Divorce & Remarriage Doctrines
There are few families today that have not been touched by divorce. As society continuously degrades into worldliness and rebellion towards God, there is a reciprocal effect upon God's people. Many of the current issues concerning this doctrine have risen due to complex situations in the lives of all people. There was not as much controversy in times past, because the problem was not so prevalent. If you will examine an almanac, you will notice that divorce rates started to skyrocket in the sixties and have only recently slowed down it's pace. Much of the reason for the current slowing in the divorce rate is the current trend among couples to live together without benefit of marriage.
Most Christians have come across these doctrines and have studied the Bible to determine what the scriptures actually teach. How do we know what is right and wrong regarding these issues? Can we allow anyone to teach any doctrine they want, regardless of the effect it will have on others?
As Christians, we are duty bound to preach the word in its purity and soundness. We are duty bound to defend the truth against all error and misrepresentation. We are duty bound to support and hold up the brethren that are faithful, and we are duty bound to reprimand those who have digressed or departed from the true faith.
Each person who ventures to state his or her opinions publicly risk the chance that those in opposition will challenge them to restudy their positions. In the various debates and discussions that most of us are familiar with, each side always asserts that they have the truth on their side, and that their opponent needs to repent and turn to God for forgiveness. It does not matter which side you represent, you believe that your teaching is scriptural and reasonable, and those who disagree with you are in error. If those in opposition teach their error, you have no choice but to label them a false teacher. Remember that we are not debating or discussing these things with the denominational churches but with our very own brethren. Believe it or not, even the denominations are having similar discussions concerning this doctrine.
Many of us have a great fear of apostasy. Why? Because it has happened over and over, time and time again. When people begin to play friends with the world, their allegiance shifts focus from Christ to themselves. By focusing on themselves instead of Christ, they have left the love that Christ demands. Colossians 1:18, "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything." When these of our brethren start to teach doctrines which we perceive to be in error, we assume that they have fallen from grace and need our help to return to their first love.
Where does this bring us? It brings us to the point of division, controversies, jealousies, strife, contention and most of the other sins of the flesh described in Gal 5:19-21.
It would be so simple if we would just let the Bible speak in this matter. We could all solve our problems and we all would enjoy the unity in Christ for which He prayed. However, as in the first century, we have those who promote their doctrines at the expense of lost souls. Some teach these doctrines out of sincerity, and some teach these doctrines out of rebellion.
When trying to determine causes for division, there are two possibilities. Rebellion or Ignorance. 1 Tim 6:3-5, "If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth." As we progress through this study, please try to determine who is promoting godliness and who is conceited with little or no understanding of the things of God.
Some have found out that if they teach error, then more than a few people start to pay attention to them. They have found out that many request their opinion and they receive offer to write in various publications and formats. Some like to have the pre-eminence (3 John 9). They keep coming up with controversial questions and disputes about words. 1 Tim 6:3-5 (above) is a perfect example of these people.
Some oppose sound doctrine. Please keep in mind that during this discussion we will be using such words as we, they, them, those etc. While such designations are not pleasant, they are unavoidable. The use of personal pronouns will be kept to a minimum and will be avoided whenever possible. I know that there are many who believe as I do, so I will be making my arguments based upon what we (those in agreement with me) accept as sound biblical doctrine. I will not attempt to assign motives to those in opposition. Whether their motives are out of jealousy, strife, contention, rebellion, pride, or whatever, we will try to leave accusations out of this discussion.
God said in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children."
Some Christians are ignorant because of the negligence of others. A gap is left in the knowledge of the people that makes them receptive to error. Some publications are filled with psychological babble, asserting that the attention needs of the listener should mandate the type of preaching that should be presented. It is suggested that unless the listener is comfortable, that nothing good will come from a sermon. It will be wasted effort no matter how well it is presented. Over and over, our preachers are being told to limit their sermons to shorter time frames, and to make them simple and sweet. We are told that the comfort level of the listener should be based upon the setting of the air conditioner and soft plush pews, and not by the severity of the preaching.
Some Christians are ignorant by choice. In most cases the members in the pews have determined who will preach for them. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." Rather than be embarrassed for their lack of study and knowledge, they find a preacher that will do it for them.
