Divorce, Domestic Violence and Churches, John Piper, Russell Moore, Voddie Baucham

Divorce Dilemmas in the Church

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I read this excerpt by Dr. Russell Moore recently.  He was asked what to do if someone is in a miserable marriage:

Does God want you to be miserable? Long-term, no. And that’s why God has designed marriage as a life-long covenant signaling the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the long-term, God wants you to be deliriously happy. But by long-term, I mean the next trillion years, and beyond. In the short-term, one often must bear difficulty and, yes, even misery. Remaining faithful to a wife you wish you hadn’t married might seem miserable to you, but taking up a cross and following Jesus is “miserable,” in the short-run. That’s why the Book of Hebrews presents the life of faith in terms of not receiving what was promised (Heb. 11:39), but seeing it and embracing it from afar.  Dr. Russell Moore, Source

small__5731937502This seems to be a common thought I’ve heard before – if Christ is our head, then we can and should be able to endure all kinds of suffering and persecution because this life on earth is just a moment in the bigger scheme of things.  We look with great anticipation for eternity, in light of our momentary sufferings – you know, the count-it-all-joy gig.

From my Bible reading and teachings in churches, I was always taught that divorce was permissible for desertion and adultery.  But read what Piper says:

The Covenant Remains till Christ Removes

One of the reasons that I have emphasized the ultimate meaning of marriage so much in this series is that the meaning of marriage is such that human beings cannot legitimately break it. The ultimate meaning of marriage is the representation of the covenant keeping love between Christ and his church. To live this truth and to show this truth is what it means, most deeply, to be married. This is the ultimate reason why marriage exists. There are other reasons, but this is the main one. Therefore, if Christ ever abandons and discards his church, then a man may divorce his wife. And if the blood-bought church, under the new covenant, ever ceases to be the bride of Christ, then a wife may legitimately divorce her husband. But as long as Christ keeps his covenant with his bride, the church, and as long as the church, by the sustaining grace of God, remains the chosen people of Jesus Christ, then the very meaning of marriage will include: What God has joined, only God can separate, not man.  John Piper, What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate, Part 1

I have not paid much attention to the varying views of marriage/divorce/remarriage in Christianity.  John Piper holds to a permanence view of marriage. I must have been living in a bubble my whole adult life. I had no idea until a year or so ago that some popular Christian leaders hold to a “permanence view of marriage.” The permanence view of marriage maintains that there are no biblical grounds for divorce or remarriage. Both Voddie Baucham and John Piper ascribe to this belief.

I found an article from the Pyromaniacs blog, On Divorce which had some discussion of this viewpoint in the comments.   Here was a helpful comment which fleshes out what the permanence view of marriage can look like after a biblically-sanctioned “permanence” divorce:

The permanence view creates an enigma that leaves the divorced or innocent party defenseless and instructs them to try to be satisfied with a life of singleness, a life of consequent frustration and hardships. They believe for example, that if a man with two small children divorces his wife for another woman and gets remarried, his former wife is to live her life without a companion and raise the children without a father (in the home). The exception clause Jesus gives allows her recourse to deal with a husband that has abandoned God’s will.

A few of these men concede that a spouse can be involved in gross sexual immorality that warrants a divorce, but teach that the innocent party should not remarry. Ironically, most in the permanence view would instruct the man in this example to continue his second marriage while instructing his former wife to remain companionless. I see no biblical justness in that. This position should be shown to be erroneous so that the innocent doesn’t suffer needlessly, attempting to live their whole life without a companion. (Source)

In contrast to the above excerpts, I wanted to share with you a recently published interview with author and blogger, Barbara Roberts from A Cry for Justice.  Barbara’s research on divorce was very informative and gives hope to those who are in abusive marriages.

I took a few notes, but strongly urge you to take the time to watch the video.  It is excellent.  And as an added bonus for watching the video, you get to hear two Aussies!

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A Few Notes from “Does God Hate Divorce?”  

Mark Brown interviews Barbara Roberts

Does God Hate Divorce?  Barbara begins by explaining that “God hates divorce” is a mistranslation of a widely known slogan from Malachi 2:16.

Abuse  “A person who is an abuser and we talk about abuse as a pattern of coercive control that is designed to maintain control over the other spouse and often of the children in the family, too.”    Ms. Roberts mentioned that “it’s a pattern of behavior which is intentionally designed to maintain control.”

Idolatry of Marriage  “The problem in Christian circles a lot of the time is that they have elevated marriage to be more important than the individuals within it.  They have actually made an idol of marriage. . .”  Barbara notes that Christians “prioritize the institution rather than the health and well-being of the individuals.”

Doctrine of Suffering  Ms. Roberts discusses the common confusion some Christians have about persecution.  Suffering persecution for the cause of the gospel is not the same as being persecuted by abuse in marriage.

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photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

268 thoughts on “Divorce Dilemmas in the Church”

  1. For Julie Anne’s of Jul 23, 3:59 pm
    You said:
    “I cannot apologize for not extending grace to people – church leaders – who are supposed to tend God’s precious flock – who overlook blatant sex abuse of children. Nope. Can’t do it. Who was it who spoke about a millstone? Was that grace?”
    Well JA, I know that God extended a LOT of grace to this miserable Hell bound sinner DESERVING of His just wrath. So I’m going to take a different path.

    Your comment is very illuminating

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  2. I asked B4B: “Why did God create us? What is our purpose on earth?”

    B4B answered with a question: “Are you denying that marriage for life WASN’T God’s plan?

    My response to B4B’s “response.” Nope, I don’t deny that marriage was part of God’s plan. Now can you answer my question?

    Like

  3. Jeff S said, “if someone says “based on my work I see how scripture allows for divorce for abuse” and someone else says “how tragic”, then the latter is showing a lack of compassion for victims of abuse. Now if he said “I understand you’d like it to be so, but a proper study of scripture shows you are wrong” then I’d disagree, but to go straight to “tragic” is unbelievably offensive.”

    Big difference, right? Thanks for making that very good point, Jeff S.

    And I see Piper doing this about many more things. Kinda wordy flowy, using words to frame his class-room thinking, book-ending appalling comments with niceness. Not helpful while fires are raging in the real world. I realized I need to really examine what I read and hear, because I was starting to be lulled into lala land.

    I heard or read him say somewhere a time ago (at DG) that he has trouble, really can’t bring himself to talk one on one, individually, with someone next to him, say on an airplane, about God. Now someone else may find it hard as well, but they may not be so quick to tell others how to go about it then. Wish I had that link…

    Piper doesn’t seem to lead by example. That confirmed in my mind it’s basically a mental ascent. So you get indifferent tweets about kids dying in tornadoes in OK. Combine that with position, and you get followers.

    These leaders in their isolated worlds need to be in the trenches. I’m curious if he’s ever ministered in a children’s hospital or women’s shelter.

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  4. God intends marriage to be for life, until one spouse dies. However, God allows divorce for reasons found in Scripture which include adultery, abuse and neglect, which are acts which violate the marriage covenant vows. In other words, when people make a covenant, each party should keep their vows; if someone does not, then the other party can declare the covenant over. This is the way covenants work. It is really not that hard except that some have complexified covenants to be something they are not.

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  5. I phrased my question poorly. “Is marriage FOR LIFE God’s plan?

    The first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism presents what I believe concerning your question. Why do I think that yours is a leading question of some sort? 🙂

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  6. You make excellent points, Jeff S.

