Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alpha Mail: the Bible and divorce

A male reader, X, writes with a request:
My marriage is in bad shape. I have dug pretty thoroughly and do not believe there has been any actual sexual activity by my wife with anyone else. However, I have discovered other things that cause me to seriously doubt whether this marriage can ever rise to the level of mediocre. I now see her with eyes of contempt mixed with love (still). It's a weird/unpleasant combination.

I would greatly appreciate your views on what are biblically solid grounds for divorce. I have come to the edge where I am about to prefer divorce over trying to rebuild/game up/man up/whatever. However, my preference does not matter if it violates God's commands. I would rather suffer in obedience to God than seek pleasure in rebellion.
Keeping in mind that I am no expert on the subject and my preference for the abstract probably renders me a sub-optimal choice of agony aunt, I will say that X appears to have the correct attitude for a Christian man in an ugly situation. He has made his bed, he is lying in it, and he is not going to get out of it if he cannot do so without it being in accordance with God's Word. So, let's look at what it says in the definitive word on the subject in Matthew 19:3-11
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
It doesn't get much more clear than that. A lousy marriage and a bad relationship are not an excuse for divorce. Mental and physical abuse are not an excuse for divorce. Concern that the children will be maltreated are not an excuse for divorce.

However, Jesus describes divorce and then remarriage as adultery. So, this doesn't mean that divorce is completely off the table, only that one is condemning himself to a life of post-divorce celibacy. For there are is one other relevant command that would appear to permit divorce, although not subsequent remarriage.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?

This appears to indicate that one should not marry or remain married to an unbeliever. However, as per Matthew 19, remarriage is not permitted. So, I am left to conclude that in the absence of any sexual activity on his wife's part with anyone else or her overt and explicit rejection of Jesus Christ, X cannot divorce her.

So, I recommend this verse from Colossians to him. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. I have read that the word "harsh" here can also mean "bitter". X very may well have reason to be bitter, but it is important for him to avoid taking out that bitterness on his wife, as it can serve no positive purpose. On the practical side, reading Athol Kay may be of some assistance, but X is simply going to have to accept that some things cannot be fixed, they can only be endured.

At the end of the day, no one forced X to make a life commitment to the woman concerned. He chose to do so, and now he has to make the best of it. The Army doesn't let you out when you belatedly realize that volunteering to let people with guns try to shoot you was a bad idea either. My thought is that it is time for him to begin focusing on the other aspects of his life that do not depend upon his wife while doing what he can to improve his marital relationship even in the knowledge that improvement may not be possible. The silver lining is that if there is even a modicum of love remaining, there is still hope that the marriage can heal and transform into a positive, mutually beneficial relationship.

One of the problems men in unhappy marriages face is that they let their marital unhappiness dominate all aspects of their lives. But that's simply not necessary, and a man should maintain his mission and his code regardless of whether his marriage is idyllic or horrific, and indeed, regardless of whether he is married or not.

Marriage is not to be entered into lightly. Christian men should not be encouraged to marry if they are not fully ready to embrace the serious commitment it entails. If a man has any doubts, any doubts at all, about the woman with whom he is contemplating marriage, then he should not marry her.

110 comments:

Michael said...

Also, don't forget about:

1 Cor 7:12-16
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Paul appears to be giving advice rather than command, but is worth strong consideration.

xfrogman5 said...

Been there done that. If you're a Christian without grounds for divorce Vox gives the best advise possible, "My thought is that it is time for him to begin focusing on the other aspects of his life that do not depend upon his wife while doing what he can to improve his marital relationship even in the knowledge that improvement may not be possible." and "...a man should maintain his mission and his code regardless of whether his marriage is idyllic or horrific" Live your life!

TLM said...

In today's Churchian community you'll hear abuse (mental & Physical) lumped in with sexual immorality as a valid reason for divorce. It's a joke. So many chicks use the "mental" abuse to go and divorce under the "I'm not happy" BS. Anyone whose been around women for longer than 5 seconds knows that "mental"/"verbal" abuse to a woman is simply disagreeing with her. I'm waiting for the day a pastor does a sermon series calling for all those in the pews on their 2nd & 3rd marriages to repent, but I'm not holding breath waiting for it to happen.

Ted Walther said...

Vox is wrong on this one. Scripture says "Rebellion is like the sin of Witchcraft" (1 Samuel 15:23) If the woman doesn't accept your authority, and you can't enforce your authority, then she isn't your wife. She is the walking dead. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:18) Divorce is a blessing; it relieves your obligation to go through the whole trial system and see the village stone her to death.

As for remarriage, it is only forbidden when you divorce without proper cause. Without proper cause, the divorce is invalid. In the woman's case, she becomes an adulterer. In the man's case, he breaks the law about not diminishing the previous wifes allowance when he brings a new wife onboard. (Exodus 21:10)

This does limit marriage to men who have enough power to "handle" a woman. Is it a coincidence that the Biblical patriarchs got married in their 30's and 40's, after they had some manly maturity?

Here are some more relevant articles that parse what Jesus said about divorce, word by word, in context:

http://www.loveandtruth.net/derstine-divorce.html
http://www.loveandtruth.net/weiland-divorce.html
http://www.loveandtruth.net/jones-divorce.html
http://www.loveandtruth.net/brewer-divorce.html

Anonymous said...

For people that pay attention to gender language in Scripture, here's a question for you:

The passage above gives grounds for a husband to divorce his wife if she has been sexually unfaithful. Does a wife have grounds to divorce her husband if he has been sexually unfaithful?

VD said...

What part of "anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery" do you not understand?

There is nothing in there about rebellion. You can't look back to Samuel and Exodus to refine New Testament commands. The "proper cause" is "sexual immorality". While one can debate the precise meaning of "sexual immorality", one cannot claim there is any other valid cause for divorce which permits remarriage from the Christian perspective.

VD said...

I read one of the linked articles. Here is the obvious flaw in his reasoning:

"To limit porneia to only adultery or fornication would also make the Savior’s comments contradict the very plain conditions for divorce listed in Ex. 21:10-11. It is the Torah—the teachings given to Moses by Yahweh on Mt. Sinai in Arabia—which lays the foundation on this subject."

Jesus is not only contradicting the very plain conditions for Mosaic divorce, he explains the contradiction. That doesn't necessarily limit porneia to only adultery or fornication, but doesn't expand it to the full list of Mosaic justifications either.

alphamission said...

At least if your wife divorces you and you didn't cheat on her, you are morally in the clear. Quite a small consolation prize considering the divorce rape you'd receive.

Markku said...

Does a wife have grounds to divorce her husband if he has been sexually unfaithful?

Remember that the question was about men. Jesus wasn't giving the full teaching on divorce, he was answering the question as it was asked.

