have studied this concept extensively in serious witchcraft and apologetics books. Pardon the pun, but I am quite familiar- I don't need to read the above book.
And I have never seen this concept endorsed by Scripture.  A strange concept in that respect.

Also saw some strange stuff at Randall Rauser's blog the other day.  A well educated Canuck with lots of strange ideas.  One of them being that Spirit Spouse idea. 
Steve Hays took him to task on some of that stuff the other day.  This Canuck followed up with one of his followers.

I followed up at Steve's blog. Interacted with another Van man. 
Interacted because Steve doesn't always interact.  Doesn't always interact with fluff.  Steve knows how to prioritize.
But my priorities are skewed... so I interacted.  And so did Steve.  Guess it wasn't fluff.

Steve had a good response.  But I think the Van man wanted more from me.  So I gave it to him.

It is in regard to having 'sinful sex with your spouse'.  Allegedly, your sex being sinful because you are still 'spiritually married' to your former spouse. Still 'spiritually married' because your spouse is still alive. Still 'spiritually married' because you were not 'legitimately divorced'.
Not actually divorced 'due to adultery' and still have a 'spiritual thing for your old fling'.  Yet, even legitimately divorced folks often have a 'spiritual thing for their old fling'- so this is a non-starter.

Now, we've covered this legitimacy aspect elsewhere- but let's deal with the concept of 'perpetual sin with your new spouse'.  A concept which seems to need explaining.  An unbiblical concept of "spiritual spouses" which seems to plaguing many people.  And as Conrad Mbewe recently observes is, 'plaguing women in particular' (cf. 2Tim. 3:6).  And plaguing other 'rabble-rousers' (cf. Numbers 11:4) that are weak in hermeneutics.

In that respect, Rauser claims that re-married folks who were not "divorced for adultery" are currently in an "adulterous relationship".  My response to his supporter was that 'their first ONE FLESH moment may indeed be adultery, may be a one-time sin'- but that subsequent ONE FLESH moments are 'moments of faithfulness' to their current spouse.  Your relationship is no longer adulterous. It is now a 'faithful relationship'.  This was my response:

  Regarding your question to me Cletus,

"I don't see how it follows it is a one-time sin. If one is committing adultery by remarrying via an illegitimate divorce, it seems that the state would be ongoing in that marriage."

Let's take a closer look at what Jesus actually said-

But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
(Mat 5:32 ESV)

[FULL DISCLOSURE- I married a woman who was divorced on grounds other than sexual immorality...]

So, let's look at the verbal aspect of that particular verse here (prominent-Greek-guy Constantine Campbell is very helpful here in his book Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek). Let's examine the translation.

Now, I think you would agree with me that this committing of adultery is rather punctiliar, Cletus. As punctiliar as the moment of becoming ONE FLESH would be. What you seem to be insisting though, is that this is a repeated punctiliar. Repeated to the extent of being iterative- and this is true to some extent. The iterative ONE FLESH moments do indeed naturally and repeatedly follow from marriage.
But the extent that Jesus was insisting on seems to be to the punctiliar extent (as the disciples understood it at any rate) of actually getting re-married. A rather punctiliar one-time event. And the adultery in question appears to be just as punctiliar in extent (a "one-time" event)

Now, we can quibble about how punctiliar "divorce" actually is. Or quibble about how punctiliar "makes" her commit adultery actually is- but that doesn't change the context all that much. I don't think the context will allow us to insist on punctiliar and iterative lexume (presumably "marries" and "commits" respectively) conflation in the very same verse. I don't think that is a valid hermeneutic.

Allow me to give you a less incendiary example-
Jack threw (punctiliar) a ball and Jill caught (punctiliar) it.
It would not be proper to say that Jack threw (punctiliar) a ball and Jill continued (iterative) to catch it.

Similarly, to understand this verse the way that you seem to understand it- it would have to add, "And whoever continues (iterative) to be married to a illegitimately divorced woman will be ongoing (iterative) in adultery. Yet, I don't see any periphrastic construction suggesting that concept there. And a concerned Jesus would certainly have added that if such was the case... but faithfulness is a greater concern.

In this pericope Jesus could have very easily insisted that improperly married folks do another Ezra 10:3. But Jesus didn't defer to that scripture there and I suggest that you don't either, Cletus. Those were different times and circumstances (cf. Ezra 9:11).