    Jeff S said “I guarantee you that somewhere in the world is a woman like what I’ve described who has read Piper’s article in the search for the truth about her situation, and has heard him call her desire for divorce “tragic”. Maybe she responded by feeling shame for wanting to be free, or maybe she responded with offense that Piper showed so little compassion for her in her situation. Either way, such a word choice has grave consequences.”

    I guarantee as well, so that makes two of us. I guarantee she sits in the pew in his own church. And maybe she responded by thinking Piper is the mouthpiece of God, interpreting scripture correctly. She is meant to suffer. And it’s bad, but doesn’t have to be as bad as Jeff’s example.

    Women sit in pews in churches all over and hear similar words, same message.

    If a woman needs help, I would not advise her to go to the pastor or the church. Unfortunately, that’s the last place I would recommend.

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  7. B4B:

    Well JA, I know that God extended a LOT of grace to this miserable Hell bound sinner DESERVING of His just wrath. So I’m going to take a different path.

    Your comment is very illuminating

    Eh, whatever – I’m not sure what is being illuminated. I make no bones about the fact that I’m a sinner, saved by grace. I fail and sin daily. However, I don’t think I’m wrong about exposing abusers. God is going to have to change my heart if I’m wrong because I’ve got my heels firmly planted. Maybe that’s because I’ve read/heard one too many abuse stories. Maybe because I’ve cried too much hearing the pain. I don’t know.

    It’s funny, B4B, you seem to have a problem with me talking about a millstone regarding abusers and not extending grace to them.

    However, I find it strange that you don’t seem to extend grace to victims here, but you sure are the one to quickly come here and defend people that I expose. That seems back jackassward to me.

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  8. Guys like Piper and the rest of them are actually “marriages” worst enemy. They focus on the effect and not the cause. I remember in the evangelical seeker world the leaders were more in a mode they wanted to “show the world we have strong marriages”. It was almost a marketing ploy in some ways. And because that was the focus (instead of following Christ) then divorce became the problem. Not what caused the divorce in the first place.

    Don has it right about the “covenant” aspect here. It is a contract. contracts are broken, added to, etc. The contract in marriage is broken when abuse, neglect,etc starts.

    The church tends to freak out over the civil law piece of paper that says dissolution of marriage. But not over the “broken contract” that came first. If they would get the focus off of authority over and on “mutuality” and all the “one anothers” we are to live by, it would be more productive and abusers would not last in that environment as long.

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  9. B4B said, “Are you denying that marriage for life WASN’T God’s plan?”

    B4B. Marriage for life is good, what God wants, what many want. You’ve got that truth down pretty well. But that is not the whole counsel of God and you know it, B4B.

    And to not believe or teach the whole counsel of God is what the devil does. He takes parts of scripture, and uses it to deceive or lead astray. He did it to Eve, Jesus, and will continue.

    I am not saying you are the devil or not a Christian. I’m saying that we need to look and speak of the whole counsel of God when advising people. Wouldn’t you agree, B4B?

    To try to prevent divorce by teaching bits and pieces is controlling.

    Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

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  10. My first clue that there is something wrong with Piper’s views on marriage was when I attempted to do a teaching based on one of his books. I knew that one of the people in attendance was divorced, but thought . . . Well, I don’t know what I thought. This person wasn’t just distressed by what I was presenting. They were actually traumatized. When I saw what was happening, I tried to shut everything down. Unfortunately the people who weren’t divorced just made things worse by trying to explain how Piper made so much sense. Not.

    I’m pretty sure this kind of traumatization isn’t what Jesus would want. I would sooner suppose that divorce remains a viable escape valve for the benefit of innocent spouses trapped in destructive circumstances. And yes, I agree that God’s perfect will is that marriage last until death. It’s just that God, in his mercy, permits divorce as a necessary grace.

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  11. Don Johnson at JULY 24, 2013 @ 8:23 AM, said:
    In other words, when people make a covenant, each party should keep their vows; if someone does not, then the other party can declare the covenant over. This is the way covenants work. It is really not that hard except that some have complexified covenants to be something they are not.

    In law, a covenant is a contract and a contract is a covenant. Such covenants require performance by both parties. If a party commits an act that violates the contract, or fails to perform a required act, then the other party is generally free to formally end the contract or covenant, and is no longer bound by it. In this light, a divorce is the formal end of a covenant or contract that has been violated and is no longer valid.

    A marriage covenant is considered to include sexual loyalty of each party to the other; loving (cherish) etc., the other; and other things included in the vows, such as support. Adultery, physical abuse of a party, commission of a crime (e.g., child abuse), abandoning, etc., clearly are violations of the contract, which renders the covenant void as a matter of fact, and a divorce makes clear that the covenant is void as a matter of record, because of issues like inheritance, insurance benefits, etc. Thus, the law requires that a marriage covenant be dissolved de jure as well as de facto.

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  12. For BfourB:

    JA wrote~
    “I asked B4B: “Why did God create us? What is our purpose on earth?”
    B4B answered with a question: “Are you denying that marriage for life WASN’T God’s plan?”
    My response to B4B’s “response.” Nope, I don’t deny that marriage was part of God’s plan. Now can you answer my question?”

    May I join in (and sorry for the topic change)? bfourb–I asked you a question twice on the Christian parenting thread because I want to know the answer. I think you see yourself as a bible teacher of sorts. Will you please answer? Monique wants to know as well. Here it is so you don’t have to go looking– for your convenience:

    “Diane
    July 22, 2013 @ 7:58 PM
    “God’s people are to be leaders who are also servants while the ‘Gentiles’ lead
    with airs of superiority. It all seems to be in the text.”
    BfourB–where exactly is it in the verse? The leading with airs of superiority part?
    You also wrote:
    “I believe that Matthew passage tells God’s people (Jews) that they shouldn’t exercise authority as the “Gentiles” do, with airs of superiority, but humbly (servant/leaders).”
    Where does it say that the Gentiles were exercising authority with “airs of superiority?” If exercising authority is chain of command, a hierarchy, how can that same person who is in command be a servant?”

    “Diane
    July 23, 2013 @ 9:00 AM
    Also bfourb:
    Will you please answer the question I posed to you in my July 22 7:58 PM comment? If exercising authority is chain of command, a hierarchy, how can that same person who is in command be a servant?”

    “Diane
    July 23, 2013 @ 8:52 AM
    “For Diane’s July 22, 2013 @ 7:58 PM
    Think CONtext.”
    @ bfourb:
    I asked you to please explain it to me. Where in the verse does it state air of superiority? Please explain it to me –thinking context.”

    “Monique
    July 23, 2013 @ 5:32 PM
    B4B:
    I’d like you to answer Diane’s question more completely as well rather then your think CONtext reply.”

    “For Diane’s July 22, 2013 @ 7:58 PM
    Think CONtext.”

    Also Gary W’s question re: commentary you used:
    “If you don’t mind, what commentary were you referring to on 7/22 @ 3:53 PM you when “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary . . . “?”

    Thanks.

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  13. B4B, I will make it crystal clear. I am not happy with the way many leaders, bloggers, teachers, church members, etc. are seeming to ignore the SGM tragedy. And I’m not the only one upset.

    I think it’s telling when people get upset at situations like this & rightly so, and then the pushback comes about our own sin, everybody’s sin, we all sin, it’s all the same. Depravity doodoo.