Now, what would have happened in OT times if the husband had been an adulterer? He would have been stoned to death (along with his mistress), this would have made the woman a widow, and she would have been completely free to remarry. I don't think the NT takes any rights away from women that would have been theirs by an accurate reading (meaning, not Pharisaic) of OT, so I'm certain that women can divorce for the same reason.

PC Geek said...

I am not necessarily arguing the point, but it seems as though the command being quoted above is forbidding the compound action of divorcing for reasons other than sexual immorality and *then following that up* with remarriage. It does not seem to imply that divorce for reasons other than sexual immorality *when not followed by remarriage* is a sin. If it were, one would think that that would be explicitly said, rather than the verse going out of it's way to proscribe that particular compound action.

In addition, although it was discouraged, the Law of Moses did permit divorce, so that would seem to imply that although a tragic event brought on by fallen human nature, in and of itself it is not always an evil act. God would not have permitted an evil act in any circumstances, but he did permit divorce (and in this verse makes no mention of it only being for sexual immorality).

As we have read here and undoubtedly many readers here have read in the manosphere, divorce is incredibly bad for the children of the destroyed marriage, so in all but the worst cases divorce should be avoided if just for their sake, but I don't see this Bible verse forbidding divorce on the grounds of, say, a wife refusing to submit to her husband.

Markku said...

And if Jesus had meant "you may only divorce your wife if she either commits adultery, or is disobedient to you" they wouldn't have called it a hard saying. They would have been like "right on, bro!"

The Dude said...

For a person who admitted to being a sub-optimal choice...that was one of the best explanations I've ever read. I'm a Christian also.

The last part was the best though. I've undergone a massive overhaul in my personality because I have to admit I used to let the world and others dictate how I felt. I flipped that thinking and decided I was going to decide how I think and feel irregardless of the outcome (keeping in mind my feelings were positive, happy, and optimistic). It may not save a marriage or the world may still bring all the bad things out...but in the end you will be filled with peace.

Trouble said...

Author Jay Adams book "Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage" is recognized as the best analysis of this issue.

Stickwick said...

I have a male friend who has been accused of being "controlling" and "abusive" by a girlfriend, and he was bewildered until I told him that nine times out of 10, that just means he's guilty of standing his ground on something and not "affirming her." Women are extremely manipulative with the definitions of these words. Do not be fooled. Listen to the Dr. Laura show for a week and you'll hear it over and over. Typical example:

Caller: I want to know if I should divorce my husband.

Dr. Laura: Why would you want to break up your family?

Caller: Because he's controlling and emotionally abusive. It's not a good example for our children.

Dr. Laura: What exactly has he done that's controlling and emotionally abusive?

Caller: He yells at me and calls me names.

Dr. Laura: What precipitated the last time?

Caller: I don't know.

Dr. Laura: It just came out of the clear blue?

Caller: Well, we were having a fight. I told him he was stupid and a bad father, and then I threw something at him, because I was so angry. That's when he yelled at me and called me a name.

Dr. Laura: I see. You provoked him. What were you fighting about?

Caller: I wanted to let my 15 year-old daughter have a co-ed sleepover that includes her boyfriend. I think we need to show her that we trust her to make good choices. My husband disagrees. He says it's ridiculous, and he refuses to see my side of it.

Dr. Laura: That's not controlling and emotionally abusive, that's having BALLS. He's right, and you need to grow up and apologize to him.

Caller: (Utter disbelief) But ... !!

Stingray said...

Wow, I think I might have to start listening to Dr. Laura.

Pete said...

A very good article. If you are a Catholic, there is always the right to annul the marriage, because it is a contract sworn between the man and woman to God. If the woman never meant to contract a lifelong marriage, or to fulfil her responsibilities as a wife - or ceases to be willing to perform them - then the husband has a right to annul it.

This means, in effect, that there was never a true marriage before God from the beginning.

gadfly said...

Adultery is sin ... can we expand the definition to porn? If we expand it to porn how about we expand it to include female porn? So if you wife gets all her hormones tickled watching the idiot box and stops fulfilling her portion of the marital bed duties, i guess you can give her a morally approved divorce.

Context said...

In this case, I'd take Vox's advise with a grain of salt and refer to those who have studied the matter in depth. It's always best to know and understand the original context:

http://www.amazon.com/Divorce-Remarriage-Bible-Literary-Context/dp/0802849431

Ted Walther said...

The book is an expansion of one of the links I posted above; David Instone Brewer posted the substance of his argument in one of the arguments (probably not the article Vox clicked on). His argumentation is excellent.

Amazon summary of David Instone-Brewers book:

To many, the New Testament's teaching on divorce and remarriage seems to be both impractical and unfair. The "plain" meaning of the texts allows for divorce only in cases of adultery or desertion, and it does not permit remarriage until the death of one's former spouse. But are these proscriptions the final word for Christians today? Are we correctly reading the scriptures that address these issues?

By looking closely at the biblical texts on divorce and remarriage in light of the first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman world, this book shows that the original audience of the New Testament heard these teachings differently. Through a careful exploration of the background literature of the Old Testament, the ancient Near East, and especially ancient Judaism, David Instone-Brewer constructs a biblical view of divorce and remarriage that is wider in scope than present-day readings.

Among the important findings of the book are that both Jesus and Paul condemned divorce without valid grounds and discouraged divorce even for valid grounds; that both Jesus and Paul affirmed the Old Testament grounds for divorce; that the Old Testament allowed divorce for adultery and for neglect or abuse; and that both Jesus and Paul condemned remarriage after an invalid divorce but not after a valid divorce. Instone-Brewer shows that these principles are not only different from the traditional church interpretation of the New Testament but also directly relevant to modern relationships.

Enhanced with pastoral advice on how to apply the biblical teaching in today's context, this volume will be a valuable resource for anyone seeking serious answers about married life.

Ted Walther said...

Vox, as long as you don't allow the New Testament to be informed and interpreted in light of the Old Testament, you will have to go through and throw out various chunks of the New Testament.

The Pharisees accused Jesus of "changing" the Law of Moses. He replied like this:

Matthew 5:18 "Until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle shall pass from this Law".

When did heaven and earth pass away, Vox?

If Jesus goes around changing the Holy Laws, you also have to throw away the part that says he is "the same yesterday, today, and forever". (Hebrews 13:8)

When read in context, Jesus did not change the Law of Moses. He upheld it.

Ted Walther said...

So, Vox, how much of the New Testament are you going to throw out? As much as Marcion did?

Ted Walther said...

And if you don't want to wait to read the book, here is the link to David Instone Brewer's article again:

http://www.loveandtruth.net/brewer-divorce.html

van Rooinek said...

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?

This appears to indicate that one should not marry or remain married to an unbeliever


Sorry, Vox, but this is flawed exigesis. Go read 1st Cor 7 for a fuller picture. Summarizing,

- a Christian who is never-married or widowed, must only marry a fellow Christian, correct,

BUT....

