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Mississippi Shepherd

The Husband of One Wife

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My apologies up front for any aggravation or heartache this question poses, as it seems to evoke pretty passionate responses when brought up, but

  the only way for me to learn is to ask.

If Paul intended for "The husband of one wife" to mean never have been divorced, would that include a divorce before a man was saved?

God tells us in Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 43:25 and Psalm 103:11-12 that He not only forgives, but that He will also forget our transgressions when we turn to Him.

One gentleman told me that sin has consequences (such as unwed pregnancy or drunk driving, etc), which I agree with, but the ones he listed are societal consequences for our sin and the penalties ensued. Are we always married in the eyes of God, even if we are divorced before we become aware of His loving grace and give ourselves to Him?

 

 

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This should be interesting, although repetitious in the overall scheme of posts on this message board. I don't think the subject will bring up aggravation or heartache, but it will probably elicit passionate replies.

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1 hour ago, Mississippi Shepherd said:

My apologies up front for any aggravation or heartache this question poses, as it seems to evoke pretty passionate responses when brought up, but

  the only way for me to learn is to ask.

If Paul intended for "The husband of one wife" to mean never have been divorced, would that include a divorce before a man was saved?

God tells us in Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 43:25 and Psalm 103:11-12 that He not only forgives, but that He will also forget our transgressions when we turn to Him.

One gentleman told me that sin has consequences (such as unwed pregnancy or drunk driving, etc), which I agree with, but the ones he listed are societal consequences for our sin and the penalties ensued. Are we always married in the eyes of God, even if we are divorced before we become aware of His loving grace and give ourselves to Him?

 

 

The premise of your question is a bit ill-founded. You ask if the husband of one wife were to refer to never having been divorced, then would that included before salvation in the light of forgiveness. However, if the husband of one wife does refer to remarriage (not divorce, remarriage; they're two different issues), then forgiveness would take away sin, but not marriage. The issue Paul is addressing is not sin so much as polygamy. So the real question is does the husband of one wife refer to remarriage.

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 I've heard the side of the debate that states even after you're divorced, you are still married in the eyes of God.

Deuteronomy 24:4 lets me know exactly how God feels about divorce.

If I rephrase the question to; "Does a man who has been divorced and remarried have more than one wife?" then is there a particular verse in our bible that says, or at least points to, God still looking at you being married after the divorce?

In 1 Corinthians 4:6, Paul warned people not to "go beyond what is written."

In Revelation 2, Jesus rebuked a couple of churches for tolerating evil and false doctrine.

If the phrase "husband of one wife" is properly interpreted as "never divorced" then we should never go beyond what the word of God allows.

If "husband of one wife" does not refer to divorce, then those who have issued a blanket prohibition of service by divorced men have gone imposed human rules on God's Word and that is no small matter.

Has the growing prevalence of divorce made the baptist church compromise on the matter; or has the growing prevalence of divorce made the church study the subject and find out they were wrong?

One side of this debate is wrong and goes against God's Word. Being relatively new in my walk with Christ (compared to those raised in God's house), you can understand my concern about not being led off the narrow path, even by those who honestly feel they are right.

I do thank you for any input and guidance on the subject.

Edited by Mississippi Shepherd
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I normally don't get involved in these, simply because it ends up being a slapping match between opposing thoughts, however, I will offer a few gentle points.

(And I am unlikely to "defend" them or enter into discussion about them.)

Matthew 5:31-32
(31)  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
(32)  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.


The Law is vs 31, the Lord's restating is vs 32 - note that in this brief saying it is plain that there is only one ground for divorce, and the divorced "WOMAN" is an adulterer if she remarries. Note also that the woman is an adulterer if she remarries EVEN IF the divorce fits under the "saving for the cause" phrase.

I might be inferred from this that it applies equally to men, but that is an assumption. the reader will decide if it is a reasonable assumption.

Matthew 19:3-9
(3)  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
(4)  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
(5)  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
(6)  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(7)  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
(8)  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
(9)  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
 

I will note regarding this passage that the Lord first states the plan for marriage, and concludes that in vs 6, stating quite clearly that "what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

He then finishes His statement. This is God's plan for marriage in its entirety - it should not be broken. Argue all you like against it, but that is what it says. 

The Pharisees then press Him further with regard to the idea that Moses commanded divorce. Note here that Jesus specifically uses the term "suffered" in this instance, NOT commanded, but probably the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS PASSAGE is that it was "suffered" for the hardness of their hearts. If a man is willing to admit that he has hardened his heart against God, then divorce is allowed, BUT EVEN THEN under specific circumstances: fornication.

This is a repeat of the previous, however this time is DOES INDEED refer to the man as an adulterer if he then remarries, except for fornication.

(A side note: In my studies I have not found a place where God COMMANDED divorce. Look carefully before throwing up suggestions. I could be wrong, but so far.....)

1 Corinthians 7:10-16
(10)  And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
(11)  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
(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?