Times of abominations introduced by foreign wives.  Abominations promoted by a foreign culture.  Abominations that were destroying the culture of Israel- Ezra 10:2So Ezra judged rightly (contra Jonathan) in causing these improperly married Jews to divorce.  Jews whose marriage had not been endorsed by God- Joshua 23:13.

Yet, I would not want to be responsible for causing those in our current times and circumstances to divorce, dear reader.  There is great judgement in doing so.  We are not that culture of Israel.  We are not living in that Promised Land.  And, "What God has joined together let man not separate"- Matthew 19:6.

Now there does appear to be some periphrastic construction going in our text, however.  Where the man divorcing his wife "makes her commit adultery".  But let's not be dull here, that physical reality is only if she has another ONE FLESH moment.

And as I understand it, then it is his sin and not hers. He is the primary cause.  He "made her" be unfaithful by causing her to re-marry. This sin is added unto him and not unto her.  He precipitated her actual "adultery"... a very serious offense.
This freaked out Jesus disciples.  This caused them to reconsider divorce for "any reason"- Matthew 19:3.  This caused them to reconsider entering into marriage lightly- with very few ways out.

And this is not just my understanding, folks.  This is not a novel understanding.
This strict understanding is also shared by Calvin in his Commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke
A strict understanding which permitted divorce for various reasons, yet would not permit divorce for frivolous reasons.  Not even "due to incontinence" with a leper.

And "whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery"?

Now, Calvin has some good stuff on that aspect too.  Yet, he thinks that this sin of adultery applies only to "unlawful and frivolous" divorces [Ezra's divorces were neither 'unlawful nor frivolous' so they were actually free to re-marry].  That this sin only applies to frivolous divorces since no physical adultery actually occurred.   And  since there is still a reasonable hope of reconciliation there (Calvin appeals to Corinthians 7:11 for this). 

However, I think that this sin may also apply to non-frivolous divorces as well.  Apply to those that have committed adultery already.  The guilty party may be committing adultery yet once again with another party when they re-marry. They may then be unfaithful to the party that they previously committed adultery with.  Once again, marriage is a ONE FLESH commitment, the paperwork is pretty much irrelevant. 

And Calvin believes that such folks actually granted divorces for frivolous reasons are to be continuously incontinent...  at least until the old spouse dies.  Presumably, 'distance will make their hearts grow fonder' for each other.  And time will resolve their frivolity. Yet, from my personal divorce experience 'distance only made the heart more distant'. And time only re-enforced foolishness.    

But will an unmarried person also sin in marrying an 'illegitimately divorced' person?  I think so.  I don't see any loopholes in that aspect.

And I suspect that it is because, 'such a man will share in the unfaithfulness of his new bride when they become ONE FLESH'.  Since she was unfaithful in her efforts of reconciliation.  Unfaithful to her previous pledge/vow (cf. 1 Timothy 5:12). He will share in her measure of unfaithfulness on their 'wedding night' (punctiliar).  He will be an accomplice.  And he will be held responsible (though not culpable) of her actual unfaithfulness. There will be repercussions... however virtual.
Yet, to say that he will 'constantly (iteratively) share in her unfaithfulness every time they become ONE FLESH' is bad hermeneutics. Adding more than a little to the words of Scripture.

Not only that, but after re-marriage- we are told that marriage to a former spouse is no longer an option.  That would be an even greater minimizing of the marriage vow. That too would be an abomination- Deut. 24:4.  Let's not add to those abominations, shall we?

To summarize-

Faithfulness to your current spouse is your only current option.  A Spirit Spouse is an illusion.
Faithfulness to your present fleshly vow is now valid.  Your past virtual vow is invalid.

And let's not be rabble-rousers, shall we?

Let's not be iterative where punctiliar will suffice.
Let's not call profane what is now holy.






Saturday, February 15, 2014

Separated from a Believer



A bit of a twist from my latest post on that other blog.  An unplanned twist.  
Posted here because this is more of an in-house issue (though it may appear to be another out-house issue).

Anyway, the other day I heard from a buddy at The Club (a buddy who is admittedly “rough around the edges”) - that he was in the process of “splitting things up”.  Seems he’s taking care of a bunch of financials with his wife, a Separation Agreement to be specific.  Seems they’ve been separated for about a dozen years. 

Living in the same house, but no eating or drinking together.  And of course no sleeping together.

