MARRIAGE WARS, PART 4: A QUESTION IN THE INTERIM
Let me say up front that the premise of this piece is not original with me by any means. In fact, the first place I saw the idea in print was in the Letters section of The Oregonian newspaper from a sodomite writer. Later, my own daughter, Michelle, had a letter based upon that other letter published in Christian News Northwest.
Lest some of you be concerned that we are taking our cues from a sodomite, it is wisdom to examine the criticism coming from your enemies. As I have said before, �Never refuse a man who offers you a breath mint.� Sometimes our enemies are right. King David set a good example on that in his initial response to Shimei. (2 Samuel 16: 5-10)
That said, I will venture out on the increasingly thin ice of the American Church with this question: If Christians are so all-fired insistent upon the sanctity of marriage, why don�t they stop the avalanche of divorce in their own midst?
One of the �Christian� arguments I heard during the campaign to ensconce the definition of marriage in the Oregon Constitution was that if we allowed same-sex marriage, there would be no stopping things like polygamy.
The writer of the letter in The Oregonian trenchantly asked if we don�t already have defacto polygamy � even among Christians � with divorce and remarriage. It is nothing short of serial polygamy. This is a devastating critique. It is well-known that the divorce rate among believers is the same or slightly higher than those of our non-believing neighbors.
I suppose some might answer that the Church has no ability to control the private lives of believers, but that is not so. The New Testament tells us otherwise. The Church (not just the Church elders) are given the power to disfellowship those who continue in serious sin. (1 Corinthians 5: 9 through 6: 10) Jesus provided the procedure for this in Matthew 18: 15-17.
Yet, the American Church rarely sees such discipline as is commanded. The result? Rampant sin in the Church � and none so blatant as the divorce and adultery we see today.
Even by the most generous reading of the New Testament, divorce and remarriage is only allowed where the cause of the initial divorce was either adultery (Matthew 5: 32; Mark 10: 11) or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse. (1 Corinthians 7: 15) Some allowance seems to be made for a woman to leave her husband for such things as physical abuse and other offenses short of adultery � only with the admonition that she remain unmarried or reconcile to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7: 11)
If even these standards had been maintained within the American Church and enforced biblically, we would have a markedly lower divorce rate � and probably a smaller, more serious-minded and effective Church.
Yes, we won the battle over definitions in 11 states with the Church in its present, messy state, but the war is nowhere near over. Worse yet, many of our Church leaders are already poised to surrender the game anyway. Even before the elections, many were trying so hard to be nicer than Jesus that they were publicly saying they had no objections to �civil unions� for sodomites. (See: Marriage Wars, Part 1) Even without that, we still have the U.S. Supreme Court which recently decided that homosexual activity could not be sanctioned or treated differently from heterosexual activity by the states. They based their conclusions in Lawrence v. Texas on foreign laws, court rulings, and attitudes. I suspect that the 11 states where we just �won� we will lose en masse in one decision by the Supremes. Nor should you put your trust in princes (Psalm 126: 3) named Bush to appoint better justices. The President has already shown his favor toward sodomites and their cause by his actions as opposed to his words.
As it is, the most common response of the American Church to divorce is to establish divorcee groups where people learn how to �get on with their lives,� i.e., find a new spouse. When people begin attending a new church, no attention is paid to their marital status. When it becomes known that they were divorced and remarried, no inquiry is made as to whether the circumstances allowed them to either divorce or remarry biblically.
Many churches open the door for divorced men to serve in leadership positions, despite the scriptural bar. (1 Timothy 3: 2; Titus 1: 6)
So, if we are (finally) serious about engaging the culture war to save marriage from the pollutions of the sodomites, perhaps we need to save marriage from the pollutions of our own sins first. Perhaps there should be a Church-wide revival of the application of Scripture rather than �niceness� in the guise of compassion to the problem of divorce.
Judgment begins in the house of the Lord, folks. (1 Peter 4: 17) Before God hands us over completely to sodomite rulership, we had better clean our own house.
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Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at: [email protected].
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So, if we are (finally) serious about engaging the culture war to save marriage from the pollutions of the sodomites, perhaps we need to save marriage from the pollutions of our own sins first.