- a Christian already married to a nonChristian, must remain married to the unbeliever as long as the unbeliever is willing. If the unbeliever leaves, you are off the hook, but the Christian does not have license to initiate the breakup. (see 1 Cor 7:12-16)

Clearly St Paul is speaking, in the historical context, of people who converted to Christianity AFTER they were already married, and thus ended up "unequally yoked" without any disobedience on their part.

However, I don't see a loophole for modern-day disobedient Churchians (usually female), who knowingly and intentionally get unequally yoked. They shouldn't have done it... but once done, it's done.

Tiger said...

I see a lot of Christian women choosing to marry outside the church, following their tingles rather than marrying the pussy herbs who fill the pews. The stupid monogamy thing the church promotes is a big part of it. The Mormons knew how to be real men. The Mormon church really took off with the presidency of Brigham Young, coincidentally in a Jubilee year (1844). The Sabbath keeping Seventh Day Adventist church also got its big boost in that Jubilee year. Sabbath keeping and Polygamy; two fundamental planks to a Godly society.

JP (real one) said...

I haven't read any of the books mentioned, but I think a caveat is in order.

Learning more about the historical context of the Bible can be helpful. I think N.T. Wright has done some good work in this area. (I emphasize "some," as I certainly don't agree with him on everything).

However, when people do this with a single agenda in mind (e.g., promoting homosexuality, female preachers/priests, etc.), it's always accompanied by sloppy scholarship. You can "prove" almost anything by describing the context with selective data.

I'd therefore be very careful when someone pushes a more lax position on divorce based on "here's what the NT audience really heard Jesus or Paul say."

Anonymous said...

In the OT and the NT world, including the pagan world as well as the Hebrew, a man was an adulterer only by having sex with a married woman. Except for some RCC lunatics like Jerome, this idea carried over, especially legally, almost to the present and is still the law in some jurisdictions. A married man with a second (or more) wife, a concubine, a slave girl, or a single girlfriend is not an adulterer, biblically speaking.

--Niccolò Arminius



Anonymous said...

What everyone always forgets about the issue is that the Hebrews (Jews) were (all of them) and still are (sephardic) polygynous. People also forget that the law for adulteresses and their paramours was death. Since the adultery death penalty demanded by God/Moses was short-circuited by the Romans, Jesus allowed for divorce in the case of "porneia" which is a greek word that was used by the NT writers as a catch-all term to include all the Leviticus sex crimes (adultery, male homosex, bestiality, incest, menstrual sex) not just "moicheia." Under the Judges and Kings, there was no need to divorce an adulterous wife, 'cause she was going down anyway.

The OT gives us two exhortations to deal justly with "the wife of thy youth" (referencing a man's first wife taken at puberty) and to not put her away (trading her in on a new model). This common practice of the time is what Jesus is reinforcing when a says a man commits adultery when he replaces a woman he's divorced by marrying another. This is true even if the man already had a number of other wives. Jesus does not want the woman cast aside without support. Notice He says that the woman is already caused to become an adulteress by the mere fact of being divorced; this due to the need to either attach herself to another man or else prostitute herself in order to survive.

Cultural context is everything.

--Niccolò Arminius

Doom said...

I don't get much traction when I bring some of that up either. All eyes seem to find... other things to read and contemplate. I can't even get a good answer about "why not" polygamy today. Oh, I know the social and civil problems easily if I consider those a secular concern and not to be confused with religious morality, what I am discussing is any actual religious denunciations. Jesus did not say no to polygamy no matter how many times someone quotes something He was quoting, and then not in 'cultural context' as you indicate.

As for divorce? As a Catholic? There are more reasons than infidelity which could legitimize divorce, but those aren't sure. A panel takes an objective look at the marriage, warts and all. I don't like this part on one hand, it puts others in charge of a major decision or at least the morality of it. On the other hand, within it's sphere, I think the Church should do that, and possibly on more issues. The Church is what is left of Christ's leadership. Whether Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist or whatever. We don't just owe the Church, it owes us... the truth, guidance, and sometimes a really hard stance. Regardless of what some might think, the Church is there for our soul, not to be our buddy. And we are ever so childlike in the wrong way.

Anonymous said...

In the Eastern Christian Churches, remarriage is permissible* twice, for either divorce or death of the spouse. The teaching being at that point one should accept the fact you aren't made for it. I'm not sure what permits divorce and remarriage, as I've only known of 2 cases personally. One was a third marriage, and the ceremony was depressing, with the readings based on the "better to marry than burn" text. The other case was the wife's desertion of the family for her lover. When I asked about the remarriage and divorce to one of our bishops, I was told that sins are forgivable, even this one.

Now Orthodox has some differences in both theory and practice from the Western Churches, so I am not sure how much makes sense outside that context.

*and that means it may be refused. I have hear of people who are refused it as well as marriages cancelled because the couple was living together. Some of our branches are quite old school: then there are sadly the modernists.

Trust said...

I don't think Jesus is contradicting Exodus. He is speaking to individual sin, not law. Exodus is what should be legally permissible. Jesus is saying what is religiously acceptable. Big difference.

Without the.distinction, "turn the other check" would make for very.poor law.

Markku said...

Yes, and in Mark's account, he doesn't deny that it's lawful:

Mar 10:2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"

To the question, as it was asked, the answer is that it is indeed lawful. But that is exactly why they asked the question: They knew themselves that it isn't everything that should be said on the subject matter. Otherwise it would be quite like asking "is it lawful to steal?" - the answer would be trivial.

Toby Temple said...

Ted Walther,

Changing a law is not the same as removing it.

Hebrews 7:12 - For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

Markku said...

It's not even changing the law, it is merely not putting Christians under it. After all, only a tiny minority of people - the Jews - were ever under the Mosaic law. Most people never were, and won't be judged according to the Mosaic law in the Final Judgement.

The law still exists, and if you want to try getting yourself saved according to it, you're free to go right ahead. However, since there is no longer any sacrifice for your sins (as they were merely a symbol of the coming sacrifice of Christ and if you reject the thing itself, a symbol won't do any good), it is going to be practically impossible. But not theoretically* impossible.

*In the true sense of the expression, not the de-facto sense. As in, that it is theoretically possible that quantum fluctuations cause a dragon to materialize from thin air.

Athor Pel said...

Polygyny has already been mentioned but more can be said.

There is at least one concrete example that we can use as guidance. That being Moses. His first wife left him over the circumcision of their sons, she went back to her Midianite father. I'd call that a divorce. Moses married a Cushite woman after that.

There was no adultery there but there was a split. The split did not preclude Moses from getting another wife.