However you look at it, the scriptures teach that it is the individual responsibility of each member (male and female) to study God's word. 2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. They should do so with diligence so that they can handle the word of God correctly. they should do this in such a way that they are prepared to answer any questions regarding the hope that is in us." 1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." They should know their bibles well enough to recognize false teaching. We should be able to test the spirits to see if they are from God. 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Many have shirked their duties and turned the study of God's word over to their preacher. As long as their preacher boldly proclaims what they believe, they let him do all the work. Ignorance is an open invitation to doctrinal error. There are many congregations that demonstrate the effects of spiritual ignorance. Many local churches are not growing numerically nor spiritually. Many local churches seem to be spiritually dead. Apathy is a big problem with many people who call themselves Christians. There is a lack of zeal for spiritual matters. There is very little (if any) bible study for these people. These people are "ripe for the picking" as far as error is concerned. A preacher can go into one of these apathetic groups and just teach whatever he wants. If the people state objections or concerns, the preacher may back off for a while but will return to his agenda. The preacher will eventually tell the ignorant that they are ignorant and do not know what they are talking about, and this preacher will kindly tell the brother to "butt-out" of these doctrinal discourses.
Worldliness is a second contributing factor for these new doctrines. We have been bombarded by humanism and worldliness from every facet of society. The entertainment, recreation, scholastic, civil, and social fields all are taking direct aim at the souls of Christians everywhere. And many are not faithful to stand up for Jesus, but cave-in to the pressures from without the church.
For many years, this subject was ignored because of the problems and controversy associated with it. Now we reap the results of not declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
As long as people allow false doctrines, emotions, feelings and error to be introduced we will have these problems. Eventually those who are wrong will be allowed by God to believe their false ways and they must suffer the consequences for it. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, "And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." Our problem is determining who these people are, and to make sure that we are not of them.
The love affair with the world that some Christians have is a truly serious problem in the church today. James 4:4, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Of course our members do not want to be enemies of God. But notice what John says of those who want to maintain their love affair with worldly things. 1 John 4:1-6, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."
The most miserable people on the face of this planet are those who are not willing to give up the world, yet know they are supposed to serve God. They try to live their lives in such a way as to have both. They straddle the fence. But, if you play with fire, you get burned. Also, if you play in the pigpen, you start to smell like a pig and the smell will not offend you as it should. Some people want to get as close to worldliness as possible without getting sucked in all the way. The Bible tells us, "Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thess. 5:22), and it also tells us, "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col. 3:1-2).
We must get our minds out of the gutter and place our emphasis on doing what God wants us to do. That thing we call righteousness. Many things some Christians of today deem acceptable, were unacceptable to our parents generation. How long must this trend continue before we all are apostatized from God?
Our preachers have neglected to preach on this subject because of its controversial nature. Some of us know first hand that there are preachers who might believe the truth on the subject but will withhold speaking anything about it. Once when questioned why a preacher would ignore a false doctrine that he was aware of, the answer came back, "If I preach on that (MDR) subject, I will not be invited back for another meeting."
Any doctrine that can lead a person to hell is important enough to be refuted on a regular basis. Salvation is dependent upon our meeting the standards that have been established by God. If and when we change the standards to accommodate some who might be in an adulterous relationship to continue in that sin, we have defiled God's word and have denied it's power. Remember 2 Peter 1:3, "Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." His word has granted to us everything pertaining to salvation. We have warnings to abide in the doctrine. 2 John 9, "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son."
In some ways, we are responsible for our own problems. Many of us have avoided and looked the other way for too long. Now we are having to put up with the stench. Now we are having to deal with error. Now we are having to decide who is worthy to be called a brother, and who must be called a false teacher. Once again, division is on the horizon for the people of God. We will have to make choices and hold to them. We will have to lean on the power and providence of God.
Many assert that this is a matter of, "You go your way and I'll go my way." But therein lies a problem. If the person who is promoting a false doctrine happens to be a brother in Christ, how can you fellowship that brother? We are supposed to be recognized by the world for our unity. 1 Corinthians 1:10, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." When we accept these people who have departed the doctrine of Christ, we are leaving the bounds of fellowship that God has established and join them in their wicked ways. Any false doctrine can keep us out of heaven. James 2:9-10, "But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." When a member of the church of which we are a member starts to declare false teaching, we are associated with that false doctrine. Everyone represents that of which they are a part. We all know and understand that we are a part of Christ and we represent Christ to the world. We are also a part of each other (Romans 12:12-27). We must publicly expose the false doctrine and distance ourselves from those who will not repent and confess error. Romans 16:17-18, "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting."
