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         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.

1Cor 7: Divorce and Remarriage


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I am tired of clogging up the David Cloud posts with this issue so we'll do it here

Also, since I have been accussed of only reading part of the chapter, we'll just lay out the entire chapter here.

1-Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Vs. 7-9, clearly Paul believed it would be better for a believer to remain unmarried, so as to put their entire effort into serving the Lord, but he also recognizes that he is the exception to the rule, not the rule, and that it is better to be married than to burn in lust.

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.

Here, we see a basic set of commands looking at marriage and divorce where both are believers: Wives are not to leave, (divorce) their husbands-in the eyes of the Lord a woman doesn't have that authority, cannot end the marriage on her own, despite what the world allows. BUT, recognizing of course that the world allows, (or would allow it), we see that if a woman leaves her husband, SHE initiates it, then she is to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to him. Then we see that the husband is NOT to divorce his wife. No qualifying it, it is forbidden. Herein we see no direction for a wife who is put away unmnustly by her husband, and as such, since there is no command or word against her remarriage in this case, it is bets to assume liberty and not judge when there is not a word against it.   

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?

Clearly here it is God's will that marriages remain intact, even if the couple are unequally yoked, believer with unbeliever. If the unbeliever wishes to remain married, the believer is not to use the 'unequally yoked' card and divorce them-they should remain together BUT, if the unbeliever departs, let them depart, the believer is not under bondage. What does this mean? You know it's not rocket science-bondage, a slave, bound to that other person. The same greek term is used in Galatians 4 to describe the bondage we had to the world and sin before we knew Christ-but when we knew Christ we were freed from that bondage and began a new walk with the Saviour. So clearly the context indicates, in the plain reading, that if we are not bound to the unbeliever, we are therfore free to pursue a new relationship.

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Taking Vs 27 & 28 in their context here, 1-if we are loosed, we should seek not to marry again, to put your time toward the Lord, (personally what I would have preferred to see kent Hovind do, but it isn't my call), BUT if you DO marry, (ie, remarry), THOU HAST NOT SINNED.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

What law? Mosaic law? Local law at Corinth? Time and again the use of this word, in the Greek, 'nomos' refers, in context, to the mosaic law. Since we are not under such law it does not apply to believers.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

 

So there is the entire chapter and every portion referring to marriage and divorce and remarriage. It seems pretty cut and dry: if divorced, in most cases remarriage, while recommended against to put the things of God first, it is clearly not a sin. The ony time we see it to be said to be wrong is because it is against the law of Moses, that a woman is bound to her husband unless he is dead. So all considered, if we are to read remarriage to be wrong in these cases, we MUST insert it into the language because it is simply not there.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

It's interesting, but sometimes devastating how some interpret scriptures pertaining to this subject. A former pastor of mine cut off missionary support to a long-time preacher-friend simply because the man remarried after his wife died. Had us all meet in a SundaySchool room to vote on it. (votes always went his way 99.9% of the time) His reason? The man was no longer the "husband of one wife". But that was written to "deacons" and "bishops" anyway; not missionaries. smh

Edited by heartstrings
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2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

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?

Clearly here it is God's will that marriages remain intact, even if the couple are unequally yoked, believer with unbeliever. If the unbeliever wishes to remain married, the believer is not to use the 'unequally yoked' card and divorce them-they should remain together BUT, if the unbeliever departs, let them depart, the believer is not under bondage. What does this mean? You know it's not rocket science-bondage, a slave, bound to that other person. The same greek term is used in Galatians 4 to describe the bondage we had to the world and sin before we knew Christ-but when we knew Christ we were freed from that bondage and began a new walk with the Saviour. So clearly the context indicates, in the plain reading, that if we are not bound to the unbeliever, we are therfore free to pursue a new relationship.

Actually Mike, I think you are overstation what the Bible says in your line here. The Bible does not say in this pasage that they free to pursue a new relationship, but rather that they are called to peace. Vs 15.

Be at peace with that spouse. Interesting that the reason for this is that you may save that spouse.

But no mention of freedom to pursue a new relationship. You read that in.

2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Taking Vs 27 & 28 in their context here, 1-if we are loosed, we should seek not to marry again, to put your time toward the Lord, (personally what I would have preferred to see kent Hovind do, but it isn't my call), BUT if you DO marry, (ie, remarry), THOU HAST NOT SINNED.

 

..................

Here you equate "being loosed" with being divorced, but again, I feel you are reading that in,  rather than reading it out of the passage. Being loosed is clearly defined later in the passage:

2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

No longer bound, or in other words "loosed" by death - THEN freed to marry again.

And please note, these are comments about your arguments, not about the divorce-remarriage issue per se.

I am not stating a position on that matter either way at this time.

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12 minutes ago, DaveW said:

Actually Mike, I think you are overstation what the Bible says in your line here. The Bible does not say in this pasage that they free to pursue a new relationship, but rather that they are called to peace. Vs 15.

Be at peace with that spouse. Interesting that the reason for this is that you may save that spouse. Except the verses say "If they depart". How can this equate to being at peace with them, when they have departed?

