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         33
      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.

Divorce and Remarriage


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Brother Bruce,

Thus far I have not directly engaged your doctrinal position concerning the matters of divorce and of remarriage after divorce.  However, I have carefully followed the discussion to this point, and have carefully noted your responses throughout.  I have waited and watched in this manner specifically so that (as I expressed with my first posting in the thread discussion) I might approach this discussion with you from an appropriate perspective.

First, I would commend you for the spirit in which you have engaged those who have written in disagreement with you and with whom you obviously disagree.  Although you have expressed firm disagreement with them, you have also done so with a gracious spirit.

Second, I would express that I myself do indeed stand in disagreement with your originally posted position on a few points and with some of the arguments/evidences that you have presented in your responses to others.  I do not intend to handle each of these points of disagreement with you through this particular posting.  Rather, I wish to present the "highlights" of my own position on this matter, as follows:

1.  I believe that remarriage after divorce is always a sin against God.  However, in some cases I believe that God views such remarriage as the sin of adultery, whereas in other cases I believe that God views such remarriage simply as the sin of disobedience (sin nevertheless, but not the sin of adultery).

2.  I do NOT believe that in those cases where a remarriage after divorce is equivalent to the sin of adultery, the sin of adultery is to be viewed Biblically as "perpetual adultery" (as long as the remarriage remains in effect).

3.  I believe that most cases of divorce are a sin against God; however, I believe that Biblically divorce is not a sin against God within two possible cases - in the case of fornication and in the case wherein the unbelieving spouse chooses to pursue the divorcement.  (Note: My position as presented in this point would also indicate that I do not hold to the same definitional application for the word "fornication" in the Matthew passages as you do.)

(Further note: Yes, I have also spent a great deal of time in prayerful Bible study over this matter; and yes, I have payed some prices for the position that I hold.  However, I do not hold a doctrinal position in order to gain or retain friends.  Rather, I hold a doctrinal position because that is what I find through a diligent study of that which God's Holy Word precisely teaches on a matter, for God's Holy Word alone in its precise teaching on any matter is my absolute authority for all of belief and behavior.)

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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"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." (1Cor 7:27, 28)

Clearly here, it was Paul's opinion, and I firmly believe it was based on an excellent understanding of the mind of the Lord, that if a man is loosed from a wife, they ought not remarry, so they can set their mind on the things of God, BUT, if they remarry, they have NOT sinned. The term of being loosed from a wife clearly doesn't refer to being loosed by the death of the spouse, because that was earlier dealt with in some length-this clearly must speak of divorce. And this probably also has to do with having been married to an unbelieving spouse who has chosen to depart, and Paul says a brother or sister is not bound in such a case. Therefore, when my wife, (passed away now) and I married, both being believers, but both having been left by unbelieving spouses, neither of us were under bondage in such cases, and being properly loosed, we were free to remarry. And both our former spouses had committed adultery against us before the marriages ended, so there's that, as well. 

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5 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Bruce,

Thus far I have not directly engaged your doctrinal position concerning the matters of divorce and of remarriage after divorce.  However, I have carefully followed the discussion to this point, and have carefully noted your responses throughout.  I have waited and watched in this manner specifically so that (as I expressed with my first posting in the thread discussion) I might approach this discussion with you from an appropriate perspective.

First, I would commend you for the spirit in which you have engaged those who have written in disagreement with you and with whom you obviously disagree.  Although you have expressed firm disagreement with them, you have also done so with a gracious spirit.

Second, I would express that I myself do indeed stand in disagreement with your originally posted position on a few points and with some of the arguments/evidences that you have presented in your responses to others.  I do not intend to handle each of these points of disagreement with you through this particular posting.  Rather, I wish to present the "highlights" of my own position on this matter, as follows:

1.  I believe that remarriage after divorce is always a sin against God.  However, in some cases I believe that God views such remarriage as the sin of adultery, whereas in other cases I believe that God views such remarriage simply as the sin of disobedience (sin nevertheless, but not the sin of adultery).

2.  I do NOT believe that in those cases where a remarriage after divorce is equivalent to the sin of adultery, the sin of adultery is to be viewed Biblically as "perpetual adultery" (as long as the remarriage remains in effect).

3.  I believe that most cases of divorce are a sin against God; however, I believe that Biblically divorce is not a sin against God within two possible cases - in the case of fornication and in the case wherein the unbelieving spouse chooses to pursue the divorcement.  (Note: My position as presented in this point would also indicate that I do not hold to the same definitional application for the word "fornication" in the Matthew passages as you do.)