God is not the author of confusion. So if there is confusion, rest assured that man is guilty of causing it.
A study of God's word will find that the institution of marriage has been under constant attack since the early generations of mankind (Genesis 4:19). Abraham certainly knew God's law of marriage (Genesis 12:10-20). Abimelech was told God's law (Genesis 20:1-7) It must have been a problem in the days of Moses, because certain behaviors had to be regulated. In the days of Jesus there were different beliefs on this subject. The only reason Jesus was asked his view was so that they could get Him into trouble with someone else (Matt 19:3). Paul answered some questions that the Corinthians had written to him (1 Corinthians 7:1).
Each of these false doctrines need to be examined in light of the whole context of scripture. It is our intention to present an overview of several of these doctrines. We do not mean to misrepresent any position. There will not be time for a complete review of each doctrine, but there are avenues or agendas that we can follow to discuss each one more fully. Keep in mind that these descriptions will be from a personal perspective by what has been read or heard by this writer. I know that some who have tried to promote some of these doctrines, have been novice and did their position a great injustice; but there are also some mighty smooth talkers out there that really have developed themselves to present their beliefs with all the reasoning that comes with years of development.
By inclusion in this discussion, I believe that these doctrines presented are false. Therefore the position that I hold to, will become evident during this discussion. As J. D. Tant concluded most of his articles in the papers "Brethren, think on these things" Phil 4:8
There is a doctrine held by a few that sex is the binding tie to marriage.
Genesis 2:24, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." This was the way God established it from the beginning. Jesus quoted this and so did Paul.
1 Corinthians 6:16, "Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, 'The two will become one flesh.'" Some people teach that to join bodies is in fact the marriage that God approves of. Matthew 19:6, "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
Any marriage to another party constitutes adultery. The foolishness of this doctrine does not take into account non-commitment sex. These people teach that if a young girl is raped by a man, that she is prohibited by God for marriage unless the rapist dies, by which Romans 7:3 would allow her to be free. The promiscuity of two young people is described in the scriptures as fornication. Which in itself is sin. Yet fornication is not the tie that binds. If a man has relations with a prostitute, these people teach that they are married, and have no right to a second marriage, unless the first party dies. These people also teach part of what Jesus said. To divorce a spouse and marry another constitutes adultery. They ignore the exception of Matthew. Any remarriage while the other spouse is living constitutes adultery, regardless of guilt or innocence.
There is a doctrine which originated with the Catholic church and has been adopted by several in the church. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" Consider this in connection with 1 John 1:5, "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." This doctrine teaches that to marry a non-believer is grounds for disfellowshipping the Christian. This doctrine teaches that unless both parties are believers, that God has not joined them together. Because God cannot fellowship unbelievers, they teach that His children also cannot fellowship unbelievers. If therefore God has not joined them, they have never been bound and thus have a right to marry. But, only a believer. This does not harmonize with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, "But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?"
There is a new teaching that what Jesus taught was Old Testament doctrine and thus not binding upon us today. This writer first heard this doctrine presented last November. Never before had I heard any discussion that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were not supposed to be a part of the New Testament. Some brethren have taken the position that the Catholic church was responsible for putting a New Testament Title page in front of Matthew instead of Acts where it belongs. They teach that the Catholics placed it there in order to deceive the people, and to keep most of their ordinances before the people as binding today. Since we first heard of this doctrine, it has exclusively been used in the MDR discussions. Not one other doctrine is treated the same way.
These people teach that we are to "rightly divide" the scriptures. They teach that we are guilty of allowing the catholic doctrines to influence us in these matters. They are correct in some matters we believe, but not in everything. If there is a particular Catholic doctrine that happens to be truth, we accept it. Not because it comes from the Catholics, but because we have a "thus saith the Lord". We should not discard all doctrines, only the portion or ones that are false.
Since this is very new to me, I lack the wisdom to see the ultimate goal or agenda of these people. Obviously they have discounted what Jesus said regarding Divorce & Remarriage. How long will it be before they discount His other teachings? I fear not long.
They also assert that Jesus was only teaching the things of the Old Covenant law. This includes His marriage doctrine. They teach that unless the apostles presented the doctrine, we must leave it in Old Testament doctrine. Because the apostles never made the exception allowances, then that law is not binding upon us today. Further examination of this doctrine is sure to come in the future days.