But no mention of freedom to pursue a new relationship. You read that in.Not being bound means just that. If I am not in bondage to a former spouse, then I am free, correct? But you say that freedom comes with bondage, not free to marry. Can't buy it.

Here you equate "being loosed" with being divorced, but again, I feel you are reading that in,  rather than reading it out of the passage. Being loosed is clearly defined later in the passage:  And the verse you reference refers to the law of Moses. It would speak back to what Jesus said about divorce, which is not applicable to us today.

No longer bound, or in other words "loosed" by death - THEN freed to marry again.  Except it doesn't say that. The word, loosed, is the same word used when John the Baptist said he wasn't worthy to unloose Jesus' shoe from his foot. it simply means to separate two things from each other, to include a huisband and wife. nothing about it having to be in death.

And please note, these are comments about your arguments, not about the divorce-remarriage issue per se.

I am not stating a position on that matter either way at this time.

And I appreciate what you have to say on it, but who is reading into this? Those who say these demand a person either never get divorced, or remarried, or myself, that says that clearly it is allowed in some areas, but it doesn't forbid it in other areas? Clearly we are given reasons for divorce. We are told we aren't in bondage to an unsaved spouse who leaves, yet it is being said that in that LACK of bondage, yet we are still bound to them if they live. Which is it? Bondage or non-bondage? Or loss of bondage, but with bondage attached? It makes no sense. This goes along with insisting that where it says that an elder must be the husband of one wife, it MUST mean never having been divorced, when it doesn't say that. Instead, there are those who declare that, at that time, people didn't have multiple wives, yet historically, they certainly did. If they meant divorce, why not refer to divorce or putting away? Or having been left? So much is read into scripture that just plain isn't there, and instead of assuming liberty in such cases, we instead assume bondage. I cannot accept that from what I have read.

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Brother Mike,

I have not yet engaged in this discussion with you; however, I now begin . . .

2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

I am tired of clogging up the David Cloud posts with this issue so we'll do it here

Also, since I have been accussed of only reading part of the chapter, we'll just lay out the entire chapter here.

1-Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Vs. 7-9, clearly Paul believed it would be better for a believer to remain unmarried, so as to put their entire effort into serving the Lord, but he also recognizes that he is the exception to the rule, not the rule, and that it is better to be married than to burn in lust.

It is interesting to me that this is the one principle that the apostle Paul continues to repeat throughout 1 Corinthians 7, although he also continues to balance this principle with other truth, that is -- the principle that it would be better if believers did not marry.

2 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

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.

Here, we see a basic set of commands looking at marriage and divorce where both are believers: Wives are not to leave, (divorce) their husbands-in the eyes of the Lord a woman doesn't have that authority, cannot end the marriage on her own, despite what the world allows. BUT, recognizing of course that the world allows, (or would allow it), we see that if a woman leaves her husband, SHE initiates it, then she is to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to him. Then we see that the husband is NOT to divorce his wife. No qualifying it, it is forbidden. Herein we see no direction for a wife who is put away unmnustly by her husband, and as such, since there is no command or word against her remarriage in this case, it is bets to assume liberty and not judge when there is not a word against it.   

Herein you express an assumption concerning the wife who is put away by her husband based upon what is NOT said in the passage.  However, I would contend that it would be better to find an implication based upon what IS said in the passage.  In verse 10 the apostle Paul indicates that the origin for these points is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  As such, the apostle is implying that the full teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself on the matter of marriage, divorce, and remarriage should be considered as the basis for his noted points.  Thus the points of 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 should NOT be taken apart from our Lord's teaching in Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:3-12; & Mark 10:2-12.  Even so, therein we DO find the correct teaching concerning what is acceptable and not acceptable before the Lord when a wife is divorced by her husband.

3 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

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?

Clearly here it is God's will that marriages remain intact, even if the couple are unequally yoked, believer with unbeliever. If the unbeliever wishes to remain married, the believer is not to use the 'unequally yoked' card and divorce them-they should remain together BUT, if the unbeliever departs, let them depart, the believer is not under bondage. What does this mean? You know it's not rocket science-bondage, a slave, bound to that other person. The same greek term is used in Galatians 4 to describe the bondage we had to the world and sin before we knew Christ-but when we knew Christ we were freed from that bondage and began a new walk with the Saviour. So clearly the context indicates, in the plain reading, that if we are not bound to the unbeliever, we are therfore free to pursue a new relationship.

The difficulty here is with your application for the word "bondage" in 1 Corinthians 7:15.  There is nothing at all in this context concerning the matter of remarriage.  Rather, this immediate context is about remaining married to an unsaved spouse.  However, the instruction at the beginning of verse 15 is that if the unbelieving spouse himself or herself is the one who desire a divorce, then the believing spouse should allow the divorce to occur without fighting against.  The rest of the verse provides the two-fold reason for this instruction.  First, the believing spouse should not fight against the divorce because he or she is not under the bondage of marriage before the Lord in such, specific cases.  This issue is NOT about pursuing another marriage.  Rather, the issue is about not fighting against the present divorce.  Second, and complimentary unto the first reason, the believing spouse should not fight against the divorce because God hath called believers unto peace in such cases, not unto contending.  Again the issue is NOT at all about pursuing another marriage.  In fact, if the believing spouse was obeying the principles of this immediate context to that point, there would be no prospects for a remarriage even in thought at this point of decision.  Rather, this issue is about peace concerning the divorce, and nothing else.