    Only unto salvation.

    At all other times/circumstances/situations, there is wrong and evil. I’m a homeschool mom & it’s what I teach. I would hope, by now, you would know the difference. If you don’t, you truly have bought into the depravity mindset.

    Here are some ways to decide where someone is coming from:

    Wrong doer: will seek forgiveness, make restitution, sincerely try not to do it again, improves over time, deserves another try, deserves support

    Evil doer: will cover up, push back, get angry when confronted, will bring up your sin, needs to be shut down quickly,

    Barbara Robert’s video (it’s in Julie Anne’s post) is very helpful. And there can be people who appear as wrong doers but are not so we need to be wise and careful.

    Both receive punishment according to what they’ve done.

    Maybe this will help you understand where I’m coming from.

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  14. Gary W. said:

    My first clue that there is something wrong with Piper’s views on marriage was when I attempted to do a teaching based on one of his books. I knew that one of the people in attendance was divorced, but thought . . . Well, I don’t know what I thought. This person wasn’t just distressed by what I was presenting. They were actually traumatized.

    Gary, but do you know what hardliners would say? They would say that the person who was traumatized really wasn’t traumatized. They will say that person is feeling guilt because of sin. They need to repent and get right with the Lord.

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  15. Diane, I’ve seen each and every one of your comments come through and have wondered why Born4Battle has been avoiding them. B4B? What’s up with that?

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  16. An Attorney, your comment is very helpful.

    “A marriage covenant is considered to include sexual loyalty of each party to the other; loving (cherish) etc., the other; and other things included in the vows, such as support. Adultery, physical abuse of a party, commission of a crime (e.g., child abuse), abandoning, etc., clearly are violations of the contract, which renders the covenant void as a matter of fact, and a divorce makes clear that the covenant is void as a matter of record…”

    Why are leaders, like Piper, not bothered by violations (adultery/abuse/crime/child abuse/abandonment) of the covenant/contract that was committed to in public, in front of believers and unbelievers alike? Good witness?

    If they think God wants a marriage to last, aren’t the violations the problem? Aren’t the violations what render a covenant/contract void? The resulting actions (divorce, prosecution, etc.) are a formality.

    Piper & friends focus on suffering as the answer, not education & violation prevention with right expectations & consequences. So sin abounds within some church organizations. Safe place?

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  17. Ok, I’m sitting here getting all stewed up about B4B’s comment about the millstone:

    Well JA, I know that God extended a LOT of grace to this miserable Hell bound sinner DESERVING of His just wrath. So I’m going to take a different path.

    Your comment is very illuminating.

    B4B – You want me to extend grace to abusers. It’s funny because inside, I was thinking to myself: “Am I really not extending grace to abusers? Would God want me to do that?” I started questioning myself to see if I was off or not. Believe it or not, I do take every comment/e-mail seriously and challenge myself. If I am wrong, I want to know about it.

    We all know that God offers grace. And yes, He extends His grace to abusers. But, I am pretty sure that His grace is extended when they are repentant, but not before.

    I’m really not too concerned about victimizers. If someone else wants to have a blog ministry getting concerned about them, they can have it. I’m all about those whose voices were silenced, whose hearts and spirits have been broken, who may not even be able to pray. I’ve been there and connect with that.

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  18. I need to clarify:

    I believe God wants marriages to last but lovingly gives the wronged spouse approval to divorce if the covenant is violated. I do not believe in the “permanence view” of marriage, no matter how appealing or comforting it sounds. The word is deceptive. I’m gotten used to seeing great sounding words for bad, harmful ideas.

    I believe singleness is also a virtue. And wholly Biblical and honoring to God.

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  19. A mom said:

    Why are leaders, like Piper, not bothered by violations (adultery/abuse/crime/child abuse/abandonment) of the covenant/contract that was committed to in public, in front of believers and unbelievers alike? Good witness?

    If they think God wants a marriage to last, aren’t the violations the problem? Aren’t the violations what render a covenant/contract void? The resulting actions (divorce, prosecution, etc.) are a formality.

    It goes back to what Barbara Roberts said in the video. They seem to be idolizing the institution of marriage. The institution of marriage – the covenant – is the focus and the people whose hearts and spirits are broken are abandoned in the process.

    I’m tired of waiting for B4B’s response to my question. I asked him why did Jesus come? What was His purpose? We know Jesus did away with the old law and by His perfect sacrifice on the cross, His death and resurrection we don’t have to do the old law thang anymore. And then He gave a new commandment and it was pretty simple – to love God and man.

    It seems to me that some of these modern-day pastors are stuck in OT times by wanting to obey law and they are failing Jesus’ basic command of love. Is it loving to tell someone in an oppressive/abusive marriage that they must remain for the sake of the covenant they made before God?

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  20. Julie Anne, I completely agree. My 9:15AM comment on sin was in response to B4B’s statement:
    “Well JA, I know that God extended a LOT of grace to this miserable Hell bound sinner DESERVING of His just wrath. So I’m going to take a different path. Your comment is very illuminating.”

    Part of what I said, “I think it’s telling when people get upset at situations like this & rightly so, and then the pushback comes about our own sin, everybody’s sin, we all sin, it’s all the same. Depravity doodoo. Only unto salvation.
    At all other times/circumstances/situations, there is wrong and evil. I’m a homeschool mom & it’s what I teach. I would hope, by now, you would know the difference. If you don’t, you truly have bought into the depravity mindset…….”

    B4B creates a toxic cocktail I wouldn’t recommend anyone drink:
    Ingredients: salvation for unrepentant sinners, we all sin, depravity, angry God
    Combine the ingredients and you have the “let evil abound” drink.
    Just drink this and you won’t be so upset. Let evil abound.

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  21. Doubt I can change B4B’s mind that the only time sins are the same is unto salvation. All other times sins are not the same.

    My purpose is to speak up for the silent others reading, who may still have doubts, have been hurting for years possibly, have unwarranted guilt. There are many who feel this way. And there are many like B4B out there, as well.

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  22. “There are many who feel this way. And there are many like B4B out there, as well.”

    I know a lot of people object to B4B’s style/approach, but the arguments he uses here cause us to think. A lot of the arguments will feel familiar to those of us who left high-controlling environments. It gives us an opportunity to dig deep and find find the words to say that we may have been unable to say before because of fear, intimidation, shunning, etc. We can search scriptures ourselves and think for ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.

    So, that’s part of the method of my madness in allowing some of this stuff. I’m watching carefully and trying to find the right balance of not letting it get out of hand.

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  23. Jesus said “. . . everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, MAKES her commit adultery. . .” Mt 5:32, emphasis added. Looks like the person who causes the divorce bears the responsibility for forcing the innocent party into adultery if they remarry.

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  24. RE: carmen July 23, 2013 @ 9:10 AM
    “This pastor who asserts that suffering misery in this life is a meagre sacrifice for joy in the next life, begs the question, “And what if this life is ALL YOU GET???” That kind of divine arrogance just astounds me – talk about spiritual abuse!”
    Before whatever ‘pastor’ you are talking about, there was the Apostle Paul. See Romans 8:18

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  25. There are many who have been deeply wounded and scarred by similar words and beliefs from fellow Christian brothers and sisters, like B4B. They are looking for answers, does the Bible really say that? They are looking for healing, & may be having a hard time finding it. They need to be loved.

