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?