3 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Taking Vs 27 & 28 in their context here, 1-if we are loosed, we should seek not to marry again, to put your time toward the Lord, (personally what I would have preferred to see kent Hovind do, but it isn't my call), BUT if you DO marry, (ie, remarry), THOU HAST NOT SINNED.

Herein the counsel of 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 is founded upon the counsel of verses 25-26 -- that it would be better not to be married.  Upon this contextual foundation the apostle Paul provides a series of points.  First, if a believer is already married, he should not seek to be loosed from that wife just because the apostle Paul had counseled that is would be better not to be married.  In addition, the manner by which this husband might be "loosed" from his wife is not at all defined.  Three possible options could be listed, as follows: (1) his wife dies; (2) his wife divorces him; (3) he divorces his wife.  However, the verb "to be loosed" is grammatically presented, not in the active voice, but in the passive voice, thus indicating something, not that he himself actively pursued, but that was done to him.  Second, if the believing husband is loosed from his wife, he should not seek after another wife.  Again herein we should take note that the verb "art loosed" is in the passive voice, indicating something done to him, not something that he actively pursued.  Even so, I myself would contend that this is referring under the "loosing" of death, not of divorce.  Finally, if the "loosed" believer does marry another wife, he would not have committed a sin although he contradicted the apostle Paul's counsel that it would be better not to be married.

3 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

What law? Mosaic law? Local law at Corinth? Time and again the use of this word, in the Greek, 'nomos' refers, in context, to the mosaic law. Since we are not under such law it does not apply to believers.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

The word "law" is employed 17 times in the epistle of 1 Corinthians.  The three times before 1 Corinthians 7:39 it refers to the local law.  Three times it is used in relation to those (Jews) who were under the Law of Moses, and twice it is used in relation to those (Gentiles) who were without the Law of Moses.  Twice it used by the apostle Paul concerning the truth that he as a believer was "not without law to God," but was "under the law to Christ."  Three times it is used of a requirement in the Law of Moses as a support for a particular principle to be obeyed by New Testament believers.  Once it is used in relation to a quotation from the "law."  Finally, once it is used to indicate that "the strength of sin is the law," which would certainly still apply unto this time of the New Testament.  Thus your argument here does not quite fit with the usage of the "law" in the context of 1 Corinthians.

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55 minutes ago, John Young said:

We certainly are not bound to the law as that was what the Pharisees pointed to in order to validate divorce. However, Christ did not point to the law but to the heart of God in His creative acts. 

Mark 10:4-8 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to puther away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Paul did not say the believing were free from their spouse but rather the unbelieving. Kent's wife is a believer and so he is not free to marry another and be guiltless. "She left me first" is not a justifiable excuse to remarry. Obviously there is forgiveness from God in this but their will also be repercussions from God as well.

1 Corinthians 6:15-17 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

Kent's wife did not divorce him for another man and is still single. Rather Kent chose his new ministry over her and has decided to go his own way without considering her needs. She stayed faithful all the while he was in prison and the thought was that when he got out that their son would continue to run the ministry and he would be retired for a while. That is why his son, Eric, salvaged what he could of the ministry property and transferred it all to the new company, God Quest, Inc., and kept the ministry running all these years.

The time leading up to the divorce (and even now) there was a very real possibility that the government would bring a new case against Mr. and Mrs. Hovind to imprison them and then seize the company's assets but Kent started/continued a separate ministry in their company owned home (created a link for the government back to Mrs. Hovind, their son, and the company). They repeatedly tried to get him to understand the need not to start this separate ministry but he would not listen. The legal divorce and eviction were to create a division between them in order to keep the government from building a case against them again. I doubt Kent understands this and took it as them betraying him (he was never good with legal regulations and financial accountability). So he decided to move on with his separate ministry rather then leaving it to work on their marriage.

Now he is trying to use God and His Word to justify a new marriage to a divorced woman. He has somewhat acknowledged (not directly) that what he is about to do is a sin but then he tries to justify that God will forgive him anyway because "we are all sinners" and shouldn't judge him in this area "because we all lust" and "its better to marry [by implication adding "again"] then to burn". I still like Kent  and pray for him and his future usefulness with God but I do think this is all very tragic.

[Re-posting my post from the David Cloud thread.]

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15 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

 

It is interesting to me that this is the one principle that the apostle Paul continues to repeat throughout 1 Corinthians 7, although he also continues to balance this principle with other truth, that is -- the principle that it would be better if believers did not marry.