One other point I would like to make here. Whether Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are Old Testament or New Testament should not change the fact that they are the Gospel accounts of Jesus on this earth. Should not change the fact that they were written for our instruction. Should not change the fact that the writers were guided by the pen of inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Should not change the fact that Jesus is Lord, God, Savior, and King (and a host of other things). This doctrine should not take from the fact that Jesus taught that His words will judge us. John 12:44-50, "And Jesus cried out and said, 'He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
The alien sinner is not amenable to the laws of Christ. As many of you know, this is one of the more prominent positions. The main point of this teaching is that the ignorant cannot be held accountable for their promiscuity, and are only held accountable for unbelief. They would teach that a person who had previous marriages would be released from them by their individual baptism, thus making them a new creature. The new convert would then be taught that their current spouse is the one that they are bound to for life.
Jesus taught Matthew 19:4-6, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Jesus taught that God's marriage laws transcended all laws. The New Covenant laws, the Mosaic Covenant laws, the Abrahamic Covenant laws, and the Laws of Morality recognized by faithful Gentiles. A study of Authority will demonstrate that the sovereignty of God applies to all people. The authority of Christ applies to all people Ephesians 1:20-23, "Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all."
There is a doctrine that teaches that if the marriage bond is broken for the innocent party, then the bond also is broken for the guilty party. Thus, if the innocent has a right to be married again, because the bond is broken, the guilty has the right to remarriage, because no bond exists. 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 is their proof text. "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you should marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you." This demonstrates a misuse of scripture and also is an assumption. If we examine the principle passages of what Jesus was talking about we will see these assumptions.
The "traditional view" of Matthew 19:9 cannot be correct because the adultery is against the first wife and not the current wife which God says is lawful. Mark 10:11, "And He said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her'" So you see, the adultery is against the first wife and not the second. The doctrine assumes that the second marriage is binding and lawful in God's eyes. This doctrine teaches that only when you break the bond of marriage against your first spouse, are you guilty of adultery. Because marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. An assumption has to be made here because the scriptures are plain. Matthew 19:9, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." These people actually ignore one statement of Jesus but hold very strongly to another statement. This is not consistent. Notice Mark 10:12, "And if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery." Jesus says she is "committing" adultery. Once again the assumption has to be made that this adultery is against the first husband. However notice the word committing. That word is a present active tense verb of action. For their doctrine to be supported by scripture the verse would have to read "she committed adultery against him". These people want to pick and choose the scriptures that suit their doctrine. Why can't they just take all of what Jesus said? Why do they have to pick it apart? I will tell you why. Because what Jesus said does not coincide with their belief. Therefore they must reason and assume around what Jesus said in order to allow their doctrine to continue.
They also play upon the silence of scripture to promote their teachings. But in order to do that, they must ignore some of the other passages. They teach that since there is no statement about remarriage for the guilty, the silence of scripture allows for it.
Baptism changes an adulterous relationship. Since baptism washes away "all" sins, a person living in an adulterous relationship, when baptized, may remain in the now sanctified relationship. If God forgives all sins, why should he remember a past sin of adultery? God forgives people.
Although it is true that sin is washed away during our baptism, certain facts must be pointed out. Baptism is preceded by repentance. There must be a sorrowful turning away from those things which are contrary to God, and starting a life of acceptable behavior. Once a person is baptized, he is a new creature and his old sins and behavior should not continue. Baptism does not change a sinful relationship into a right one. All external relationships still are governed by God's laws. Baptism does not change a sinful act into a righteous one. What is sinful behavior before baptism is sinful behavior after baptism. Baptism washes away the guilt of past sins, but does not wash away the guilt of future sins. How can you be forgiven for something that has not taken place? What has happened in the past has absolutely no bearing upon our souls condition. It is the present relationship that we are in which will determine our relationship with God. Ezekiel 18:25-28, "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die."
Although we have liberty in Christ, we do not have license to keep sinning. According to Jesus, one is an adulterer or adulteress as long as the first spouse is alive except in the case where the first spouse committed fornication. One will not know when he becomes a Christian everything that is sinful. But as he grows and develops and has an attitude of service to Christ, he will change all things in his life that is against God's laws. If he learns of any sin he is committing, he will remove it from himself. Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." When the Corinthians became Christians, they quit their particular sins. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."
Notice the phrase, "and such were some of you." This indicates that they no longer were guilty of practicing the things of which they formerly practiced.