Seems Buddy is being suitably shunned by his wife for being an “apostate from the Church of God of theRestoration”.  Such is their policy of church discipline. Such is their hostile interpretation of Romans 16:17.   Such is their “scourging”.

As I recall, this local church got into huge hot water with Children’s Aid around a dozen years ago.  Got into trouble for scourging their children.  So they are suitably a little more discreet about their scourging now.

This sounds a lot like the “scourging” of the Qur’an doesn’t it?-
As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them - 4:34 Pickthall Translation.

But Mohammed wasn’t quite that hostile to his rebellious wives.  Mohammed threatened to invoke his newly granted privilege to divorce them, but merely separated from all his wives for a month. He did not scourge them (though the father of one of the wives humored Mohammed by offering to “cut off her head”).

Yet this Muslim admonishment is considerably more hostile than Christians are permitted to employ.  And as we have shown in previous posts- such admonishment is certainly a sin.  This ‘tough love’ is simply not permitted.

Regardless, this ‘shunned buddy’ doesn’t want to divorce his wife.  He doesn’t believe in Divorce (has a Restoration hangover, I guess).  And Buddy’s wife doesn’t believe in Divorce either.  Divorce and Remarriage are not permitted in the Church of God of the Restoration.  Only Restoration is permitted, it seems.  But that isn’t likely to happen, since neither meds (“she is stressed out”) nor out-of-house counselling is permitted by her cult.

So Buddy will continue to live with her.  Will continue to be scourged by her.  Will continue to be scourged by her “cult” (he defines cult as a ‘misappropriation of authority’).  But Buddy will merely distance his finances from her (contrary to Exodus 21:10). 

Sounds quite noble of Buddy, huh?  Yet Christians are not compelled to treat unfaithfulness quite like that.  Exodus 21:11 compels you to make a clean break from unfaithfulness (and adulterers actually made a clean break with their head back then).

Anyway, we have discussed how unbiblical this is in numerous posts, so we will not repeat it here.  Besides, Buddy will not take out-of-house counselling either.  Buddy doesn’t like my interpretations.

He tells me, “We are only separating”.
I tell him, “I don’t see a biblical mandate for Separation”.
He tells me, “Well, I don’t believe in Divorce”.
I tell him “You are already divorced.  You are no longer ONE FLESH”. 
He tells me, “That is just your interpretation of Marriage”.
I tell him “That is the interpretation of Genesis 2 and Matthew 19”.
Then buddy tells me that his ‘interpretation has changed so much in the past 30 years since he became a Christian and that mine will certainly change in 30 years’.  That I will have ‘a more generous orthodoxy/ more noble uncertainty’ when I mature (we are the same age).

So we end up arguing over Table Tennis Rules.  We dig into the Official Rules posted behind us and finally agree on them.  So I ask him if he ‘will agree with that definition in 30 years…

Anyway, let’s look at how I think this will play out for Buddy’s wife.  After all, ‘what’s good for the goose is certainly good for a gander’, right?
Let’s speculate on how her sanctification is going to play out on judgement day.  Her cult is quite adamant that Buddy’s wife is “perfectly sanctified”, however…

Lately, I have been looking at numerous charts with my Sunday School students, charts of Sanctification.  And I don’t think any current charts are all that accurate.  And I’ve stressed to my students, that some Christians actually crash in their sanctification (never to recover, as those charts never seem to indicate).

And I think Buddy’s wife is a crash.  She has trashed the very model of our relationship to God.  She has trashed the second greatest relationship that she could possibly have (yes, even greater than a Father and Son). 
Trashed it by her idolatry of “The Only One True Church”.  An idolatry she has held for a long, long time. Her sin is being multiplied and her sanctification is clearly diminishing.

And I expect her recently deceased cult leader to receive harsh judgement for this “scourging” doctrine as well (cf. James 3:1).  He may be saved but…

The grace of our Lord Jesus has not been modeled well at all by them.  Their Union with Christ is pathetic, and I expect their rewards to reflect that.  How’s that for generous, Buddy?

But in closing, let’s just take a quick look at what this “scourging” is supposed to look like from Buddy’s wife (taken from this cults ‘source for scourging’ a few chapters earlier):
Taking some liberty with the text-

“Vengeance is Mine.  I will repay” says the Lord.  “But if your husband is ornery, f--- him.  So far as it is possible, be at peace with your apostate husband” (Romans 12:18-20).

How’s that for “scourging”, Buddy?