 

What you say here is very true. Strangely enough, this is among the most ironic of seeming contradictions one can find when applied directly to the common misinterpretations of the qualifications of bishops and deacons.

 

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Mike, in the other thread said:

"All the verses above I have dealt with, but it seems we only want to consider part of them. It is as dangerous to take away from God's word as it is to add to it. I am not adding, but you are taking from. be very careful in removing scripture to make oit suit your views.  We so badly want to believe that it is always a sin to divorce and remarry, that we are willing to alter God's word to suit that view but it is just plain wrong, as wrong as the Pharisees who asked Jesus if it was alright for a man to put away his wife for any reason. There are boundaries, certainly, but there are acceptable reasons for divorce and remarriage, and when there is not something specified, we must allow for liberty."

 

Two things:

You absolutely add when you refer to vs 15 and 16 and say: "we are therfore free to pursue a new relationship."

Such a thing is not in fact mentioned in those verses, and you are extrapolating that conclusion where it is not stated. Is it reasonable? That is another question, but it is not stated in the verses.

Secondly, in the above section you say:

"We so badly want to believe that it is always a sin to divorce and remarry, that we are willing to alter God's word to suit that view..."

I would point out that I have no reason to be biased about this matter, you have a very evident interest in making sure you understand the passage a particular way.

That doesn't make you automatically wrong, but your accusation above that "we want so badly to believe...." is on my part an entirely unjust accusation. Yes, there is somone in this discussion who "wants so badly to believe" a certain way about this, but it is not myself.

I have no vested interest, and in fact I stated no affiliation with either side of the discussion.

 

 

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Well now, for the sake of clarification --

My present position on the subject of divorce and of remarriage after divorce would be as follows:

1.  I believe that divorce is a sin against God is some cases, but that it is not a sin against God in other cases as precisely granted by the teaching of Scripture.  I believe that the two cases wherein divorce is not a sin is for the case of unrepentant fornication or for the case of an unbeliever desiring to divorce a believer.

2.  I believe that remarriage after a divorce is a sin against God in all cases (unless if the ex-spouse were to die sometime thereafter).  However, I believe that in some cases a remarriage after a divorce would be viewed by God as the sin of adultery, whereas in other cases it would be viewed simply as a the sin of disobedience. 

3.  I do NOT believe in the perpetual adultery perspective concerning a remarriage after a divorce, wherein it would be a case that God viewed as the sin of adultery.  Rather, I believe that the process of "getting remarried" itself is that which God views as the sin of adultery, not of the ongoing marriage relationship thereafter.

(By the way, this position is NOT that which I was previously taught on the subject.)

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Pastor Markle,

If our Lord Jesus Christ grants that it is permissible (though not desirable) to divorce in the case of unrepentant adultery, then how could it possibly be a sin to remarry under that circumstance?  This conclusion does not seem to follow.  A divorce is the END of a marriage!  And if God Himself recognizes adultery as a legitimate end of marriage, then how could remarrying someone be constituted as adultery?

The act of adultery is in fact a dis-annulment of the marriage.  The marriage relationship itself has been broken and violated.  The hope would be that the offending party would repent, and that the marriage would resume.  While the marriage may be still legally binding, the moral, ethical, and physical aspects of the marriage cease at the point of adultery.  The fact is that the marriage has already ended in all practical aspects although not legally.  Again, we would hope for restitution, repentance, and restoration.  

Now, if Jesus Christ said that under the circumstance of adultery that divorce was permissible, then a remarriage by the innocent party would then ALSO be permissible.  It seems to me that the matter is clearly stated in the gospel narratives on the subject.  

As I highly respect you, I look forward to your response.

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I Cor, chapter 7 is the final authority for NT churches in this matter. Blending the Bible together to attempt to figure out what we as NT Christians apply to ourselves is where all confusion, debate, disagreement come in. Divorce and remarriage is only one of several areas like this that are up for constant debate and for no reason at all.

Verse 27 and 28: Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

It don't get any clearer than that and it is without caveat.

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1 hour ago, wretched said:

I Cor, chapter 7 is the final authority for NT churches in this matter. Blending the Bible together to attempt to figure out what we as NT Christians apply to ourselves is where all confusion, debate, disagreement come in. Divorce and remarriage is only one of several areas like this that are up for constant debate and for no reason at all.

Verse 27 and 28: Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

It don't get any clearer than that and it is without caveat.

Brother "Wretched,"

Yet earlier in the very same context, with all of the "command" authority of our Lord, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 states the following -- "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."

So then, do these verses, in the very same context of 1 Corinthians 7, grant the option of remarriage after a divorce?  If they do not, then do they stand in contradiction to the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:27-28?  Or, is there some other way to be "loosed from a wife" other than through divorce, about which 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 might be speaking?

As such, I would contend that your so-called "clarity" through 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 requires a consideration from the WHOLE context of 1 Corinthians 7.

_____________________________________________

 

13 hours ago, Steve Schwenke said:

As I highly respect you, I look forward to your response.

