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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Do You Believe That Divorce And Remarriage Is Acceptable ?


think again

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I would have to disagree with your view here.

If a gay couple would ask to join your church no doubt you would say that they were not living right even though they have a marriage licences

you would expect them to change. why do you not expect those with somebody else's  spouse to do the same ?

 

You're comparing apples and oranges here. We're discussing the Biblical restrictions on a legitimate activity (marriage between a man and a woman). Using a forbidden activity (sodomy) as an example to discuss the first is a fallacious argument. It's like trying to say "If A=B, then C=D." Doesn't work.  Feel free to disagree, though. :)

 

Pardon me, but you seem rather fixated on this subject. Why don't you tell us what's prompting this discussion on your end?

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I have a lot of sympathy with Wretched's view. If we go down mkrishna's route, we end up with all sorts of bizarre scenarios. For example, we might say that if one of an unsaved couple who got married at a drive-thru wedding venue and have kids got saved, they ought to stay with the family for the sake of not committing the sin of divorce. But if the same unsaved couple didn't have any papers, the saved person would be perfectly free to dump his family, and maybe ought to do so for the sake of not being unequally yoked. Even though the devastation caused to the kids and their mother would be the same either way.

 

Can you imagine: three kids in the house and the mother bedridden with some long-term illness and the father comes home and says, "I have been reborn in Christ and am now a new man! And the first thing I'm gonna do is leave all of you--have a nice life!".

 

Mind you, doesn't Christian in Pilgrim's Progress do that?

Pilgrims progress is an allegory of a Christians salvation and his attempt to live a Christian life in spite of the world and the people around him that refused to listen to the truth and be redeemed.  John Bunyan wrote another book after Pilgrims Progress named Christiana which was an allegory about Christian's wife who finally was saved and made her journey through life.  As an Allegory of the Christian journey through this world it it no way implies the leaving of a family or even just a wife in the physical sense.  We are to continue in pursuing our goal of living a Godly life in spite of those who may attempt (overtly or not) to hinder us in our journey.

 

Great books by a great writer.  I wish everyone would read them.

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in verse 25 it says" concerning virgins" so personally I dont believe it is talking about second marriage .
How do you say there is no sin in remarrying when you read mathew 5 and mark 10

Matthew 5 & Mark 10 are under the Law... before the testator died. We are in a New Covenant. The Mosaic Law does not apply to us, we are under Grace.

verse 25 says they have no command concerning virgins. And notice verse 26... It is good for the PRESENT DISTRESS. It was not a rule to be OBserved through all ages, only for that particular time.
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You're comparing apples and oranges here. We're discussing the Biblical restrictions on a legitimate activity (marriage between a man and a woman). Using a forbidden activity (sodomy) as an example to discuss the first is a fallacious argument. It's like trying to say "If A=B, then C=D." Doesn't work.  Feel free to disagree, though. :)

 

Pardon me, but you seem rather fixated on this subject. Why don't you tell us what's prompting this discussion on your end?

I will disagree lol.

as far as being fixated on this subject i guess you could say i  have a one track mind.

i have seen this subject among the church and was wondering what peoples reasons were for not preaching against remarriage.

before I became a member and asked this question i read many of the other topics on here.

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Matthew 5 & Mark 10 are under the Law... before the testator died. We are in a New Covenant. The Mosaic Law does not apply to us, we are under Grace.

verse 25 says they have no command concerning virgins. And notice verse 26... It is good for the PRESENT DISTRESS. It was not a rule to be OBserved through all ages, only for that particular time.

mathew 5 and mark 10 under the law??

you have me very confused there

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:(mosaic law)

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.

should we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid

verse 25 says "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; yet i give my judgement, as one who has OBtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful" pauls opinion all the way to verse 40  is the way I always understood it

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Read that passage in the Gospel again carefully. Jesus did not say one could not divorce.

Many like to say fornication is the only just cause for divorce and that that verse proves it. In reality, it does not. Jesus did not say the only just cause was fornication. He simply said any other cause would cause her to commit adultery

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Read that passage in the Gospel again carefully. Jesus did not say one could not divorce.

Many like to say fornication is the only just cause for divorce and that that verse proves it. In reality, it does not. Jesus did not say the only just cause was fornication. He simply said any other cause would cause her to commit adultery

i am not sure i understand what you are saying but i would like to add that i am not really trying to discuss divorce (even though i believe in most cases it is a sin) but rather remarriage (which seems so clear to me but so many disagree i am trying to find out why)

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just throwing this out there not saying for sure this is right: but I have heard it taught that when you make a vow before God and to your spouse to be married for life then God sees that for life and He sees you as still married to you (first) wife even though you have a paper that claims diferently.