    While B4B’s words may hurt, it is very important to hear them. I would dare say, even in their unedited, unmoderated tone. Why?

    Well, sitting around preaching to the choir is no good. This internet blog environment is a great medium to engage in discussion with people like B4B. And it’s important for those that have been wounded to be able to safely observe and heal. They need to know God’s will is that they are not to suffer alone but to have an abundant life. They are not stepchildren in the kingdom of God. It also strengthens my own faith.

    This forum gives dear, precious people an opportunity to see that, while these types of damaging views may never go away, there are other Christian brothers & sisters who will stand up and say these view are damaging. We care. Because we believe what the whole counsel of the Bible says. By speaking up, and against these hurtful views, we defend the hurting. They may have experienced ambiguity, contradictions, unfair expectations. They may feel confused. They need us to be clear on where we stand. They are the ones I have in mind when I comment & I wish I could do better.

    This forum is safe. Discussions are not face to face (which may be too painful) but at a safe distance. These discussions may help restore faith. They may long for another Christian to understand or accept them and are able to find that here. They watch and see and learn how to speak up and defend themselves. And learn what the Bible actually has to say. There are many wise, knowledgeable commenters here that understand the Bible quite well. Praise God.

    I haven’t seen another blog like it. That’s a credit to Julie Anne & the commenters here.

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  26. Thank you, A Mom. You are completely understanding the method to the madness (because I admit, there is certainly madness when we engage the other side).

    I think I’m going to keep it on file because you explained exactly what I am doing and the reasons.

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  27. A Mom – A follow-up to your excellent comment – – I am paying close attention to the responses of my readers. Many times I don’t have to say a word because the “watchdogs” will come out quickly and give warning barks at the wolf wanting to devour. If I didn’t have these watchdogs, I probably would be pulling in the reigns a lot more. But what I see going on here is very healthy push back and challenge. It thrills me to pieces to see this kind of response.

    And I’ll never forget Gail (AKA scared)’s story. She, who would go away when things got threatening, then come back, then take a little risk at posting a comment, say she was very scared at commenting. And then one day she changed her name to “Gail.” Wow – what we witnessed was someone who lived in fear. We watched her lose that fear, realized that her voice is just as important as everyone else’s voice and now her voice is so powerful. Woohoooooooooo!!! Go, Gail!!

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  28. Jeff S – I can appreciate your example, as you describe the word usage Piper chose, would certainly come off destructive. However, from reading his article, it seems you are misapplying what Piper meant, maybe combining all-things-piper into the article. I haven’t read everything he’s put out on divorce, so I may be missing something here. I thought his concerns with IBs position had merit and could be considered; if not should be. But the word he used is sticking out, and I can see how others, many, especially those who have been caught in the throws of a bad marriage, would take offense – as you have pointed out.

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  29. B4B – in response to your above comment. I am referring to ANY pastor, in any pulpit, who suggests that any kind of martyrdom (suffering needlessly at the hands of a tyrannical husband, for instance) is some sort of ‘trade off’ for great joy in the next life – it’s utter nonsense. If you are suggesting that the Apostle Paul supports this kind of spiritual misery, all the more reason for me to have complete disdain for scripture. The point is that ANY kind of twisted theology that promotes damaging, hurtful policies towards parishioners is – and should be recognized by any intelligent person – an ABUSE OF POWER. That’s what many on this Blog are trying to tell you. READ AND THINK.

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  30. J.A. You make me cry, methinks Jesus is head over heels in love with how you protect the wounded, speak up against abuse… You have impacted my spiritual life in a profound way…

    However, my voice comes and goes… Odd how that works, 3 steps forward 2 steps back…

    And I concur 100% with A Mom! Beautiful words at 12:11pm. Again ( :

    When I sense kindness & mercy, my defenses fall… For all the men here who have taken a stand against cruel comments, you guys along with JA make this a safe haven. God Bless the watchdogs. I read this blog religiously, I am learning so much. I am not scared anymore to comment, I feel a little shy & insecure because I feel like I am among the brightest & kindest minds here. (Well, for the most part)

    I pray a lot for Born4Battle. I don’t think I was as cruel as he comes across at times, but there was a time when I believed or was indoctrinated and spewed the same talking points.

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  31. Julie Anne wrote:

    So, that’s part of the method of my madness in allowing some of this stuff. I’m watching carefully and trying to find the right balance of not letting it get out of hand.

    If someone is actually engaging in a beneficial dialogue and getting a proper back and forth with another person, that’s great, even if they never agree. That’s not what I’m seeing with some of the discussions here. I see a person swoop in to challenge (that can be a good thing), but then dodge questions that are repeatedly posed to them by posing other questions, then finally moving on to jump on an entirely different poster. That’s not dialogue, it’s cowardly predation. A Mom is right that people need to see this, as it exposes the radioactive venom that is found in abusive churches, and enables people to see the occasional flowery speech used to hide the fangs waiting to inject the poison.

    Basically, if you’re being repeatedly ignored when you pose questions to the same person, you’re probably better off to disengage and put your energy to more edifying uses.

    Like

  32. Gary,

    What you are doing is taking this verse out of context. The verse you mentioned is not an atomic truth statement like you are treating it. If you really want to know more about this, study David Instone-Brewer on marriage and divorce.

    Like

  33. Ric, when I originally read those articles, I was convinced by Piper’s position, as much as I did not like his word choice. As I said, IB’s article was not that great (as he admits)

    However, after reading IB’s book I no longer had any doubt his position is the Biblical one.

    Regarding the word choice- however it was meant, using the word “tragic” was not a wise choice.

    Like

  34. Eric said: “That’s not what I’m seeing with some of the discussions here. I see a person swoop in to challenge (that can be a good thing), but then dodge questions that are repeatedly posed to them by posing other questions, then finally moving on to jump on an entirely different poster. That’s not dialogue, it’s cowardly predation. ”

    Right, but isn’t that also important for people to see and identify? Eric, you and some others are very quick to spot this. Others are not so quick. We have to keep in mind that everybody is at a different place (again, that balancing act). Once they see you call it out, then they may take a second look with new eyes.

    Basically, if you’re being repeatedly ignored when you pose questions to the same person, you’re probably better off to disengage and put your energy to more edifying uses.

    Again, you led the way on this today here by speaking up about it and then Tom Parker echoed you. You modeled to the rest of us how to handle it in a healthy way.

    I’m sure for those who are able to see the big picture more clearly, there is probably more frustration. But keep in mind your comments are beneficial to so many because of your experience.

    Like

  35. Gail- -I think the 3 steps forward, 2 steps back is very normal. It’s a process. Didn’t Ken say recently he’s still learning after 17 years? That’s a long time.

    Like

  36. Julie Anne,
    Thanks for sharing Gail (AKA scared)’s story. I did not know.

    Gail (AKA scared),
    I look up to you. You are a courageous woman. I’m glad you find hope & healing here. The loving people here are a living, breathing 1 Cor 12:24-26 body.

    This place is helping me to heal as well. I was a silent, watching to see if it was safe. It’s safe, not because damaging views are absent (they abound in the real world) but because God’s truth & love live here, defended by heroic men & women.

    1 Cor 12:24-26 …But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

    Like

  37. Jeff S – that’s fair, I think. I do intend to pull the string on IBs material as well. I remember this topic being somewhat confrontational from when I first believed in the early eighties. It’s not been resolved since then??? heh.