Brother Schwenke,

First, I wish to thank you for the compliment of your "high" respect.

Even so, as I have the opportunity of adequate time, I shall provide my response.  However, this response will require a bit more than a "quick" posting.  Thus I will need more sufficient time to develop a more thorough posting.  I thank you in advance for your patience in this matter.

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3 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother "Wretched,"

Yet earlier in the very same context, with all of the "command" authority of our Lord, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 states the following -- "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."

So then, do these verses, in the very same context of 1 Corinthians 7, grant the option of remarriage after a divorce?  If they do not, then do they stand in contradiction to the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:27-28?  Or, is there some other way to be "loosed from a wife" other than through divorce, about which 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 might be speaking?

As such, I would contend that your so-called "clarity" through 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 requires a consideration from the WHOLE context of 1 Corinthians 7.

_____________________________________________

 

Brother Schwenke,

First, I wish to thank you for the compliment of your "high" respect.

Even so, as I have the opportunity of adequate time, I shall provide my response.  However, this response will require a bit more than a "quick" posting.  Thus I will need more sufficient time to develop a more thorough posting.  I thank you in advance for your patience in this matter.

Hey Brother Scott, long time no argue with..... Let me also state as a qualifier to this post that I also respect your studies and appreciate them. These are my gleanings over the years and are presented only as food for serious thought.

I contend that God settles the divorce/remarriage argument for us as a chosen generation, a peculiar people in verses 27 and 28 using Paul. I also contend that marriage/divorce/remarriage it is not the big deal that we tend to make it to be through Paul. Using the rule of "last mention" (may not be original thought but it is original to me :)) and the rule of who God is addressing by context. When directed only to the church age born again believers in a passage, that passage overrides (by applicability) any previous mention God made to other audiences. Including our Lord's rebukes of the Pharisees over divorce in the Gospels.

After all, God settles many arguments through Paul for the Church age. Another one addressed through this book is the importance (or lack thereof)of marriage in the first place. I think God settles much simply through the following passages after He clarifies the divorce/remarriage issue: I think He also settles the confusion over church office qualifications in the same passages:

29. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Now if God is telling us as "last mention" that marriage is a distraction from true discipleship, how on earth can we think a pastor or deacon has to be married? Or cannot be divorced? I think we grossly misinterpret those qualifications. Husband of one wife is never anywhere else mentioned in the Bible as a definition of "not divorced". It is simply a disqualification for polygamy and written in present tense just as all the rest of the quals are written. Do we really think that single church members although overseen by married men are capable of being far more advanced Spiritually than these pastors/deacons because of their "single" status?? God says a married man by nature will be focused more on the world than on the Lord. After all, a happy wife, makes a happy life (in this world).

I find it sad that most if not all NT churches these days legalistically look down upon single and or divorced adults as "less" advanced Spiritually or even crippled in God's service. As opposed to their married counterparts when God holds the exact opposite view in these passages which are clearly directed to us (NT Churches).

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Steve Schwenke said:

Pastor Markle,

If our Lord Jesus Christ grants that it is permissible (though not desirable) to divorce in the case of unrepentant adultery, then how could it possibly be a sin to remarry under that circumstance?  This conclusion does not seem to follow.  A divorce is the END of a marriage!  And if God Himself recognizes adultery as a legitimate end of marriage, then how could remarrying someone be constituted as adultery?

The act of adultery is in fact a dis-annulment of the marriage.  The marriage relationship itself has been broken and violated.  The hope would be that the offending party would repent, and that the marriage would resume.  While the marriage may be still legally binding, the moral, ethical, and physical aspects of the marriage cease at the point of adultery.  The fact is that the marriage has already ended in all practical aspects although not legally.  Again, we would hope for restitution, repentance, and restoration.  

Now, if Jesus Christ said that under the circumstance of adultery that divorce was permissible, then a remarriage by the innocent party would then ALSO be permissible.  It seems to me that the matter is clearly stated in the gospel narratives on the subject.  

As I highly respect you, I look forward to your response.


Brother Schwenke,

First, due to the apostle Paul’s references in 1 Corinthians 7:10, 12 unto the specific teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the matter of divorce and remarriage, I believe that the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7 on the matter is an extension of our Lord’s teaching, not a replacement for it.

Second, I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching concerning the matter of divorce and remarriage in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:3-9 encompasses every such case, except in the case wherein the divorce is due to unrepentant fornication (as per the exception clauses in Matthew 5:32; 19:9) or in the case wherein the divorce is due to an unbelieving spouse desiring to divorce a believing spouse (as per the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:12-16).  In the case of these two exceptions, I believe that the divorce is not a sin before God.  However, I believe that a divorce for any other cause is not permissible according to Biblical teaching.  Furthermore, I believe that a remarriage after such a divorce (for any cause other than those of the two exceptions) creates the following sinfulness before God –

1.  The divorcing (or, divorced) husband who remarries commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 19:9)

2.  The divorced (or, divorcing) wife who remarries commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 5:32)

3.  The individual who marries a divorced individual commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 5:32; 19:9)