I've said it before, Biblical marriage has a man centered definition. There is no prohibition against men marrying multiple women. That means regardless of how a marriage ends except in the case of the man divorcing a faithful wife, the man can remarry while still being free from sin. That means if the wife leaves him and not the other way around then he can get another wife while still being free of sin.

Divorcing a faithful wife is the sin. Marrying another woman has nothing to do with the divorce of the first wife.

Toby Temple said...

my post was to address this:

When read in context, Jesus did not change the Law of Moses. He upheld it.

No, he did not. Proof? The Law of Moses states that an adulteress must be stoned to death. Jesus did not follow it.

PC Geek said...

Learning more about the historical context of the Bible can be helpful.

More than helpful...it is absolutely vital. The Bible is very difficult to understand properly outside of its' historical context. The ancient world was very 'high context' and much of the Bible cannot be properly understood without knowing something about the culture and history of the time.

However, when people do this with a single agenda in mind (e.g., promoting homosexuality, female preachers/priests, etc.), it's always accompanied by sloppy scholarship. You can "prove" almost anything by describing the context with selective data.

The problem you describe here has nothing to do with historical context and everything to do with people twisting truth to suit their own desires. Plus...how could someone look at the historical context of the Bible and possibly conclude that it approves of homosexuality and female priests? Even a very basic understanding of the history of the time would put the kibosh on that. Historical context would prevent such liberal agendas, not promote them.

I'd therefore be very careful when someone pushes a more lax position on divorce based on "here's what the NT audience really heard Jesus or Paul say."

The only thing you have to be careful of it to make sure they did their scholarship right...the fact that it is more lax or less lax than your currently (possibly flawed or possibly correct) understanding is irrelevant. If they thought that hisorical context made the rule more lax caution would apply just as strongly.

Cane Caldo said...

I think it's a mistake to interpret everything that the patriarch's did as sinless, that's not explicitly stated as sinful.

Otherwise, I am in agreement on the man-centered definition of marriage. In that context, I still think Vox's interpretation (and advice) is solid.

Markku said...

Jesus, as the Creator, was the only one there who actually had the right to forgive that sin. Note that he didn't forbid anyone to throw the stones, he just put an uncomfortable spotlight on whoever would choose to throw the first one.

Regarding the Mosaic law, he said:

Mat 23:2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.

Now, only two options are left:
1) We indeed have to fulfill the entire Mosaic law, or

2) These discussion happened while they were still under the Mosaic law, and that would only end after Jesus died on the cross and said "it is finished". In other words, Jesus was preaching about what the Mosaic law meant in the first place, and not about some new revisions to it.

RC said...

I'm not familiar with this particular book but I've seen dozens of books over the year that use every kind of tool to refute the meaning of what a clear reading of a passage would impart.

Most recently I was asked to read "Beyond Sex Roles" because of my views on women in leadership. It was a tortured morass of illogic that folded in upon itself, but people are waving the book around as an appeal to authority for changing clear teaching. The author is from Wheaton after all, which really just means he's smart enough to confuse the mid-witted.

Anonymous said...

@Athor Pel:
"There is at least one concrete example that we can use as guidance. That being Moses. His first wife left him over the circumcision of their sons, she went back to her Midianite father. I'd call that a divorce. Moses married a Cushite woman after that."

The Bible never says Moses divorced Zipporah the Midianite. It says Moses sent her and his two son's to Jethro, her father. A prudent move for any family man undertaking Moses mission. At some later time, after the Exodus out of Egypt, Zipporah and her sons rejoined Moses. As to when Moses took the Cushite, the Bible is silent, she may have predated Zipporah, since Moses was 40 when he went to Midian. Who knows the total number of wives and kids Moses had over his lifetime? The Bible doesn't give us a total for either. It doesn't even give us a name for the Ethiopian.

@Athor Pel:
"I've said it before, Biblical marriage has a man centered definition. There is no prohibition against men marrying multiple women. That means regardless of how a marriage ends except in the case of the man divorcing a faithful wife, the man can remarry while still being free from sin."

Precisely.


--Niccolò Arminius

Ted Walther said...

So, when did heaven and earth pass away. What evidence is there that when Jesus said "it is finished", he intended to say that "heaven and earth have passed away". Doesn't that nullify that whole book of Revelation?

The book of Hebrews says that the old covenant is waxing old, but has NOT YET passed away. So, WHEN did that old covenant and law and priesthood pass away? If you can't pinpoint it, I submit it is because it HAS NOT passed away.

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple, Jesus did not do away with the stoning of adulteresses. All scholars of note, agree that the incident of the woman caught in adultery was added several hundred years later. Among Sabbath keepers, we have found calendrical evidence that confirms what the scholars say; the story of the woman caught in adultery disrupts the calendar in a way that is impossible under the Hebrew calendar.

Jesus didn't do away with any of the Mosaic Law. If he did, then he lied in Matthew 5:18. Do you worship a liar?

Ted Walther said...

As for the Law being only for Jews, that is contradicted by Deuteronomy 4:6, and various parts of Isaiah. From Sabbath to Sabbath, and New Moon to New Moon, ALL peoples will come up to worship YHWH. (Isaiah 66:19-24)

I have spoken to Karaite (non-Talmudic) Jews, and to a descendant of Aaron the high priest, who represents the Samaritan Jewish community. They affirm that Torah is for all people, not specific to Jews, and they base their belief on what the Old Testament itself says.

Ted Walther said...

The "salvation" thing is a red herring. Salvation comes by grace. But you keep the Law because the Law is the perfect pattern of Love, and all who are saved have love. If any say he is saved, but does not submit to the commandments of the Creator, all his words are in question.
Rousas John Rushdoony was truly the greatest Christian theologian of the past 200 years, even better than William Whiston, John Milton, Martin Madan, and Isaac Newton.

Anonymous said...

God explicitly approved polygyny, set rules for it, commanded it in certain circumstances, and portrayed Himself as a polygnist in scripture. I'd have to say God is all for it.

Niccolò Arminius

Markku said...

So, when did heaven and earth pass away. What evidence is there that when Jesus said "it is finished", he intended to say that "heaven and earth have passed away". Doesn't that nullify that whole book of Revelation?

No, the law is still there. Only now there is a new way of salvation: the New Covenant. If you want to get saved according to it, then "Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law." and "Gal 2:18 For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God."

But you can still try it according to the law. However, a word of warning: "Gal 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them."", "Gal 3:11 Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "He who through faith is righteous shall live"" and "Gal 5:2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you."

But hey, perhaps you manage to be the second person to fulfill the entirety of the law.

Toby Temple said...

Toby Temple, Jesus did not do away with the stoning of adulteresses. All scholars of note, agree that the incident of the woman caught in adultery was added several hundred years later. Among Sabbath keepers, we have found calendrical evidence that confirms what the scholars say; the story of the woman caught in adultery disrupts the calendar in a way that is impossible under the Hebrew calendar.