    I don’t expect all the scholars to agree with each other, nor do I expect that they will always be right. Should they be? I think so, and I wish they’d always consider the impact of their words prior to writing them (all the scholars). But I also consider that these are unrealistic expectation; perfection when we all have feet of clay.

    This is not a blanket to cover folks who should improve, merely a statement of my own state that keeps me from going nuts especially after decades and decades have past and intelligent, highly educated men and women still disagree on matters that appear quite simple for folks such as they.

    Like

  38. What an appropriate verse. I love it, A Mom. You all have helped me in my healing process, too. I have my moments. I remember one day I just could not put up a post and I just said something like, please pray. Oh, how you all touched my heart that day. I should always have a Kleenex box nearby – like now – because you guys make me cry a lot. And it’s not usually because of sadness, but because of the love and heartfelt responses I see here. Thank you all. I may have just smeared my mascara – darn it.

    Like

  39. RE: carmen’s July 24, 2013 @ 12:59 PM

    You lampooned as ‘spiritual abuse’ the contents of an actual passage of scripture uttered by Paul, who knew more about persecution and abuse than any of us can imagine. I responded to ‘words on a page’.

    Like

  40. Don Johnson,

    At 1:45 you say I am taking Mt 5:32 out of context. Fair enough (this appears to be the first time I have been told I’m taking something out of context when it isn’t just an attempt to shut down discussion). I’m zeroing in on the word “make” to indicate that there is culpability on the part of the spouse who forces the other spouse to act outside what I take to be God’s perfect will, as opposed to permissive will. I now have Instone-Brewer’s book on my ever lengthening Amazon wish list. For now, however, I am wondering if you could just give me a brief summary of what it is this verse actually indicates, and why.

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  41. B4B, It might shock you to hear me say that Carmen is more important to Christ than ‘words on a page’. Lots of blood shed over interpretations. Mercy and love is a great thing for folks who might be questioning, angry, or unbelieving. I think Christ prefers it.

    Even if you are right, what do you gain? Spiritual brownie points for using scripture as a club?

    Like

  42. Predisposed4Contention,

    You absolutely need to back off of Carmen. She needs your love, not your typically contemptible, fundamentalist style I’m-more-superior-than-thou, snarky, confrontational, put downs. There is the potential for you to be doing a lot of damage here. You are more and more helping to convince me that if there is no love, there is no truth.

    Like

  43. B4B,

    Is that what you are offering kids (or anyone) who has been abused in/by church? A lecture about how the apostle Paul suffered more than anyone can imagine?

    Ummm, who are you really, B4B? Have you told us the truth about the details of your life?

    Like

  44. B4B:
    How about now answering those questions that Diane and Gary W. asked you a while back. Diane has reminded you and I’ve asked you now twice.

    Diane’s time stamp for her question is as follows. Your answer had been “think CONtext” which really isn’t much of an answer and I can only think you’re yelling the first syllable????

    Diane
    JULY 24, 2013 @ 8:58 AM

    Here’s my request for Gary’s question once again:

    Monique
    July 23, 2013 @ 5:32 PM
    B4B:

    Also Gary W’s question re: commentary you used:
    “If you don’t mind, what commentary were you referring to on 7/22 @ 3:53 PM you when “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary . . . “?”

    Like

  45. B4B said, “think CONtext.” The first thing that came to my mind when I saw that was that he was telling us he is a conman or convict or both.

    His last comment has me wondering even more about who he is.

    But I think B4B should answer Monique/Diane/Gary W’s question for himself.

    Like

  46. Hi Gary,

    On Matt 5:32, one thing to see in general but it applies here is that a Jewish way of teaching is to just tell a part of the teaching and one is supposed to know that the whole teaching is a part of it. This means that the other verses in Matt specifically and the gospels in general on divorce are relevant for what Jesus taught. That is, one needs to try to reconstruct the entire teaching of Jesus into something coherent from the pieces that Matt specifically and the gospels in general provide.

    In this specific case, we can see that Matt 19:3-12 is the larger framework/context. The next thing to see is that where does text like Matt 5:31-32 fit into Matt 19? Well, Matt 19:9 is very similar to Matt 5:32, so that is where I would place it into the larger context. And Matt 5:31 is a lead in like the text in Matt 19:3-8.

    So that means one needs to figure out what is going on in Matt 19:3-12. Matt 19:3 is a verse that has been misunderstood for over 1750 years according to DIB. And it is the question that sets the context for the whole passage. What it means and what most translations do not show is that the Pharisees are asking whether Hillel’s “Any Matter” divorce (that is, divorce by a husband for any or no reason) is found in Deu 24:1 (to use verses which did not exist back then) which was a current debate at the time of Jesus that we can know about from the Jewish Mishnah. This drastically limits the scope of the question. The way it is normally translated makes one think the scope is general, but it is actually a very specific question. Once one sees what the specific question is one can also see that Jesus does not answer it, at least right away. Instead he is addressing OTHER things that the Pharisees misinterpret about Torah, but in order to see that, one needs to know what they taught and one can again find this in the Mishnah. But Jesus does eventually get around to answering their specific question in Mat 19:9 but again, one needs to understand it in cultural context. He uses the terms of Shammai (the guy Hillel was debating on the subject of divorce and many other things in the Mishnah) to say that Hillel’s “Any Matter” divorce is not valid. And this is what he is again saying in Mat 5:32 except he makes it a symmetric discussion around the (invalidly) divorced wife. Since she was invalidly divorced, she is still married to her original husband, so that is why someone who marries her commits adultery. Now there is also some hyperbole going on, but that is what Jesus meant, he was taking away the supposed ability of a husband to divorce his wife for no reason at all. But people misunderstand this and condemnation is the result, which should not be.

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  47. bfourb:

    Please tell your typing hands to look my (and Monique’s) way.

    Leave Carmen alone and focus on my questions, if you would please. I cannot tell you how much I would appreciate an answer. Do you have an answer for me?

    If I didn’t know any better, I could be starting to get a complex or something…the way you evade/don’t see/ignore/choose to overlook my questions. 🙂 Say it ain’t so!!!

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  48. Gary W. wrote :

    Predisposed4Contention,

    You absolutely need to back off of Carmen. She needs your love, not your typically contemptible, fundamentalist style I’m-more-superior-than-thou, snarky, confrontational, put downs.

    You dang sure better quit it, you predator. I apologized the other day, but I’ve had about all of your garbage that I’m going to take, you coward.

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  49. Diane, he’s not going to answer you. Just look at the way he dives in and out of the threads here. He avoids the people that stand up to him, and jumps on thos whom he percieves to be weak or suffering. He’s just a miserable, old, cowardly predator.

    Like

  50. Since this is WordPress, JA should have my email address. I give her permission to give it to anyone who would like to speak with me about unanswered questions.

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  51. Don,

    Thank you for your succinct but well packed answer. I can see how it is going beyond the actual point Jesus was making when I say “Looks like the person who causes the divorce bears the responsibility for forcing the innocent party into adultery if they remarry.” Still, I wonder if there isn’t something to the fact that Jesus says the husband “makes” the wife to commit adultery, as opposed to saying the wife commits adultery.

    Anyhow, one more book calling out to be read. Actually, Instone-Brewer has more than one book on Amazon. I’ve added “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church” to my Amazon wish list, but maybe “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible” is a better starting place? O.K., now they’re both on my list.