A wife shouldn't divorce her husband - if she does, she should not remarry. Again, it does not specifically list the converse (husband leaving wife) - the reader will have to consider whether it is reasonable to apply it to husbands as well.

A saved man married to an unsaved woman, shall not divorce his wife. 

A saved woman married to an unsaved man, shall not divorce her husband.

BUT IF THE UNBELIEVER wants a divorce, then let him (or her) - the saved one "is not under bondage in such cases".

 

Now then, to the Question at hand:

Aside from the matter of fornication, and that allowed (NOT commanded), if a man divorces his wife for any reason, it is not a valid divorce in God's eyes. He clearly stated "what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

Therefore, according to the statement of God, that man IS STILL MARRIED, for it is not a legitimate divorce. In my reading, the "exception clause" was given for those who were hard hearted, and such a man (if still hard hearted) is not really qualified anyway.

The ONLY case where it clearly sets this aside is where a believer has no part in the divorce other than to let it happen.

This is the only place where we see it CLEARLY stated that he is not under bondage.

In light of these, the "husband of one wife" statement is not so much about how that phrase is understood, as it is about whether it is a legitimate divorce in God's eyes.

If it is not, and the man has divorced wrongly, and then remarried, in God's eyes he has two wives, and is therefore ineligible. 

 

 

Edited by DaveW

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I think that maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not saying that divorce doesn't matter, I'm saying that divorce doesn't make you the husband of more than one wife in anyone's eyes, remarriage does. Let me give you an example: A man gets married and divorced when he is lost, but he doesn't get remarried. He gets saved and says he's called to Pastor. He isn't the husband of more than one wife, because he never remarried. Now whether that divorce disqualifies him or not is a totally different subject, but he isn't the husband of more than one wife.

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10 hours ago, Musician4God1611 said:

I think that maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not saying that divorce doesn't matter, I'm saying that divorce doesn't make you the husband of more than one wife in anyone's eyes, remarriage does. Let me give you an example: A man gets married and divorced when he is lost, but he doesn't get remarried. He gets saved and says he's called to Pastor. He isn't the husband of more than one wife, because he never remarried. Now whether that divorce disqualifies him or not is a totally different subject, but he isn't the husband of more than one wife.

 Applying the rules of grammar to Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2, "the husband of one wife" is present tense.

Edited by swathdiver

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17 hours ago, Musician4God1611 said:

I think that maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not saying that divorce doesn't matter, I'm saying that divorce doesn't make you the husband of more than one wife in anyone's eyes, remarriage does. Let me give you an example: A man gets married and divorced when he is lost, but he doesn't get remarried. He gets saved and says he's called to Pastor. He isn't the husband of more than one wife, because he never remarried. Now whether that divorce disqualifies him or not is a totally different subject, but he isn't the husband of more than one wife.

 

6 hours ago, swathdiver said:

 Applying the rules of grammar to Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2, "the husband of one wife" is present tense.

In his example, the guy - we'll call him Bill, WAS the husband of one wife (we'll call her Sue). If he divorces Sue, he IS NOT the husband of one wife in the state's eyes. Is he NOW the husband of one wife in God's eyes? If no and he marries Frieda, he NOW has one wife. If yes, then he is STILL the husband of one wife (Sue) because he hasn't remarried. 

 

Or this, Bill and Sue marry, they divorced, Bill and Frieda marry, Sue dies --- how many wives does Bill now have (presently) -- I know such a case.

 

Blameless deserves it's own separate thread (mentioned before an 6 page sub- topic begins).

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14 hours ago, swathdiver said:

 Applying the rules of grammar to Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2, "the husband of one wife" is present tense.

Also applying the rules of grammar, you will notice that I didn't say whether or not remarriage makes him the husband of more than one wife in God's eyes, but rather that it does in someone's eyes.

 

On ‎09‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 2:09 PM, Musician4God1611 said:

I think that maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not saying that divorce doesn't matter, I'm saying that divorce doesn't make you the husband of more than one wife in anyone's eyes, remarriage does. Let me give you an example: A man gets married and divorced when he is lost, but he doesn't get remarried. He gets saved and says he's called to Pastor. He isn't the husband of more than one wife, because he never remarried. Now whether that divorce disqualifies him or not is a totally different subject, but he isn't the husband of more than one wife.

Emphasis on the anyone.

I know what I believe on this matter. I'm firmly planted in said belief. But I also believe that revealing what I believe will only make people argue. Therefore, I've chosen to not share my beliefs on the matter.

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 Mr. DaveW got my attention with Matthew 19:6. I actually wrote it on the inside of the cover of my current bible 6 years ago as a testament to my wife. I've read that verse countless times, but you've managed to make me look at it from a wider angle.

When discussing the topic of the actual  meaning of "husband of one wife", a couple of times I've been told (and quite passionately) that a man is still married in the eyes of God even after he divorces, therefor giving credence to their side of the discussion that he would have multiple wives if he remarries. That's the first time that particular verse was used to substantiate that view of the topic, at least in a way that got my attention. Appreciate that! It's easier to comprehend when you don't feel like you're being stoned!