Yes, he did. The punishment of stoning sinners was abolished by Christ himself. Unless you claim that that part of the gospel did not really happen.

Jesus didn't do away with any of the Mosaic Law. If he did, then he lied in Matthew 5:18. Do you worship a liar?

Hebrews 7:18-19
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

As I said in my original post. Change != Abolished. Jesus Christ was appointed as the new priest of God's new covenant. So there was a change in priesthood.

Hebrews 7:23-24
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.

Thus there was a need to change the law.

Hebrews 7:12 - For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

You can pretend that Hebrews 7 does not exist. But that does not make it true. The laws where changed.

Toby Temple said...

If he did, then he lied in Matthew 5:18. Do you worship a liar

I don't remember the Old Testament vanishing from existence from when Christ was born up until this day.

To quote Marrku, the old laws are still pretty much around.

Nate said...

Bah...

The best solution to this problem is not to divorce your wife... but to simply marry an additional one.

Divorce is the sin. So don't do it. Continue to love your wife... and add another. Your wife will actually be happier in the new situation.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, that is a bad translation. "Gal 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.""

Read it in Greek; it says that everyone who DOESN'T do the works of the law is cursed.

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple, if the old laws are still around, why do you preach against them? Why do you nullify the law by saying it isn't necessary, and that Christians are free to ignore it?

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple, regarding the stoning of adulteresses: read my post again. That is EXACTLY what I said. That particular part of the New Testament is a late addition; it did not happen, and doesn't belong in the Bible.

PC Geek said...

I'm not familiar with this particular book but I've seen dozens of books over the year that use every kind of tool to refute the meaning of what a clear reading of a passage would impart.

Some tools can be abused to deny the clear reading (you yourself mentioned the "tortured morass of illogic"), but other tools are *vital* to understand what is already there. You can't just always go with a plain english reading totally devoid of context, as we are separated from the world the Bible was originally composed in by a sea of language and most importantly, cultural context and understanding. Yes, people (like this Wheaton prof) can certainly twist things to their own ends, but as you observed, astute eyes (and brains!) can differentiate between real scholars and PC hacks.

I suspect even a cursory investigation of Biblical culture would reveal very un-PC ideas of sex roles that would make the Wheaton prof hopping mad. Unfortunately, it looks like the church may be simply accomodating the world in the case that you mention above, and abusing scholarship to do it.

Most recently I was asked to read "Beyond Sex Roles" because of my views on women in leadership. It was a tortured morass of illogic that folded in upon itself, but people are waving the book around as an appeal to authority for changing clear teaching.

Not to the judge of other people's life circumstances but it sounds like you need to find a new church.

The Last Gentleman said...

A great movie for the Game-impaired married man: How to Murder Your Wife. And a good test of your marriage: watch it with your wife. If she fusses, just say "hey, it's a comedy--lighten up!" Whatever you do, don't apologize for being a man. The result... might just be interesting.

Markku said...

I quote from my own message:

Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.

And then you say:

Read it in Greek; it says that everyone who DOESN'T do the works of the law is cursed.

It's the same thing! What I'm thinking is going on here, is that you are parroting some counter-argument that applies to some other translation but not to RSV, and you were too lazy to even read what I quoted.

If you want to prove me wrong, then pray tell, which word in hosoi gar ex ergon nomou eisin hypo kataran eisin gegraptai gar epikataratos pas houk emmenei en pasin tois gegrammenois en to biblio tou nomou poiesai autoa is mistranslated?

Toby Temple said...

Ted Walther,

Toby Temple, regarding the stoning of adulteresses: read my post again. That is EXACTLY what I said. That particular part of the New Testament is a late addition; it did not happen, and doesn't belong in the Bible.

Prove it. Until then all you did is just assert a part of the Bible to be hoax for your own convenience.

Toby Temple, if the old laws are still around, why do you preach against them? Why do you nullify the law by saying it isn't necessary, and that Christians are free to ignore it?

So you believe that Christians should stone adulterers? Yes or No?

You still believe that when a woman has her period you are not suppose to touch her or become unclean yourself? Yes or No?

Do you also isolate the woman when she is unclean in accordance to the OT laws? Yes or No?

Markku said...

What I would ask instead, is "So you believe we should get circumcised?" Because that is where the consequences are explicitly stated:

"Gal 5:2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you."

Personally, I have sinned at least once in my life. If Christ is of no advantage to me, then I'm already destined to Hell.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, if you think one sin sends you to hell, then you don't know the Law. Repentance and grace is all throughout the Old Testament.

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple: do your own research on the "woman caught in adultery not in early manuscripts". Most scholars agree on this, so you won't have to search hard. This isn't the forum for a debate on the topic. If you want to argue Scripture, get some education.

Ted Walther said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Markku said...

But it does. "Jam 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it." For this reason, the Old Testament had sin offerings. But they were merely a shadow of the true sacrifice, as per "Hbr 10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near." and "Col 2:17 These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."

If "Christ will be of no advantage to me", then nor will be the shadow. And that is what Paul says will happen if I receive the circumcision. Which happens to be one of the most important points of the Mosaic law.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, the mistranslation is in the first part of the verse, not the second part. Where it says "Gal 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; " It is wildly inaccurate; the Greek word "ex" means "out of". It should read "For all who are out of the works of the law are under a curse".

A) This reading makes sense, and upholds the Law

B) If you read it the traditional way, you have a logical impossibility; it makes the text say "if you keep the law, you are under a curse, BECAUSE IT IS WRITTEN, that if you DON'T keep the law, you are under a curse.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, are you seriously saying that circumcision is the most important point of the Mosaic Law? Citation please?

Josh said...

Guys, he's a devotee of Rushdoony.

Like Gary North, he's very much a cultist.

Pearls, swine, and all that.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, this New Covenant you speak of. Where are the terms and conditions spelled out? Without knowing these details, how can we know if it is truly a "new way of salvation" that wasn't available to the Patriarchs?

Markku said...

First of all, I said "one of the most" (as it is the outward symbol of being under the law), not "the most". Second, let's look at a bunch of translations. So, your position is that "ek" (Strong's G1537) means shortage of something, such as works of the law.

KJV: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

NKJV: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."*

NLT: But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God's Book of the Law."*

NIV: All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."*

ESV: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them."

NASB: For as many as are of the works of *the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."

RSV: For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them."

ASV: For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.

YLT: for as many as are of works of law are under a curse, for it hath been written, `Cursed [is] every one who is not remaining in all things that have been written in the Book of the Law -- to do them,'

DBY: For as many as are on the principle of works of law are under curse. For it is written, Cursed is every one who does not continue in all things which [are] written in the book of the law to do them;

WEB: For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Accursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

HNV: For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, "Cursed is everyone who doesn't continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them."

