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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Friday, May 25, 2012

Before you say “I Do”

Announcement: As of May 4, 2012, Samuel Martin's book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" is now available for free - For details, please see -  http://samuelmartin.blogspot.com/2012/05/pen-is-mightier-than-punch.html

Before you say “I Do”
I have been pretty active in the last five years or so concerning the issue of corporal punishment and the Bible and I am pleased to say that I am thankful for some of the results that have been and continue to be achieved through this activity.  I plan to continue right on in advocating for more accurate, studied theological positions on this issue. So much more work needs to be done. 

However, there are many other social issues which need attention because people are hurting and I really feel the pain that so many have. One area that has become particularly important to me of late is the issue of marriage, divorce and remarriage. This issue by the way is directly linked to the issue of corporal punishment of children in many Christian contexts and I will have more to say on that soon.

I have an online friend who has suffered greatly in a marriage where her husband did not treat her nicely for the last 25 years. For the last five years, she found herself suffering from really terrible mental abuse. Thankfully, she was not physically abused, but to be in a marriage to someone who does not act nicely, behave like a caring person or show even the common decency that one would expect from someone who is supposed to be in love with another person (which I think is fairly obvious that people who are married should actually love each other and that love should be growing stronger with time, not becoming weaker), this is certainly not a pleasant experience and for her is was a time of great personal suffering.

So, my online friend reached out to me with a couple of questions. To make a long story short, I would say over a time period of about one month, I was able to provide my online friend with some solid information from the Scriptures that (along with many other inputs) helped her a lot.

To any Christian who is facing hard situations in life, accurate information from the Word of God is often what is needed the most. We need accurate information about what the Bible is teaching and about what it means for us today.

Let me say though that I, of course, do not have a monopoly on the truth about this or any other issue, but I do have God’s book in front of me to study and as I have learned with my study of the issue of corporal punishment and what many Bible teachers are telling us and have told us in the past, many of the understandings that these dear people have may need a little modification.

I do not have all the answers and I am not alone. In fact, let’s refer to a book which I think shows very clearly the problem that many Bible believing God fearing Christians are facing over this issue of marriage and secondarily divorce and finally and very importantly, remarriage.

The book is titled: “Divorce and Remarriage:  Four Christian Views.” So just think about that title for a moment and what it means practically. Before we do that we need to know in summary what these four views are because let us not be confused with the fact that there is no unanimity in belief on what the Bible teaches on this issue and this is the case among major Scripture scholars teaching in seminaries or at the university level around the world. 

So what are the four views? They are that the Christian Scriptures teach that:

1.       There is no divorce and no remarriage
2.       Divorce is allowed, but after one has divorced, remarriage is not allowed
3.       Divorce and Remarriage are both allowed if one has been the victim of adultery or desertion
4.       Divorce and Remarriage allowed under a variety of different circumstances

Now concerning this book, which came out in 1990, which I absolutely urge any interested party to read, what we find therein are four essays by four Christian professors all teaching at the university or seminary level and each one is advocating for the truth of his (yes – they are all men in this book along with the editor) respective position. Then in each chapter each of the respective authors rebuts the position of the other professors. 

Let me tell you a fact. This book when I first read it got me so angry and annoyed that Christians could not find unanimity on such an important issue. Sadly, in the last 22 years, nothing has changed particularly in evangelical Christianity.

In 2006, this issue has been brought up again in another book called “Remarriage after Divorce in Today's Church: 3 Views.” Look at what Amazon tells us about this book.

 “A biblical and practical case for three main evangelical views on remarriage after divorce Among born-again Christians, 27 percent have experienced divorce as compared to 24 percent in the general population. Yet no consensus exists among evangelicals on their views of remarriage, leaving many Christians confused. This single volume summarizes and explores three main evangelical views:

1.      No remarriage
2.      Remarriage after adultery or desertion
3.      Remarriage for a variety of reasons.
Each of the three contributors offers his point of view succinctly with biblical support, and each interacts with the others to help readers come to their own conclusions. Contributors include: Gordon J. Wenham * No remarriage after divorce William A. Heth * Remarriage (two grounds) Craig S. Keener * Remarriage (variety of reasons)” - http://www.amazon.com/Remarriage-after-Divorce-Todays-Church/dp/0310255538/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337957646&sr=8-2
Yes, many Christians are confused over this issue and it’s no wonder because even the scholars can’t agree on what the Bible teaches. All along this confusion over such an important issue of marriage and who you spend your life with is bearing fruit. If you do not have it right, imagine what kind of fruit your marriage is bearing?

Let us not be confused. All of the contributors to both of these books are evangelical Christian scholars who are teaching in a seminary or university environment. It is their teachings that defend or shape their own denominational perspectives and it is they who are holding up the status quo that they were taught and believe. It is also they who are training a future generation of pastors, Bible teachers and professors.

But there is one important point about this book and the previous book. All of the various positions taken cannot be right. In fact, in the first book, three out of four of them are totally wrong. This is not me judging them. It is a simple fact of arithmetic. 

God has one view on the issue of marriage, divorce and remarriage. That is clear. So, it is clear that it is impossible for all of these dear brethren to be correct.

But what about those who are adhering to the teachings of those who are wrong? What fruit are they bearing? The experience of my online friend gives us a glimpse into such a situation. For those going through it, especially the person being victimized, it is literally a hell on earth with, for some, no escape or way out. 

Let’s not diminish the importance of this issue to the lives of people. To my online friend, I can see that she has basically been mentally tortured with being in an awful marriage to a “man” who basically was a total jerk to her and her kids. I put “man” in quotes because anyone who would treat his wife and children in the way that my online friend described to me concerning her relationship, this person, while indeed human, was anything but a real dignified honorable “man.”

I’ve been very interested as I said in the whole corporal punishment issue and I didn’t think it was the right time to really branch out and discuss other issues which I have not studied so much, but here I have to admit that while I have not personally studied this issue as well as I have the corporal punishment one, I do have specific authoritative Scripturally based resources which I trust 100% available to me which represent the highest level of scholarship on this issue. So I feel absolutely comfortable moving forward and writing about this issue. 

Judging from the reaction of my online friend to these resources, my belief and confidence in these materials has been 100% confirmed.

So, since this is the case, I will be silent no more on this issue and will be taking a specific position concerning it. But before I tell you what that position is, I think it best to give you the evidence for that position.

I would like to thank my dear online friend. I pray that through your reaching out that some other people might be blessed by a perspective which is closer to that which was communicated by Jesus and the Apostles and the one today which Jesus is still teaching us through the agency of His Holy Spirit.


Based upon on further researcher, I am delaying this series of posts due to new information I have learned. More coming on this soon.

1 comment:

Brenda K. said...

I look forward to future installments about this subject. I have seen this issue ruin friendships and divide churches. Thanks for taking it on.