4.  The husband who divorces his wife, because he is responsible as her head, is guilty before God of causing her to commit the sin of adultery if she remarries. (See Matthew 5:32)

Third, I believe that the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 encompasses the two cases wherein a divorce is not a sin before God, that is – the case wherein the divorce is due to unrepentant fornication (which, I believe, should be defined as “any sexual immorality”) or the case wherein the divorce is due to an unbelieving spouse divorcing a believing spouse.  As such, I believe in accord with the instruction of 1 Corinthians 7:11 that such a divorced individual has only two acceptable options before the Lord – to “remain unmarried” or to “be reconciled” unto his or her original spouse.  Even so, I believe that even in these cases remarriage is not a Biblically acceptable option, and that it would be a sin against God even for an individual in these cases to remarry.  However, I do not believe that a remarriage in these cases is viewed by God as equivalent to the sin of adultery.  Rather, I believe that a remarriage in these cases is viewed as a sin of disobedience.

I pray that this response may help to clarify my position on the subject and to reveal the Biblical support that I would present for that position.  If there are any further questions or disputes about some point of my position or about a Scriptural passage concerning my position, I am willing to engage with them as I have time.

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5 hours ago, wretched said:

Hey Brother Scott, long time no argue with.....

Brother "Wretched,"

I truly "got a chuckle" from your opening comment.  I thank you for the ability to "argue" without becoming "bitter enemies."

5 hours ago, wretched said:

Let me also state as a qualifier to this post that I also respect your studies and appreciate them.

I thank you also for your genuine respect and appreciation toward my studies (even at those times wherein you may not wholly agree therewith).
 

5 hours ago, wretched said:

These are my gleanings over the years and are presented only as food for serious thought.

I contend that God settles the divorce/remarriage argument for us as a chosen generation, a peculiar people in verses 27 and 28 using Paul. I also contend that marriage/divorce/remarriage it is not the big deal that we tend to make it to be through Paul. Using the rule of "last mention" (may not be original thought but it is original to me :)) and the rule of who God is addressing by context. When directed only to the church age born again believers in a passage, that passage overrides (by applicability) any previous mention God made to other audiences. Including our Lord's rebukes of the Pharisees over divorce in the Gospels.

After all, God settles many arguments through Paul for the Church age. Another one addressed through this book is the importance (or lack thereof)of marriage in the first place. I think God settles much simply through the following passages after He clarifies the divorce/remarriage issue: I think He also settles the confusion over church office qualifications in the same passages:

29. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Concerning your use of 1 Corinthians 7:28-29 & "the law of last mention" (an interesting "law" that I believe I have not previously encountered), I would first present the same point which I presented in my above response unto Brother Schwenke -- Due to the apostle Paul’s references in 1 Corinthians 7:10, 12 unto the specific teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the matter of divorce and remarriage, I believe that the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7 on the matter is an extension of our Lord’s teaching, not a replacement for it.

Second, even if I narrowed the focus of my arguments only unto 1 Corinthians 7 for the sake of the argument, I would still be compelled to consider ALL of the context and teaching of 1 Corinthians 7 on the matter.  As such, I believe that 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 deals with the matter of divorce and remarriage.  Furthermore, I believe that 1 Corinthians 7:12-18 deals with a special question concerning divorce, specifically concerning a believing spouse married unto an unbelieving spouse.  Finally, I believe that 1 Corinthians 7:27-28, 39 deal with the matter of remarriage after the death of a spouse, wherein the living spouse is "loosed" from the "binding" law of marriage and thus has Biblical permission to remarry. (Even so, I do not believe that 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 is dealing with the matter of "divorce and remarriage" at all.)
 

5 hours ago, wretched said:

Now if God is telling us as "last mention" that marriage is a distraction from true discipleship, how on earth can we think a pastor or deacon has to be married? Or cannot be divorced? I think we grossly misinterpret those qualifications. Husband of one wife is never anywhere else mentioned in the Bible as a definition of "not divorced". It is simply a disqualification for polygamy and written in present tense just as all the rest of the quals are written. Do we really think that single church members although overseen by married men are capable of being far more advanced Spiritually than these pastors/deacons because of their "single" status?? God says a married man by nature will be focused more on the world than on the Lord. After all, a happy wife, makes a happy life (in this world).

I find it sad that most if not all NT churches these days legalistically look down upon single and or divorced adults as "less" advanced Spiritually or even crippled in God's service. As opposed to their married counterparts when God holds the exact opposite view in these passages which are clearly directed to us (NT Churches).

Whereas I do not agree with you concerning the matter of pastoral qualifications, I certainly agree that single believers should NEVER be viewed as some lower class of believer.  The teaching of Matthew 19:10-12 and 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 make it clear that single believers have a special calling of service for the Lord specifically because they are single.  To teach or imply otherwise is simply contrary to God's Word.  Indeed, I believe that we (in Fundamental Baptist circles) could do a better job of teaching on the respective benefits in God's will concerning getting married or remaining single.  (By the way, I believe that being single is NOT a disqualification from the pastorate or the deaconate.)