Exactly 100% take my position, and exactly 0% take your position on the issue. But hey, maybe all the translators are linguistic idiots and you have the real deal on "ek". Let's look at the usage of the word in order of appearance.

Mat 1:3 and Judah the father of [ek] Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,

Nope, Judah didn't have any shortage of Perez nor Zerah, he was very much "of" them.

Similarly "Salmon the father of [ek] Bo'az by Rahab" and "and Jesse the father of David the king" in the following verses.

Mat 1:16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of [ek] whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. - no shortage there either

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of [ek] the Holy Spirit;

I could continue this as long as I liked. After all, there are 921 occurrences of the word. What you are doing is equivocating on the English expression "out of" meaning shortage, but it is unique to English. Finnish being my native language, I see right through it.

Markku said...


If you read it the traditional way, you have a logical impossibility; it makes the text say "if you keep the law, you are under a curse, BECAUSE IT IS WRITTEN, that if you DON'T keep the law, you are under a curse.

The curse is in the fact that you have to keep all of it, and if you break even one point, you are guilty of all, as I already quoted from Jam 2:10.

Toby Temple said...

do your own research on the "woman caught in adultery not in early manuscripts". Most scholars agree on this, so you won't have to search hard.

Nice try. But no. You don't get to claim "most scholars" and expect anyone to take your word for it.

This isn't the forum for a debate on the topic. If you want to argue Scripture, get some education.

Nice try. But no. All you are saying right now is you can't backup your assertions with evidence. Appealing to credentials won't help you as well. I have read a lot of Bible versions and all of them have the same thing. If what you said is through then the biblical scholars would have corrected it a long time ago.

Ted Walther said...

Interesting that you quote James 2:10; the entire book of James upholds the Law. In fact, in that same chapter, James says that faith without works is dead.

As for the word "ek" meaning shortage, I didn't say that. It means "out of", much like "ex" means in Latin, "ex libris" for instance. "Out of the library of..." The meaning of "ek" in Galatians 3:10, saying that you are under a curse if you are "out of" the law, is consistent with the meaning of ek when it describes the descendants as coming "out of" their forbears.

Applying Finnish to Greek is just as fallacious as applying English principles to Greek.

Markku said...

Finnish has nothing to do with it per se, only being multi-lingual and therefore recognizing what are intrinsic meanings for words, and what are mere quirks of a particular language. I speak English, Swedish, German and Finnish, and none of them except English has that meaning for "out of", as in being out of money.

Ted Walther said...

There are a lot of questions you haven't answered. Is it because you can't? What are the terms and conditions of this "New Covenant" that replaces the old? Where is it written down? I know where it is written down. Do you?

Have you ever sat down, and read the Bible cover to cover? How did you miss seeing that every second page is a cry to obey the Law, and keep the Law. And once you hit the New Testament, nothing clearly comes and speaks against the law; rather there is much that upholds it.

In the face of this preponderance of evidence, you would take one or two verses which can be read differently, and toss out the Law, which Deuteronomy 4:5,8 calls "wise" and "righteous"? If wisdom and righteousness come from God, with what do you propose to replace it, Markku?

Would you like some prosperity and success? Would Jesus object if you had prosperity and success in your life? If he wants you to be poor, then you can safely delete this from the Bible:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

William Whiston, John Milton, Martan Madan, Oliver Cromwell, Isaac Newton, and other luminaries of the Puritan movement took those words seriously. It is thanks to their faith and attempted return to the Law's of the Bible that the English speaking world rose to world prominence.

You still haven't answered, when did heaven and earth pass away? If the book of Hebrews said that the covenant had not yet passed away, when was Hebrews written? Surely after Jesus death? So the Law did not pass away, nor did his death alter the covenant.

If these things have come to pass, then WHEN.

Markku said...

Is it because you can't?

No, it's because it is 5:31 AM and I have to go to work tomorrow. I'll get back to you on them.

Markku said...

I mean today.

Ted Walther said...

Until then.

Context said...

Is it permissible for a man to marry again if he kills his wife in a fit of anger but repents?

Toby Temple said...

There are a lot of questions you haven't answered.

Look in the mirror, Ted.

Remember these?

So you believe that Christians should stone adulterers? Yes or No?

You still believe that when a woman has her period you are not suppose to touch her or become unclean yourself? Yes or No?

Do you also isolate the woman when she is unclean in accordance to the OT laws? Yes or No?

Foster said...

Yes, I agree, while the "yoking" passage Vox cites above indeed "appears to indicate that one should not marry or remain married to an unbeliever," when one considers the passage you just cited Michael, the meaning of the yoking passage must be limited to not marrying an unbeliever, but remaining married to one seems to be the right thing to do, especially given Hosea, and God's likening himself to a husband with an unfaithful wife in the Old Testament. If God endures unfaithfulness faithfully, he sets the example for man as his image, and the righteous man should do the same.

Incidentally, the original Greek of the most important word of the passage above is transliterated "porneas," the root being porn- or "sexual/marital perversion." While many versions have taken the liberty of translating this as "unfaithfulness," Catholics translate it instead as "the marriage is unlawful." So under the Catholic interpretation, there must be something fundamentally wrong with the marriage in terms of its root or beginning for nullifying the marriage to be lawful, and X should turn to the beginning of his marriage and question whether both parties really understood what marriage is and intended that when they married.

But the most important passage I think has been neglected, and that is Malachi 2:16
"I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel. "To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies.

It may be "lawful," but is God really going to be pleased with what you are contemplating doing?

Foster said...

You may be right, in a legalistic sense. But such a person *would* be a fornicator, and we know where Paul says they go, along with the gossips.

Foster said...

Such a person would be morally obligated to turn himself in to the authorities. Assuming they did not either execute or imprison him for life, after he had paid for the crime, I think he *would* be permitted to remarry, assuming he could find someone else willing.

Ted Walther said...

Toby: I asked first. Don't redirect.

Toby Temple said...

You mean these? Let me answer them then:

Jesus didn't do away with any of the Mosaic Law. If he did, then he lied in Matthew 5:18. Do you worship a liar?

No he did not. You simply failed to understand.

Toby Temple, if the old laws are still around, why do you preach against them?

Where in this thread did I do such a thing?

Why do you nullify the law by saying it isn't necessary, and that Christians are free to ignore it?

First read these:

Acts 13:38-39
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Then finally, Hebrews 7, particularly this part that you continue to ignore:

Hebrews 7:12 - For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

Now its your turn to answer my questions.

Toby Temple said...

I really find it very disappointing that there are Christians who claim to know a lot about the Bible and yet somehow neglected to read or completely forgot about the book of Hebrews.

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple, your answer didn't address any of the questions I asked. Try again. When did Heaven and Earth pass away.

Toby Temple said...