    Like

  52. They also have your blog address, too, so they can talk to you about things there. Oh, wait, you chicken out of discussions on your own blog and just delete people’s comments. What a cowardly gasbag.

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  53. No, B4B, I at least am not going to be manipulated into jumping through your hoops to beg for something common courtesy demands you volunteer right here and now. Power plays for the sake of power plays just won’t cut it.

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  54. And one more thing. I certainly am not going to give B4B an opportunity to deluge me with emails, hidden from public view. If what he says under public scrutiny is any indication, can you imagine what it would be like if he had your email address? No thanks.

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  55. Divorce and Remarriage in te Bible is the one you want. In the Church is (from what I understand) written to be more accessable, but I’ve heard it’s not as good. If you can handle the deep dive into his scholarly work, In the Bible is they way to go (I found it to be interesting and not difficult to read, persobally).

    Usually, if people want something more accessable then I recommend Barbara Roberts book, which is also excellent. She focuses on 1 Cor 7, but her exegesis is sound and it is well written.

    But for IB and his work, I can’t recommend “In The Bible” enough.

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  56. Hey Mandy and everyone – I just got home and saw what transpired, but I must make some dinner for the fam. I’m going to pray that God will help me to choose my words and help me steer this blog in the right direction so that it is safe for all. Hang tight. I’ll come back with a response.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you have concerns/thoughts: spirituslsb @ gmail.com I will read them before commenting.

    Thanks!

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  57. Gary W, good warning. I would not recommend going offline with B4B either.

    B4B, That is how a wolf works. We are getting to know you better & better.

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  58. A Mom writes:

    If they think God wants a marriage to last, aren’t the violations the problem? Aren’t the violations what render a covenant/contract void? The resulting actions (divorce, prosecution, etc.) are a formality.

    This is the heart of the matter here. The divorce was already committed; the resulting actions were formal recognitions of that fact.

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  59. @bfourb

    “Since this is WordPress, JA should have my email address. I give her permission to give it to anyone who would like to speak with me about unanswered questions.”

    You commented publically so please answer it publically. Private email discussion is a distraction and an insincere one. I am going to conclude that you read your interpretation into the verse, since you refuse to provide any explanation other than
    “CONtext.” This is very disappointing.

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  60. “What it means and what most translations do not show is that the Pharisees are asking whether Hillel’s “Any Matter” divorce (that is, divorce by a husband for any or no reason) is found in Deu 24:1 (to use verses which did not exist back then) which was a current debate at the time of Jesus that we can know about from the Jewish Mishnah. This drastically limits the scope of the question. The way it is normally translated makes one think the scope is general, but it is actually a very specific question. ”

    Thanks Don! This lays it out better than the videos, I think and in a synopsis. The thing is, Jesus’ Jewish audience would have known the reference as it was a topic of the time.

    So many miss the “spirit” of the teaching for the letter of some badly interpreted law which excludes historical context. Scripture cannot replace the Holy Spirit.

    After all the years of seeing comp seminars, marriage sermons, etc, I really do believe a focus on Christ and being Christlike is the answer to the problems in marriage. In that context, abusers don’t fit in. But they love comp seminars and pecking order marriage sermons.

    God does not expect us to stay married to people who hate and harm us. And people who abuse/harm you, hate you.

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  61. The one MAJOR thing that I see of the Calvinist…they are too CARNAL for me. Christians are to be SPIRITUAL, not CARNAL.

    They often quote 1 Cor 2:14
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    But read 1 Cor 2 and 3 and you will see that the Corinthians were the natural man…Christians, who are not spiritual.

    The Calvinist will attempt to sway you to believe that the natural man are those who are unregenerate, whatever that means in English. Ahhh, I know what it means…it means that anyone who is not a Calvinist are the natural man, and that Calvinists are the Spiritual man….NOT.

    Calvinists refuse to see a marriage in light of us being married to God. Once married to God, there will never be a divorce, because GOD WILL NOT abandon us, abuse us, hurt us, etc.

    Where does God allow for his bride to suffer? We are to run TO HIM for COMFORT, not FROM HIM in FEAR. He states of the Holy Spirit, in that the Holy Spirit is our COMFORTER.

    Calvinists have no clue as to how to SPIRITUALLY discern anything in the Bible. They are more focused on CARNAL EXEGESIS. Who really cares about that?

    Ed

    Like

  62. “This place is helping me to heal as well. I was a silent, watching to see if it was safe. It’s safe, not because damaging views are absent (they abound in the real world) but because God’s truth & love live here, defended by heroic men & women.”

    Yes, A Mom! Thank-You, I love the ferocious gals & men here… Baby steps for me…

    J.A. I must have missed Ken’s comment, yet glad to hear: “Gail- -I think the 3 steps forward, 2 steps back is very normal. It’s a process. Didn’t Ken say recently he’s still learning after 17 years? That’s a long time.
    Comforting to read that… I am not alone in the process. xo

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  63. Born4Battle:

    You know and have been reminded numerous times that this blog is here for people who were spiritually abused. We’ve talked a lot about extending grace to people. I think I have extended grace to you. In this environment where people are free to use their voices to express themselves, many have been very honest with you, telling you how your words have affected them. Sometimes your words/tone have reminded them of their former church leaders/pastor. Yet, not once have you acknowledged the hurt that you have caused, instead you have ignored that pain and continued in the same behavior, even after a time-out in the SSB “dog house” and being moderated.

    This is a place where feelings count and you have dismissed and ignored the pain caused by your words. Where is the love of Christ in that?

    Many times you have challenged us, asked us questions, we have responded, yet you have not given us the same courtesy. In fact, today, multiple times this subject has been brought up, yet you continue to give rude comments and still evade those questions.

    Apparently, communication to you is a one-way street and only on your terms because later today, you invited people to contact me to arrange behind-the-scene connections via e-mail so that you could address their specific questions. That is not going to happen. I have seen how you have treated spiritual abuse survivors publicly. How will you treat them privately with no other eyes watching you? I will under no circumstances arrange for them to contact you privately behind the scenes. It started here, it must remain here. Period.

    I am big on closure. If you have a response to those questions, please send them through the blog and I will publish them. However, beyond that, I will not be approving posts of yours until I see proof of a major change in your heart, and after much prayer and consideration.

    By the way, I know that I and others have been praying for you. People have told me via e-mail. That has amazed me because some who have been hurt the most realize that something is amiss and want the best for you – enough to pray for you. I pray that God will soften your heart so that you can see what has happened here and make things right. You know how to reach me. ~ja

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  64. Eric and Lydiasellerofpurple, I really appreciate each of your very blunt, articulate posts, in particular your defense of those being bullied. As JA has pointed out, allowing B4B to continue speaking freely provides a dialogue and challenges us to think. For me, continuing to dialogue with someone like this on this safe venue has helped build courage also be willing to do so in person when necessary. However, I still am so easily triggered by the passive aggressive BS, the non-responses, the belittling comments that suggest if you were a real Christian you would CLEARLY see things his way, blah blah blah. Knowing that you’ve got Carmen’s back and others gives me courage to stick around here. So thanks.