Do you believe that in Gods eyes you are still married?

Do you believe divorce/remarriage is a sin unto death or that a divorced/remarried can never enjoy fellowship with God?

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just throwing this out there not saying for sure this is right: but I have heard it taught that when you make a vow before God and to your spouse to be married for life then God sees that for life and He sees you as still married to you (first) wife even though you have a paper that claims diferently.

Do you believe that in Gods eyes you are still married?

 

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 
I don't try to see through God's eyes. He tells me it is impossible. I believe every word of His Bible, even the parts I will never understand, I take them on faith. I can't see everything so I can't judge fairly. 
 
I feel sorry for remarried people, they always have a burden or maybe its some kind of shame that things failed the 1st time. I'm talking about good moral Christians who have love for their fellow believers and give their time and money to help saved and lost peoples. 
 
I've seen Jesus bless people who are remarried. Spiritual blessings, answer their prayers, etc. I do not want to get between them and Jesus. It was Jesus who set the home up, its older than the church and the law.  I'm sure Jesus knows how to take care of remarried people, if they need punished or blessed, so I leave it up to Him. 
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Do you believe divorce/remarriage is a sin unto death or that a divorced/remarried can never enjoy fellowship with God?

I believe that every sin you commit that the Holy Spirit convicts you of and you do not repent is a sin unto death.

any one can enjoy fellowship with God but if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship

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I believe that every sin you commit that the Holy Spirit convicts you of and you do not repent is a sin unto death.

any one can enjoy fellowship with God but if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship

 

Can you elaborate on this please, all of it?

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I believe that every sin you commit that the Holy Spirit convicts you of and you do not repent is a sin unto death.

any one can enjoy fellowship with God but if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship

 

I have some questions, for understanding, if you will permit me. (1) Do you believe a divorced/remarried man or woman is required to leave that remarried state before they can have forgiveness? (2) Is my first question what you mean when you say "if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship"? (3) Will this same divorced/remarried person be denied salvation?

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I believe that every sin you commit that the Holy Spirit convicts you of and you do not repent is a sin unto death.

any one can enjoy fellowship with God but if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship

I encourage you to read my two posts, #7 & 13, which are the words of the Bible on the subject, including Jesus' own words. Please read them and consider them. I appreciate your zeal, but it can't be how YOU see it, but according to knowledge, to what the Bible says. I don't consider myself an expert on all things Bible, but I have studied this out pretty well and its not complicated. We believers just tend to look at things and make assumptions based on what is written. Like, does 'husband of one wife' mean only married once, or just having one wife you are married to? I would have to say, by Jesus' words to the woman at the well in Samaria, it clearly means married to just one woman, not never having been married and divorced, since in His eyes, she had HAD five husbands, but in fact HAD, at that time, NO husband.

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Sadly, too many believe that if one believes as the Bible teaches, that divorce DOES have acceptable reasons, even by God, that it ipso-facto means one is pro-divorce. I think most people who have been divorced are generally very anti-divorce, having been through the pain and trouble it inevitably causes.

 

I love my wife dearly, but if I could go back in time with the lessons I have learned, I would have done things differently in my first marriage. Of course, one of those things I would have done differently is to NOT marry my first wife, because I know we were incompatible, particularly spiritually, but not living a God-centered life when I met her, it was all about hormones. I suppose if I could have gone back in time, I would have gone to meet the woman I am married to now, and began a relationship with her...well, except that she wasn't saved until much later in life.

 

So really, its a good things we can't go back, because we would still mess things up!

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Sadly, too many believe that if one believes as the Bible teaches, that divorce DOES have acceptable reasons, even by God, that it ipso-facto means one is pro-divorce. I think most people who have been divorced are generally very anti-divorce, having been through the pain and trouble it inevitably causes.

 

I love my wife dearly, but if I could go back in time with the lessons I have learned, I would have done things differently in my first marriage. Of course, one of those things I would have done differently is to NOT marry my first wife, because I know we were incompatible, particularly spiritually, but not living a God-centered life when I met her, it was all about hormones. I suppose if I could have gone back in time, I would have gone to meet the woman I am married to now, and began a relationship with her...well, except that she wasn't saved until much later in life.