You did not ask me that. Now answer my questions

Toby Temple said...

I'll make it simpler for you, Ted.

What part of Hebrews 7:12 do you not understand?

Jim said...

If Jesus says looking at a woman with lust is adultery, what if the wife says she wants to date and marry again while still in the marriage. I think intent matters.

Matt 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Ted Walther said...

You are a demanding little one, Toby. I don't understand the part of Hebrews 7:12 where you interpret it as doing away with or changing the Law, when Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 that he wasn't going to do that. In the context of Hebrews 8:4, Jesus priesthood is in heaven; if he was on earth he would not be a priest. This shows that whatever Jesus does is in parallel to and in addition to the Mosaic Law. It does not put it away or repudiate it.

Again, when did heaven and earth pass away? If you can't establish that they did, then you have to acknowledge that you don't follow the Jesus of the New Testament (Matthew 5:18)

Ted Walther said...

According to Hebrews 8:13, written long after Jesus death, the old covenant had NOT yet passed away, or else he would not have said that it is "ready to vanish away".

Toby Temple said...

~facepalm~

The law was changed. That is what Hebrews 7:12 explicitly states since the priesthood was changed.

Hebrews 7:18-19 even states that the old rules were set aside:

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

While Matthew 5:18 says the following:

18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

So, in other words, you are completely wrong with your interpretations.

Now for this POS:

Again, when did heaven and earth pass away? If you can't establish that they did, then you have to acknowledge that you don't follow the Jesus of the New Testament (Matthew 5:18)

Again, for the last time, CHANGE IS NOT EQUAL TO DISAPPEAR. Just like 1 != 2.

Or maybe you need a dictionary?

Did anyone claimed that the Old Testament laws DISAPPEARED? NO. No one made such a claim.

You contorted the initial answer by Markku to you to substantiate your stupid argument and falsely claim that your question on when the heaven and earth passed away was still unanswered.

Now answer my questions. OR MAYBE YOU CAN'T?

So you believe that Christians should stone adulterers? Yes or No?

You still believe that when a woman has her period you are not suppose to touch her or become unclean yourself? Yes or No?

Do you also isolate the woman when she is unclean in accordance to the OT laws? Yes or No?

Toby Temple said...

According to Hebrews 8:13, written long after Jesus death, the old covenant had NOT yet passed away, or else he would not have said that it is "ready to vanish away".

And yet you intentional failed to mention the part where it states that the old covenant is made obsolete.

Hebrews 8:13
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Josh said...

Toby wins

Ted Walther said...

Until the New Covenant appears, the First covenant has not vanished. Are we then without a covenant?

Again, you haven't specified where the New Covenant is written down, when it came into effect, or what its terms and conditions are. If you did know, you would know that the New Covenant upholds and affirms the Law of Moses too!

Markku said...

What are the terms and conditions of this "New Covenant" that replaces the old?

There are none. Jesus paid our side of the covenant in full. There are three RULES carried over from the old one, however. They are these:

Act 15:10 Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? (...)
Act 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
9 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."

Now, you seem to like the typical steamroller tactic of assuming your position is correct, and asking why the opponent would want to promote some falsehood. (The fallacy of question-begging). So, how's this for ya? Why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon our necks? Why, Ted, why?

Where is it written down?

In the hearts of spiritual Israel:

Jer 31:33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Have you ever sat down, and read the Bible cover to cover?

Yes. Although I cannot guarantee that I was sitting down 100% of the time.

How did you miss seeing that every second page is a cry to obey the Law, and keep the Law.

I didn't miss anything. How did you miss that the purpose of that law is explicitly stated: To show that it is impossible for any fallen human being to fulfill it? Grace would have been cheap if the world had the nagging suspicion that they could have managed on their own. When that lesson was taught, Christ came.

Gal 3:11 Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "He who through faith is righteous shall live"; (...)
Gal 3:24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian;

Rom 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
13 And Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

This is the whole purpose of the Mosaic law; that sin would become sinful beyond measure.

Markku said...

If wisdom and righteousness come from God, with what do you propose to replace it, Markku?

As for those particular modes of wisdom and righteousness: Faith in Christ. You know, the faith that says just above this would free us from the custodian that is the law. And as Romans says, law is indeed holy, just and good, but it cannot work anything except death when used in combination with a fallen man. Which is everyone else except Jesus.

Would you like some prosperity and success?

Ah, health, wealth and prosperity gospel. I see.

The answer is no. Rather, I want whatever God happens to have in store for me. It might be those two things, and only in this case would I like them. But then again, it might not. I'm like Paul:

Phl 4:11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.

I want to learn those secrets too. Both of them. On God's timetable.

You still haven't answered, when did heaven and earth pass away?

They haven't. I already explained this to you. The law is still there, if you want to attempt getting saved according to it. But you won't be able to do it. Now there is a new option; one that actually can be done by a fallen human being.

If these things have come to pass, then WHEN.

When New Heaven and New Earth come, the law will no longer be there as it wouldn't have any point. Those who can be saved, already are. That's when new scrolls are opened.

Ted Walther said...

Markku, you said there are no terms and conditions of the New Covenant written down, then you go and quote Jeremiah 31! Guess what, that is the terms and conditions. And those terms and conditions include more than the Law being written on our hearts; No Man will teach his brother or his neighbor to do the Law. That hasn't happened yet, Markku. There has been no time in history when the Law is just written on peoples hearts and they spontaneously do what is right without anyone instructing each other how to do it. Hasn't happened yet.

Now, you admit the law is still here, but then you start talking about "salvation" thing, as if the law and salvation are in conflict. Abraham was saved by faith; the faith that led him to obey. Who today has the faith to obey the Law of Moses? Glad is he who hears and obeys through Faith; woe to he who obeys with an impure heart, twisting and perverting the law as the Pharisees of old were wont to do.

What does "salvation" mean to you? Where is it in Scripture? And why do you think it is in conflict with the Law?

Ted Walther said...

In Acts 15, Markku, you stopped reading far too soon. The church fathers continued "For Moses is preached in the synagogues in every sabbath". They were talking about admitting newcomers to communion. There are minimum standards for proselytes. They can learn the rest of the details of Gods Law by hearing the Law read on the sabbath. Traditionally it was a 3 year process, matching the 3 year reading cycle of Torah.

The whole thrust of the Old Testament is how good, blessed and righteous the Law is, and that it is good for us to do.

Jesus himself said not one jot or tittle will be abolished, and he didn't come to do away with it. Did Jesus lie, Markku?

The yoke Jesus spoke of was not the Mosaic Law, but rather the Pharisaical interpretations of that time, which "fenced" the law and went beyond the Law.

Is God a liar? In Deuteronomy 30:12-16 he said the Law of Moses IS possible for humans to do. Is he a liar?