    Like

  65. RP, Thanks for the compliment, and I’m glad you got some benefit from your interactions with BeFurby. I’m sure you’ve noticed the pattern in his interactions here: at first, shotgunning towards all who disagree, then after gleaning the responses, and a few parting shots at those who won’t play into his game, he focuses on those who will engage him. The bitter rhetoric ramps up until a few people call him out on it, so he ducks for cover, only to pop up and take a few pot shots at people whom he considers easy, weak targets. JA smacked his nose with a newspaper and put him in the kennel, and he played the sad puppy for a day or so, but then his true nature inevitably resurfaced, lashing out at Carmen.

    In the midst of all this were the plaintive cries of how he is the one being bullied and persecuted. The thing is, when you cry not being shown grace from people who have previously shown you grace and gotten tired of having it spat back into their faces, you’re not a victim, you’re a manipulator. I’ve seen the fire-breathing fundamentalists do this same thing to people on other forums; they’re seeking to be a powerful influence on a weaker or less informed person. If you agree with them, they’re your best buddy online, but quibble with them in any way, and you immediately become the new target of their witch hunt.

    Ed nailed some points squarely on the head in his last post. This behavior is firmly based in carnal desire for power and influence, not in personal spiritual growth and healing. I write a lot of long-winded stuff, not to get anyone to agree with me or gain followers, but hopefully, to get people to think about some ideas and take them in their own direction, for their own growth. Doesn’t matter at all to me if they wind up agreeing with or supporting my position, the point is to gain intellectual independence. Being able to retain independent critical reasoning can be one of the most powerful defenses against spiritual and psychological abuse. “You’re wrong” can be a weapon meant to weaken someone; “I don’t agree” is a tool for clearer communication. I try to only use “you’re wrong” in the context of someone misunderstanding or misrepresenting my position.

    Were any of you to hang out with me for a while, you’d probably say that I’m one of the most laid-back guys you’ve ever met. And I really am, but I have a great deal of passion for certain things and values, and that passion comes out swinging when I perceive one of those values to be violated. Those of you that are familiar with Kiersey/Myers-Briggs typology will find me deep within INFP territory. Letting people think for themselves in peace and freedom is one of my big passions. Doctrines are fine, so long as they remain only doctrines, and not be used as tests to determine a “real Christian” or instruments of punishment and torment for dissenters.

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  66. Why do I get so passionate about people thinking for themselves, and being to do so ably? Let’s look at a verse from the Sermon on the mount that doesn’t get mentioned nearly as much as the rest of it. Mt. 5:48, NAS “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Perfect is a poor translation for modern English speakers in this verse. The greek word that is being translated as ‘perfect’ is teleios (teleioi in the first use, teleios in the second; the difference is in being plural in the first and singular in the second.) To modern English speakers, ‘perfect’ means ‘flawless’. But this is not the real meaning of teleios which means ‘fully developed’, ‘matured’, ‘needing nothing for completeness’, ‘finished’. To use this Greek word as ‘perfect’ requires us to extend the meaning of teleios to what we understand today as the word perfect. No human can ever be perfect in this world, but we can be mature, fully developed, and even complete. If we are earnestly striving for the goal of maturity and completeness, we don’t have to subordinate ourselves to other people in a church hierarchy, we are in the growth process of the independence of the Father. The Father gives the rain that brings the real growth; we humans can only till the soil and plant the seeds.

    We are to grow and mature, and help others towards that maturity and fullness. How can anyone ever hope to reach maturity, fullness, and needing nothing more for completion when we submit ourselves to a human authority that wants to control our thoughts?

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  67. Hello good people on Julie Anne’s Blog! I’m four hours ahead of most of you (on the East Coast of Canada) so I missed many of the comments that were put on when I was having my supper and then – in the evening – taking our grandchildren out for an Ice Cream Social. So it’s with great amusement (regarding B4B) that I read these comments this morning. Please don’t think that I am – IN ANY WAY- weak, nor do I feel picked on. Since I called this fellow on his fundamentalist ‘ranting’ on his own Blog a few topics back, he’s obviously targeting me for the nerve I touched.
    I cannot imagine that he would feel superior to the good, honest, kind, forthright, intelligent Christians who are commenting on here. The fact that I DON’T consider myself a Christian, perhaps, has put me on his ‘hit’ list – I’m fine with that! You see, he’s the kind of Christian I really take exception to – the ones who wave the Bible around as some sort of flag of self-righteousness, and somehow think they’ve got the moral high ground. It just doesn’t work that way. To me, that kind of fundamentalism is dangerous – and a FACT to many people in North America who still have images of the smoking towers. I think everyone should be leery of that kind of Christian. Or perhaps, more specifically, that kind of man.

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  68. On DIB, I recommend all his books, I have them all. He wrote the big one on divorce first and the other one latter, so it has some info the first does not have. If you can afford it, get both.

    Back to Matt 5
    Mat 5:31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
    Mat 5:32 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.

    So what this means in cultural context is that a husband was taught by Hillel that he could divorce his wife just by writing and then handing her a certificate of divorce, she did not even need to do anything wrong (this is unstated, but implied once you know the context). Jesus opposed such “Any Matter” divorces where the wife was divorced for no reason at all. He agreed with Shammai that Deu 24:1 only allowed a divorce for sexual immorality. However, there is a LOT not stated and those are the other possible reasons for divorce, such as neglect or abuse which are given in Ex 21:10-11. These were not discussed by Jesus. In Matt 19 Jesus corrects seven (7!) misinterpretations of Torah by the Pharisees, but one needs to know what they taught to be able to see this clearly. For a 1st century Jew, they knew what the Pharisees taught as they were the judges in the local courts, so they lived it, but we need to study to know about it.

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  69. Born4Battle: Did you read my comment addressed to you last night? Apparently, you didn’t because you did not heed my words when you submitted that last comment (which was not approved). Instead of looking at yourself to see how your words have affected people, you once again think you get to use my blog to tell people how to act as Christians. That’s not happening here. Sorry.

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  70. Julie Anne, feel free to send it to ME if you like, I bet it’s directed my way! ha, ha. He really is amusing. . . . see what I mean about the moral high ground?? That kind of arrogance I find very easy to deflect.

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  71. Eric,

    You gave an excellent summary of what transpired with Born4Battle. I’m glad you did because many people may not have followed along the whole time, or some may not have seen the same signs that you saw. You are very good at taking a look at the full picture. I’ve greatly appreciated your insight.

    I probably should not have approved his comment to Carmen yesterday (I was at lunch with friends and was distracted when I hit “approve”). I knew something was up when I read the strong responses – whew you guys are good! Anyway, the strong responses clued me in that I missed something. Sorry about missing that. And thanks to those who dealt directly and strongly with your comments in defense of Carmen.

    Carmen, I’m glad that you could see through that and am very pleased that you feel comfortable here. I had no idea that you had an exchange with him on his blog. That does add more to the story – very interesting.
    Switching subjects – our East Coast in the US is 3 hours difference from West Coast. So you are even further east to go into a new time zone! Wow. Learn something new every day. The Navy took us to Maine in the early 90s. I loved it – gorgeous country – and can only imagine how beautiful it is on the East Coast of Canada.

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  72. Actually, Carmen, he’s correcting all of us with his biblical “wisdom.” It wasn’t about you at all. And he just now sent in another one which will be sent to the trash box for not following my instructions.

    You get no podium or platform here, B4B.

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  73. Julie Anne, the exchange I had with him was on here, on a post last week – can’t remember. But he included his Blog name, which I checked out and then wrote something back to you about it, on here – which he surely saw! Just to clear up the confusion! I wouldn’t give him any audience on that Blog of his; it’s full of hate messages, thinly disguised as Christian rhetoric. If you ever want to take a vacation. . we’ve always got room! It’s much the same scenery as Maine, which we love!