But if we believe 'husband of one wife" means he must always, even as an unbeliever, have had no more than one wife in his lifetime, wouldn't we also extend the same understanding to the other qualifications so they include his distant or pre-Christian past?

Randy Alcorn put it to the test by adding the same interpretive phrase to all the other qualifications;

"This would mean that any elder must:"

 Have always, even as an unbeliever, been above reproach. Have always, even as an unbeliever, been sober minded. Have always, even as an unbeliever, been self controlled. Have always, even as an unbeliever, been respectable. Have always, even as an unbeliever, been hospitable. Have always, even as an unbeliever, not been a drunkard. Have always, even as an unbeliever, not been violent or quarrelsome. Have always, even as an unbeliever, not been a lover of money. Have always, even as an unbeliever, managed his household well."

"This makes absolutely no sense. It requires the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit in pre-Christian people who by definition did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. It also presents a pragmatic problem, since virtually no one would be elder qualified, due to past choices and lifestyles stemming from a radically different worldview and heart condition. I don’t think the passage could possibly assume one has always been elder qualified, that he has never in the past violated the character requirements of elders, only that he is presently qualified, as a result of the transforming work of God’s Spirit in the man’s life. 

So, do we believe the meaning is never having been divorced, i.e. the “husband of one wife, not just now but even as an unbeliever”? If so, what is there in the text (not just our preferential reasons of not wanting to appear to make a concession to our culture) that would cause us not to extend the same interpretive assumption to those other qualifications? " Randy Alcorn

As one man said, tongue in cheek; "Instead of divorcing her, I could have murdered my wife, got a good lawyer and got off in 5 years, repented and rededicated my life to Christ and then become a deacon."

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I'm not impressed by people who dismiss immoral behavior as "before"  they were saved.  In America, practically every Christian was raised as a Christian.  They didn't cease fornicating because they later accepted Christ.  The best anyone can tell, they just settled down.  

I would not be member of any church with any remarried leadership.  

 

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I'd like to know how you come to a conclusion such as this: "practically every Christian was raised as a Christian."

What of the thousands that were never exposed to Christianity saved later in life or witnessed to and saved? How are these thousands representative of "practicality every Christian"?

If they were not saved, they were not a Christian, plain and simple, they were lost

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14 hours ago, Brother D said:

  In America, practically every Christian was raised as a Christian.

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Wow, I know MANY people (myself included) who were NOT raised in a Christian home or with the Bible as the standard of right/wrong and yet were later confronted with the Biblical truth of their unregenerate state that could ONLY be remedied by grace through faith in the one who was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him.

Curious as to your definition of : 1)"raised as a Christian" and of

                                                         2) "Christian"

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6 hours ago, OLD fashioned preacher said:

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Wow, I know MANY people (myself included) who were NOT raised in a Christian home or with the Bible as the standard of right/wrong and yet were later confronted with the Biblical truth of their unregenerate state that could ONLY be remedied by grace through faith in the one who was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him.

Curious as to your definition of : 1)"raised as a Christian" and of

                                                         2) "Christian"

 

Did your parents identify as Christian?  Did you, growing up, identify as Christian?

 

I know a lot of unchristian old people who commit no violence or fornication, who were once very wild.  How do you explain that?  

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You completely ignored the questions I asked, so they are again:

How do you define : 1)"raised as a Christian"

                                     2) "Christian"

 

Identify as Christian makes one Christian? -- Chapter and Verse please.

I have an aunt who identifies as Scandinavia but is of Polish ancestry. Does that make her truly Scandinavian??

2 hours ago, Brother D said:

 

Did your parents identify as Christian?  Did you, growing up, identify as Christian?

I never heard my parents identify as anything, I never saw a Bible in the house, we didn't have weddings or funerals in churches, I didn't know as a child (or teen) where people obtained Bibles (nor did I care).

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On 7/4/2018 at 8:27 PM, Brother D said:

I'm not impressed by people who dismiss immoral behavior as "before"  they were saved.  They didn't cease fornicating because they later accepted Christ.  The best anyone can tell, they just settled down. 

 

Hmmm:

1Co 6:9-11  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (emphasis mine)

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Rom 5:20 - 6:2  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (emphasis mine)

 

Sooooo, Are they faking it? Did they just "settle down"? Does that not happen anymore, in this time, in this country? Is God naive? Did God not have anything to do with these passages, it was all Paul?

 

 

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On 7/5/2018 at 6:36 PM, Brother D said:

Did your parents identify as Christian?  Did you, growing up, identify as Christian?  

The Holy Spirit restrains sin in a society.  The more christians, the higher the morality of the people in that society generally speaking.

Now as to the quote above, yes, my parents and grand-parents identified as Christian, they even went to Mass every Easter and Christmas.  What does that reveal?  

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