 

So really, its a good things we can't go back, because we would still mess things up!

 

Aint that the truth brother

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ok im back :)

I have some questions, for understanding, if you will permit me. (1) Do you believe a divorced/remarried man or woman is required to leave that remarried state before they can have forgiveness? (2) Is my first question what you mean when you say "if one does not repent (turn away)  from there sin they will not enjoy Gods fellowship"? (3) Will this same divorced/remarried person be denied salvation?

(1) 1 Corinthians 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband:anyone can have forgiveness, but you tell me can one be a follower of Christ and not follow Christ? (2) maybe I should say it this way "when I was living in sin I could not enjoy Gods fellowship"

(3)no one will be denied salvation. murderers will not be denied salvation, but murders must repent(if you get my drift)

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I encourage you to read my two posts, #7 & 13, which are the words of the Bible on the subject, including Jesus' own words. Please read them and consider them. I appreciate your zeal, but it can't be how YOU see it, but according to knowledge, to what the Bible says. I don't consider myself an expert on all things Bible, but I have studied this out pretty well and its not complicated. We believers just tend to look at things and make assumptions based on what is written. Like, does 'husband of one wife' mean only married once, or just having one wife you are married to? I would have to say, by Jesus' words to the woman at the well in Samaria, it clearly means married to just one woman, not never having been married and divorced, since in His eyes, she had HAD five husbands, but in fact HAD, at that time, NO husband.

i am trying my best to look at the subject through the light of the Bible. i am not trying to knock you so please don't take offense but when you got remarried what did you think Luke 16;18(and other accounts of this in the Gospels) meant?  notice it does not say husband of one wife at a time. also as you said "We believers just tend to look at things and make assumptions based on what is written" we don't know if the woman at the well divorced those 5 husbands or they died.in any case does Jesus ever condone divorce or remarriage?

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In answer to this topic - Yes I believe Divorce and Re-marriage is acceptable.

In accordance with the scriptures, and including the Lord's forgiveness and direction.

do you believe that murder is acceptably? they are together in James 2 all can be forgiven but does that make it right or acceptable?

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i am trying my best to look at the subject through the light of the Bible. i am not trying to knock you so please don't take offense but when you got remarried what did you think Luke 16;18(and other accounts of this in the Gospels) meant?  notice it does not say husband of one wife at a time. also as you said "We believers just tend to look at things and make assumptions based on what is written" we don't know if the woman at the well divorced those 5 husbands or they died.in any case does Jesus ever condone divorce or remarriage?

As I said, look at my posts because pretty much all I did was quote scripture.

 

Jesus' reply to the woman about her former 5 husbands, then adding that the man she was with currently wasn't her husband, (hence, living together in sin), sounds suspiciously accusatory.

 

However, yes, Jesus clearly did condone divorce when He said that one could divorce over the sin of fornication. But remember, we need to take this argument beyond Jesus' ministry, unless you believe that anything else is not scripture, and thus we need to consider that Paul said that a believer married to an unbeliever, if the unbeliever left them, they were not bound to them, which clearly tells me that yes, you could be divorced and remarry.

 

Again, its true in the issue of a bishop, that it doesn't say one wife at a time. However, it also doesn't say "divorced", so either way we are making an assumption. However, I believe that if it meant divorce, it would clearly say 'divorced".   When Paul gave this instruction, it was not just to Israel, but to ALL churches at all times at all places-it applies very generally-thus, especially at the time of the writing, people in various places still married multiple wives, and this makes the most sense in the context.

 

Let's also consider it against the direction given in widows being taken into the care of the church-there Paul makes it very clear when he says, "Having been the wife of one man" So, this clearly means to have never been divorced. If this was what Paul meant in context of bishops, why not use the same language, "Having been the husband of one wife", which would make it much clearer that it referred to divorce?

 

Things in the BIble are written they way they are for a reason, and we should accept the clearest reading whenever possible, taking into account also the other passages on the subject.

 

So, Jesus said divorce over fornication was acceptable, Paul added that one was not in bondage to an unbelieving spouse, indicating it was alright to be remarried under this circumstance, and that if believing spouses divorced, they should stay unmarried, or remarry one another-so, yeah, divorced.

 

Not seeing the difficulty here, if one isn't assuming things that aren't there. And I am not accusing you, because I have done it myself, and prOBably in places still do-we're not perfect, but I believe taking all the passages on the subject into consideration, Yes, there are acceptable reasons to be divorced, and even remarried.

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