We have no New Testament example of anyone being told that he must separate from an unlawful relationship, either by the apostles or other inspired writers. Therefore, we should give up the sinful practice of telling people in a second (unlawful) marriage that they should separate. Peter did not tell anyone on Pentecost that they had to give up their wives. They lived in a time in which divorce and remarriage was commonplace, and certainly some if not many of the three thousand must have been in this sinful relationship.
Why should we highlight this one fact when in fact there are many things Peter did not tell people on Pentecost. Do we assume by the silence that the sinful practices were acceptable to God? We have other passages in scripture that regulate this practice. This is a very weak doctrinal point. Peter did not teach the people about the Lord's supper, did he? Peter did not discuss the qualifications of elders and deacons, did he? Peter did not discuss the return of Christ, did he? What did he discuss? Let us notice what these false promoters are ignoring. Acts 2:40-41, "And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls." What were these many other words? No one knows for sure. But even if Peter did not discuss adulterous relationships, the silence of scripture does not authorize or allow them in this passage. We have other passages which deal with this subject.
There is the doctrine that ALL marriages are scriptural. In order to show this doctrine, they must use human logic and deductive reasoning.
1 Corinthians 7:2, "But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband." Genesis 2:18, "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.'" Hebrews 13:4, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." 1 Corinthians 7:9, "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." By taking a few select verses and combining them, we have the doctrine that since God says "It is not good for the man to be alone" and since the Hebrews writer said "Let marriage be held in honor" the contention of this doctrine is that we are wrong to assume that a marriage relationship could be anything but honorable. These people teach that we misuse the scriptures when we say that a second (unscriptural) marriage is adultery. These people use a limited definition of adultery to say that one cannot commit adultery with his own wife. You can only commit adultery with someone who is not your wife.
For this doctrine to be held up, certain passages of scripture have to be removed from God's word or ignored. We have seen where some have taught that the words of Jesus do not apply to us. Now they have to ignore what the apostles taught, change the interpretation, or find another application other than what we are discussing. For example, I have read some teach that Romans 7:2-3 is not discussing MDR but is only discussing the Christians lifelong faithfulness to God, and that the passage must not be used in argumentation for a position in MDR as we hold.
Like we said earlier, if you take portions of scripture out of context, you can teach anything. I know that there are many who read this article that have the ability to use the same outline that these people use and justify anything including sin of the worst kind.
And Many More
These are but a few of the many doctrines. Some of these inter-relate to each other. Some of the teachers of one doctrine have adopted the ideas from other doctrines. Many of these people employ emotion and feelings to teach that we who are faithful are hurting and causing unjust pain. They teach that we are cruel to break up a home, to cause suffering, to cause further society problems by removing a father or mother from a home.
The question of fellowship also has to come into play with these doctrines. Remember that I said that many of our friends and close associates are teaching some of these doctrines. If we believe them to be false, how long can we tolerate this error? How can we sit back and allow them to teach souls something that will bring about eternal punishment?
Each of us must ultimately decide for ourselves if we are going to fellowship those who we determine to be teaching error. My only question is, "Why would you want to associate with error?" Many have thought that they could do so for the purpose of having the opportunity to teach the offending brother. In most cases, we have come to accept the thinking that fellowship is acceptance and that we are in agreement with everything about them. 2 John 9-11, " Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds."
[Note- The current series of articles in this magazine by Joe R. Price is recommended for study in the subject of fellowship and unity. This should answer many of these questions, and is highly recommended--cws]
Any other situation is wrong according to scripture.
Any other situation is wrong according to scripture.
This study is by no means exhaustive or complete. Many of the doctrines have different positions, and even those who hold the same positions usually disagree on certain scriptures and use of such.
Anytime we have a doctrine that has eternal consequences, it is deserving of our attention. We must be concerned with the souls of those who are being taught. They must be taught that commitment to God and Christ is a total one. They cannot be allowed to continue in sin. It is in the interest of souls that we must discuss these issues.
If this is causing the church to split and divide, then so be it. The salvation of souls and the upholding of the truth are the two most important things that Christ came to this earth to establish. Since there is a judgment for each of us, we all stand accountable to God for the things we do, teach, say, and practice. We must be sure, because "whatever is not of faith is sin". Romans 14:23
Once again, Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
e-mail this author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to Watchman Front Page
return to August index