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
added the "even so" statement at the end of the 2nd to last paragraph
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5 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:


Brother Schwenke,

First, due to the apostle Paul’s references in 1 Corinthians 7:10, 12 unto the specific teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the matter of divorce and remarriage, I believe that the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7 on the matter is an extension of our Lord’s teaching, not a replacement for it.

Second, I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching concerning the matter of divorce and remarriage in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:3-9 encompasses every such case, except in the case wherein the divorce is due to unrepentant fornication (as per the exception clauses in Matthew 5:32; 19:9) or in the case wherein the divorce is due to an unbelieving spouse desiring to divorce a believing spouse (as per the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:12-16).  In the case of these two exceptions, I believe that the divorce is not a sin before God.  However, I believe that a divorce for any other cause is not permissible according to Biblical teaching.  Furthermore, I believe that a remarriage after such a divorce (for any cause other than those of the two exceptions) creates the following sinfulness before God –

1.  The divorcing (or, divorced) husband who remarries commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 19:9)

2.  The divorced (or, divorcing) wife who remarries commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 5:32)

3.  The individual who marries a divorced individual commits the sin of adultery thereby. (See Matthew 5:32; 19:9)

4.  The husband who divorces his wife, because he is responsible as her head, is guilty before God of causing her to commit the sin of adultery if she remarries. (See Matthew 5:32)

Third, I believe that the teaching of 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 encompasses the two cases wherein a divorce is not a sin before God, that is – the case wherein the divorce is due to unrepentant fornication (which, I believe, should be defined as “any sexual immorality”) or the case wherein the divorce is due to an unbelieving spouse divorcing a believing spouse.  As such, I believe in accord with the instruction of 1 Corinthians 7:11 that such a divorced individual has only two acceptable options before the Lord – to “remain unmarried” or to “be reconciled” unto his or her original spouse.  Even so, I believe that even in these cases remarriage is not a Biblically acceptable option, and that it would be a sin against God even for an individual in these cases to remarry.  However, I do not believe that a remarriage in these cases is viewed by God as equivalent to the sin of adultery.  Rather, I believe that a remarriage in these cases is viewed as a sin of disobedience.

I pray that this response may help to clarify my position on the subject and to reveal the Biblical support that I would present for that position.  If there are any further questions or disputes about some point of my position or about a Scriptural passage concerning my position, I am willing to engage with them as I have time.

Pastor Markle,

Thank you for taking time to respond to my question.  I do not wish to belabor the point on this question.  I will simply say, with all due respect, that I disagree with you on this point, based on my earlier question.  If the Lord Himself grants that under the circumstances of adultery (Matthew 19) or desertion (I Cor. 7) divorce is acceptable, though not the original intent, nor the ideal situation, that therefore remarriage would be acceptable (though again, not ideal.)  The original reason given for marriage all the way back in the garden of Eden was that "it is not good for man to be alone."  I believe this statement is still operable.  It would be cruel indeed to condemn a man or woman to live a single life because of someone else's sin!  Sure, SOME could do it, but Jesus Christ Himself and Paul both admit that these individuals are RARE.  It should not be forced upon them!  God created us to be together, and to compliment each other and help each other through the Scriptural institution of marriage.  One person's sin should not deny the innocent party's ability to enjoy what God ordained.
That's how I see it.

Again, thank you, and may the Lord's blessings be upon your family and ministry!

 

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1 Corinthians 7:11 -- "But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."

The verbs in the instructional portion of 1 Corinthians 7:11 are imperative verbs; therefore, they carry the authority of divine command.  So then, we are moved to consider two questions:

1.  Does the command, "Let her remain unmarried," allow for a remarriage unto a different husband?

2.  Unto what cases of divorce does the instruction of 1 Corinthians 7:11 apply?

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Pastor Markle, I have a (hopefully quick) question. I've heard some people say that when Jesus was talking about divorce for the sake of fornication that it was during the betrothal period. Do you have any thoughts on that?

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Just testing to see if this will post, due to recent difficulties in posting.

 

Now, I am testing again with an edit, due to recent difficulties in editing (in fact, this line itself IS the edit).

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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On ‎10‎/‎25‎/‎2016 at 11:12 AM, Musician4God1611 said:

Pastor Markle, I have a (hopefully quick) question. I've heard some people say that when Jesus was talking about divorce for the sake of fornication that it was during the betrothal period. Do you have any thoughts on that?


Brother Middlebrooks,

 

I do apologize for taking so long in providing an answer to  your question.  I did not disregard your question, nor did I forget it.  My excuse is that I have been quite busy over the past few months with other responsibilities, holiday responsibilities, family responsibilities, ministry responsibilities, funeral responsibilities (4 over the past few months), Bible study responsibilities (teaching classes), discipleship responsibilities (praise the Lord for new converts), wedding responsibilities (1 to be administered in 2 weeks), pre-marital counseling responsibilities, house and church unplanned repairs responsibilities, etc.  I do not know if you are still "paying attention" to this thread; however, at the moment I have a "small window" of time to respond.