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  74. Carmen – Thanks much for that offer. That’s a dream of mine – I’d love to also visit Prince Edward Island. Maybe one day!

    I’ve heard reports that there is heavy moderation on his blog. Tread with caution.

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  75. Julie Anne said, “Eric, You gave an excellent summary of what transpired with Born4Battle. I’m glad you did because many people may not have followed along the whole time, or some may not have seen the same signs that you saw. You are very good at taking a look at the full picture. I’ve greatly appreciated your insight.”

    Agreed. And what Eric described in his 2:45 post sounds like spiritual abuse, IMO.

    I pocketing Eric’s quote of Richard Beck July 20 7:49 for myself, but I think it works here:
    Richard Beck hit the nail squarely on the head when he wrote, “When you hear a person say that they love God more than people they are preparing to hurt someone.” The uber-Calv fundamentalist argument posits God as the only object worth loving as the low view of people hinders the ability to love one’s neighbor in a healthy manner.

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  76. JA to B4B @ 6:01 AM: “[Y]ou once again think you get to use my blog to tell people how to act as Christians. That’s not happening here.” JA now enjoys the distinction of sharing more than just initials with a certain hero, martyr and canonized saint. The two now join in the distinction of having been instrumental in the lifting of a siege. The other JA was instrumental in the lifting of the siege of Orléans during the Hundred Years’ War. I speak, of course, of the Maid of Orléans, Jeanne d’Arc in her native tongue, Joan of Arc to us.

    B4B, you have been routed by a woman! Actually you have been routed by every woman on this blog, women who have defeated you by showing nothing but grace and mercy.

    I must resist the temptation to indulge a goodly measure of schadenfreude

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  77. A Mom – LOL – You typed out his name! B4B is beyond the doghouse at this point. You weren’t in the doghouse. You were just “held up.” 🙂

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  78. That’s a nice compliment, Gary W., but whoa, being compared with a canonized saint?

    There are other words for JA that I’ve been called (and I can sometimes be) Use your imagination 😉

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  79. I echo all the thanks for making this a safe place from bully behavior. I’ve learned as well so much from all of the articulate and intelligent dialogue here. I have to say, reading B4B’s comments has been an “enlightening” experience to say the least. I’ve wondered to myself more than a few times if he’s really for real or just trolling…..

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  80. Monique – I think he’s the real deal. Remember hearing about my former pastor, how he can’t let things go and stalks former members? They are all from the same mold.

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  81. Yeah, I thought he was “done” with us a few blog posts back…..well, unfortunately his comments have been more of a “clanging symbol” than anything else.

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  82. “There are other words for JA that I’ve been called (and I can sometimes be) Use your imagination ;)”

    Judge Advocate? Jury Analyst? Jelly Assessor?

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  83. JA,

    Use my imagination to think what names you may have been called? That’s easy. One need only consider what sorts epithets would have been applied to the original Joan of Arc by the humiliated MEN of the armies she defeated.

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  84. a mom wrote~

    “The uber-Calv fundamentalist argument posits God as the only object worth loving as the low view of people hinders the ability to love one’s neighbor in a healthy manner.”

    If you keep telling yourself (as a believer like I see so many doing) you are the worst sinner you know, a “chief of jerks” (ala RS Clark recently on his blog to which I want to say—REALLY?….you really believe that?) and/or nothing better than slime worthy of hell, then you will view others like you and treat them accordingly. It is horrible way to view oneself who, as a believer, is a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and adopted son or daughter, chosen, blessed, favored, redeemed, forgiven. (Eph 1)

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  85. Julie Anne

    These posts, comment threads, and commenters – are just wonderful…

    Enjoying reading – Learning so much

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  86. I haven’t read through all of the comments here, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of this has been said already. I am of the belief that God designed marriage to be for life. Marriage is certainly important to God. The Bible speaks frequently of marriage and family, even equating Christ and the Church to husband and wife. Some manuscripts of Malachi 2:16 do say, “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord.” In this sense, marriage is designed to be permanent.

    Many people get divorced over reasons that they should work through but don’t try hard enough. I would say divorce for reasons like that is sin, and the best course of action would be to attempt to reconcile the differences and get back together. That is of course assuming that both people are still unmarried. While I think many Christians are progressing in their attitudes on divorce, there is still a lacking of grace and forgiveness towards divorcees. Would God be happy that the couple divorced for petty reasons? I doubt it. If they can’t reconcile however, I don’t believe that is something we should hold over their heads for the rest of their lives. Should one or both people remarry, I think God would be happy in that new union, especially if they learned from the mistakes of their past and made their new marriage God-honoring. Furthermore, the people in the second marriage now have a committment to one another that should not be broken. I do not believe God would want these new vows to be broken for the old ones to be renewed. I believe God would show grace and love toward the new marriage.

    All of this assumes that the divorce was for more petty reasons. I believe things are different when we are talking more cases of infidelity, abuse, criminal conduct, things of that nature. In these cases, I believe it is ultimately up to the individual if they want to remain in the marriage. Can God heal these types of marriages? I believe he can. Should people in these types of marriages work towards fixing the marriage? I believe they should insomush as the capable. It may be that they are not capable at all and it is evident from the beginning, or that their efforts are going nowhere. I believe they would be justified in seeking a divorce.

    Then there is another issue. What if your partner is seeking a divorce that you do not agree with? What if your attempts to work on it do nothing to deter your partner? We are accountable for only our own actions. Would God blame you for the divorce? Would God want you to suffer through a loveless life because you are remaining comitted even though your spouse has gone off on their own? I think it is up to the individual to determine where that point is, but I believe God is the God of peace, and living in that kind of turmoil indefintely is not peaceful and I doubt it would be God’s plan.

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  87. Amos,

    Sneeze? Not exactly of course, although there is a certain release or relieving of pressure with either phenomenon. It’s just that the release associated with schadenfreude is rather dark in nature, the word being, as I understand it, a combination of the German for harm (schaden) and joy (freude). I suppose, but do not know, that schaden is related to shade, so that I think of schadenfreude, taking pleasure in another’s misfortune or discomfiture, as “dark joy.”

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  88. Diane wrote

    “If you keep telling yourself (as a believer like I see so many doing) you are the worst sinner you know, a “chief of jerks” (ala RS Clark recently on his blog to which I want to say—REALLY?….you really believe that?) and/or nothing better than slime worthy of hell, then you will view others like you and treat them accordingly. It is horrible way to view oneself who, as a believer, is a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and adopted son or daughter, chosen, blessed, favored, redeemed, forgiven. (Eph 1)”

    This constant self-deprecation produces horrible effects on human behavior, especially when combined with a doctrine of determinism (hard-core predestination). Recent studies have shown that people who are exposed to messages refuting free will have a greater tendency to cheat and steal afterwards. Combine that with the constant messages of one's depravity, and it's no surprise that some people feel no remorse at all after their bad behavior. After all, it really can't be their fault, can it?

    Since psychology and theology affect one another so deeply, it's important to emphasize the positive teachings of religion, e.g, love, grace, charity, kindness, rather than sin, depravity, judgement, wrath, and retribution, not because it simply makes people feel good as the criticism goes, but because it makes people behave better.

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