Deuteronomy 30
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to
heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over
the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his
ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that
thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the
land whither thou goest to possess it.

Anonymous said...

Fornication in its modern usage, sex between two single people, is not what is meant in its biblical usage. It's from the Latin "Fornicatio" which is the direct translation of the Greek "Porneia." Both mean prostitution to include ritual prostitution or regular cash prostitution.

Porneia, and thus the biblical usage of Fornication, has a unique usage in scripture and other Jewish writings in Greek at the time of Christ as a catch-all term for the whole Leviticus list of sex sins. This is most definitely not the modern usage of fornication and that's why modern translations use the term "sexual immorality" instead of "fornication" when the word porneia appears in the Greek text.

--Niccolò Arminius

Anonymous said...

Since only God sees into the heart, you'll have to get the divorce from Him.
--Niccolò Arminius

Markku said...

Guess what, that is the terms and conditions.

No, they are descriptions of what would happen. As I said, there are RULES in the New Covenant. But terms and conditions are of such nature that they void a covenant if they are broken.

That hasn't happened yet, Markku.

No, it doesn't all happen immediately. But the new covenant is already here:

Hbr 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. (...)
17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

(Note: "will" is the same word as "covenant": diathēkē. Strong's G1242.) So, there you have it. The New Covenant has taken effect at the moment of Jesus's death.

but then you start talking about "salvation" thing

If you don't like the word, then substitute "receive the promised eternal inheritance" from the above verse wherever I have said "salvation".

as if the law and salvation are in conflict.

They are not in conflict in that the law is a particular methodology for receiving it. The problem is just that so far, it has only worked for Jesus, as everyone else has failed. And since those were actual terms and conditions, it means the old covenant got broken. This is why there were those sacrifices. But they were a mere shadow of the coming death of Christ, to which they made an appeal in advance:

Hbr 10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near. (...)
4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me;

So, there were saved people during the law, but only because of that appeal.

What does "salvation" mean to you?

Receiving eternal life, as stated above.

Where is it in Scripture?

Too many verses to list. By that name, for example in

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

By other names, the list would grow even larger.

And why do you think it is in conflict with the Law?

In the present era, because those sacrifices were mere shadows of Jesus's death. Now that the true substance has come, the shadow is obsolete. So, if you are going to try obtaining salvation through the Old Covenant (which is still theoretically possible, and which is what I mean by it still being around if you are stupid enough to try), you don't have the sacrificial system to fall back on. You actually have to do it perfectly. Because if you fail at one point, you have failed at everything, as I quoted earlier from James.

Toby Temple said...

Until the New Covenant appears, the First covenant has not vanished. Are we then without a covenant?

Answer my questions, Ted.

So you believe that Christians should stone adulterers? Yes or No?

You still believe that when a woman has her period you are not suppose to touch her or become unclean yourself? Yes or No?

Do you also isolate the woman when she is unclean in accordance to the OT laws? Yes or No?

Or can't you answer them?

Ted Walther said...

Read the Law of Moses and answer them yourself, Toby.

Toby Temple said...

Ok. So you CANNOT answer them because you know how devastating the answers are to your case. Thanks for playing, Ted.

Ted Walther said...

Toby Temple, the man who likes touching menstrual blood. Yes, that really devastates my case.

Markku, what are the "rules" in the New Covenant?

When a covenant is unilateral, the terms and conditions can only be broken by the one making the covenant. That is, God. Your restriction of covenant to a dual agreement is fallacious. Abraham didn't agree to his first covenant with God; God made it unconditionally with him.

The old covenant passing away does not mean the old law passes away ever. The New Covenant affirmed the same law. The only difference is that law will be on man's heart, without needing to be taught. Just as it was in the Garden of Eden. Covenant and Law are not the same thing. The Covenant was that Israel would keep the Law. The Law itself has been since the Garden of Eden. Otherwise, how could God tell Cain to stop sinning?

The New Testament up holds the Law of Moses continually, over and over.

I understand that you are opposed to the Law of Moses. But it isn't because you have carefully read and reasoned it out from Scripture. It is because the Church was corrupted and "leavened" after the apostles died out, and after Rabbi Akiba turned Rome against anything Jewish. The survivors of the Bar Kokhba revolt did everything they could to distance themselves from the rebels who brought Rome to its knees.

I encourage you to do what I did. Read the Bible through again, with this question in your mind: does this scripture speak for, or against the Law.

If your mind is already made up that the Law is bad, then you must throw away much of Scripture, including the New Testament. Including Matthew 5:18. Including Romans 3:13.

If you read it with the opinion already formed that God's Law is not good, but is barbaric, you will be blind to all the good and fair words that Scripture says about it. If you read it when an even tempered, fair and unbiased mind, you will see that the New Testament promotes the Law of Moses.

Wendy said...

You know, Jesus summed up the Law quite well...

Toby Temple said...

Ted Walter, the man who likes stoning sinners to death.

So tell me, oh faithful follower of the law of Moses, when was the last time you stoned someone to death?

Ted Walther said...

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Toby seems rather hot and bothered by the Law of God. Must have a carnal mind.

Josh said...

Ted, you're getting your ass kicked.

Why don't you sit these next few rounds out?

R. Bradley Andrews said...

I always wondered what the implications of the command to consider an unrepentant brother "like an unbeliever" would have on this divorce issue. Note that Christians are only compelled to live with an unbelieving spouse if they are "content to live with them" and it seems like a woman who is not providing those expectations of a wife might fit in that category.

I do think it is stupid to knowingly do stupidity (divorce) and then just "ask forgiveness" while going on, but I am not sure I see sufficient evidence that someone in a Nth marriage should divorce again and return to the single one or divorce again and remain celibate.

Not too much written that clearly addresses this though it bears some consideration.

Staunton said...

Bingo. You guys have got to stop beating yourselves up about this. Polygyny is the answer. If you need Scriptural support, just look at all the men in the Old Testament who were praised for scoring multiple wives.

De facto polygyny is the rule in every society known to man. We just have to make it legally acceptable as well.

Fremund said...

"or ceases to be willing to perform them - then the husband has a right to annul it"

No. A declaration of nullity (annulment) is only allowed, by the Catholic Church, if the marriage failed, from the beginning, to fulfil some criteria necessary for the marriage to be legitimate and valid. Anything that happens after marriage, such as a women rejecting her marital responsibilities, is irrelevant and not grounds for a declaration of nullity.

So, if a women was lying, before the wedding, about being willing to have children with her groom a case could be made that she never entered into the sacrament and that there is therefore no marriage and annulment is allowed. If after marriage she decides she does not want children it is too late for an annulment as a marriage already exists and thus the Church can not legitimately break it apart.

Basically a declaration of nullity is about officially ending what was always a sham and is not in anyway justified by anything that happens post-consummation of a valid and legitimate marriage.

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