 

Concerning your question

 

Yes, I am familiar with the position that the “exception clauses” in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 apply ONLY unto the betrothal period of the Jews in that time.  In fact, this is one of the positions that I was taught during my earlier years.

 

This position is based upon a three-fold premise, as follows:

 

Premise #1 – The Gospel of Matthew was written with a Jewish audience primarily in view.

 

Premise #2 – For the Jews in that time, the covenant of betrothal was as legally binding as the covenant of marriage, such that it required a legal divorcement to nullify just as a marriage covenant would require.

 

Premise #3 – Although the word “formication” basically means “any sexual sin,” when it is employed in the same context as the word “adultery, the word “fornication” narrows its meaning to “any sexual sin outside of the marriage covenant,” whereas the word “adultery” would refer to “any sexual sin against the marriage covenant.

 

The argument then proceeds from this three-fold premise as follows:

 

Since the “exception clause” is only found in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 5:32 & 19:9), but not in Mark 10:11-12 (which is the parallel passage to Matthew 19:9), and since the Gospel of Matthew was written with a Jewish audience primarily in view (premise #1), then we should be viewing the “exception clause” from a Jewish perspective.  Furthermore, since the Jewish perspective of divorce included both the covenant of betrothal and the covenant of marriage (premise #2), then we should recognize that the “exception clause” could apply either to the covenant of betrothal, or to the covenant of marriage, or even to both.  Finally, since both the word “fornication” and the word “adultery” are employed in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9, then we should view them as possessing their distinctly separate meaning in these contexts (premise #3), that is – that the word “fornication” would refer only to any sexual sin outside the marriage covenant, and that the word “adultery” would refer only to any sexual sin against the marriage covenant. 

 

So then, since the word “fornication” is that which is found in the “exception clause,” and since the word “fornication” in the context of Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 would refer only to sexual sin outside the marriage covenant (premise #3), then we should understand that the “exception clause” only applies to sexual sin outside the marriage covenant, not against the marriage covenant.  Furthermore, since the “exception clause” relates to the matter of divorce, yet applies to sexual sin outside the marriage covenant, then we should understand that the “exception clause” applies, not to the covenant of marriage, but to the Jewish covenant of espousal (premise #2).  As such, the “exception clause” would have no specific application unto our present day, and thus would not provide any justification whatsoever for either divorce or remarriage in our present day.

___________________________________

 

My response to the argument is as follows:

 

First, I have no dispute with premise #1.  The gospel of Matthew does indeed appear to focus upon Jesus as the promised King of the Jews, and as such does indeed appear to be written with a Jewish audience primarily in view.  Second, I have no dispute with premise #2.  Historically, it does appear that the Jewish covenant of espousal was legally binding and did require a legal divorce to nullify.  In fact, the case of Joseph with Mary in Matthew 1:18-19 appears to present a Biblical example of this cultural practice.

 

However, I myself do have a dispute with premise #3.  On the one hand, I would contend that the word “fornication” (as well as its related words) generally encompasses any and all sexual sin both outside of and against the marriage covenant.  As such, the word “fornication” would include the sin of adultery as a subset of its meaning.  On the other hand, I would acknowledge that in some contexts (primarily in listings of sins) the words “fornication” and “adultery” are distinguishable from one another, with the word “fornication” focusing upon sexual sin outside the marriage covenant, and with the word “adultery” focusing upon sexual sin against the marriage covenant.  Indeed, Hebrews 13:4 would appear to be one example of this distinction – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the be undefiled: but whoremongers [fornicators, in this context, those who commit sexual sin outside the marriage covenant] and adulterers [in this context, those who commit sexual sin against the marriage covenant] God will judge.” 

 

However, I would contend that such a distinction is not universally the case when both the word “fornication” and “adultery” are used in the same context, as premise #3 indicates.  Rather, in some contexts the words “fornication” and “adultery” appear to be used somewhat interchangeably.  This appears to be the case in Revelation 2:20-22.  In Revelation 2:20 God’s Word states that “that woman Jezebel” taught and seduced the Lord’s servants “to commit fornication.”  Yet then in Revelation 2:22 the sin that they committed with her is described as “adultery.” 

 

Even so, I would contend that in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 the words “fornication” and “adultery” are employed, not in the distinctive manner, but in the more interchangeable manner.  I would contend that the word “fornication” is employed in the “exception clause” in order to encompass any form of sexual sin, from sexual lewdness to sinful sexual intercourse.  Furthermore, I would contend that the word “adultery” is then employed in order to precisely describe an unrighteous “remarriage” as a sexual sin against the original covenant of marriage.  As such, the sin of adultery would not be distinct from the sin of fornication in this context.  Rather, the sin of adultery would be encompassed within the sin of fornication in this context.  Even so, the word “fornication” within the “exception clause” would allow for the “exception clause” to be applied unto the covenant of marriage, not just the covenant of espousal.

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