(Further note: Yes, I have also spent a great deal of time in prayerful Bible study over this matter; and yes, I have payed some prices for the position that I hold.  However, I do not hold a doctrinal position in order to gain or retain friends.  Rather, I hold a doctrinal position because that is what I find through a diligent study of that which God's Holy Word precisely teaches on a matter, for God's Holy Word alone in its precise teaching on any matter is my absolute authority for all of belief and behavior.)

Pastor Markle,

Thank you for your thoughtful response.  If you believe that the KJV is God's Holy, inerrant Word in the English language then we have the same foundation upon which to continue the discussion (if you wish to do so).  Disagreement on the KJV would make things a bit more difficult but I'm willing to continue the discussion either way.  We could also simply disagree on the matter and not continue the discussion - I'll respect your decision either way.

1 hour ago, Ukulelemike said:

"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." (1Cor 7:27, 28)

Clearly here, it was Paul's opinion, and I firmly believe it was based on an excellent understanding of the mind of the Lord, that if a man is loosed from a wife, they ought not remarry, so they can set their mind on the things of God, BUT, if they remarry, they have NOT sinned. The term of being loosed from a wife clearly doesn't refer to being loosed by the death of the spouse, because that was earlier dealt with in some length-this clearly must speak of divorce. And this probably also has to do with having been married to an unbelieving spouse who has chosen to depart, and Paul says a brother or sister is not bound in such a case. Therefore, when my wife, (passed away now) and I married, both being believers, but both having been left by unbelieving spouses, neither of us were under bondage in such cases, and being properly loosed, we were free to remarry. And both our former spouses had committed adultery against us before the marriages ended, so there's that, as well. 

Hi Ukule

1 hour ago, Ukulelemike said:

"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." (1Cor 7:27, 28)

Clearly here, it was Paul's opinion, and I firmly believe it was based on an excellent understanding of the mind of the Lord, that if a man is loosed from a wife, they ought not remarry, so they can set their mind on the things of God, BUT, if they remarry, they have NOT sinned. The term of being loosed from a wife clearly doesn't refer to being loosed by the death of the spouse, because that was earlier dealt with in some length-this clearly must speak of divorce. And this probably also has to do with having been married to an unbelieving spouse who has chosen to depart, and Paul says a brother or sister is not bound in such a case. Therefore, when my wife, (passed away now) and I married, both being believers, but both having been left by unbelieving spouses, neither of us were under bondage in such cases, and being properly loosed, we were free to remarry. And both our former spouses had committed adultery against us before the marriages ended, so there's that, as well. 

Hi Ukulelemike,


Thanks again for your response.  We disagree on the meaning of I Corinthians 7:27 & 28.  No offense taken and none intended.  I appreciate the manner in which you have disagreed. 

Since we both firmly believe what we believe on this subject it may not be worthwhile to continue the conversation between us, but if you would like to do so I'm perfectly willing to continue.  I will submit to your decision.

I have prayed that God would bless you mightily,

Brother Bruce

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7 hours ago, BibleBruce said:

Pastor Markle,

Thank you for your thoughtful response.  If you believe that the KJV is God's Holy, inerrant Word in the English language then we have the same foundation upon which to continue the discussion (if you wish to do so).  Disagreement on the KJV would make things a bit more difficult but I'm willing to continue the discussion either way.  We could also simply disagree on the matter and not continue the discussion - I'll respect your decision either way.

Brother Bruce,

I would hold that the Lord our God divinely preserved His Holy Spirit inspired Word in the Masoretic text for the Old Testament Scriptures and in the Received text for the New Testament Scriptures.  I would further hold that the King James translation is a perfectly accurate translation in the English language of God's divinely preserved Word, and thus that the King James translation is the absolutely authoritative and holy Word of God for English speaking peoples.  However, I would NOT hold that the King James translation is somehow more inspired or authoritative than the divinely preserved Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated, or that it somehow supersedes them.

The Lord our God inspired His Holy Word by His Holy Spirit in Hebrew and Greek.  The Lord our God preserved His Holy Word by divine providence and power in Hebrew and Greek.  The Lord our God providentially worked so that His Holy Word might be translated with perfect accuracy from the Hebrew and Greek into the English language through the King James translation.  Even so, that English translation is perfectly reliable for English speaking peoples; but that English translation neither erases the inspired and preserved Hebrew and Greek, nor overrules the inspired and preserved Hebrew and Greek.

Indeed, I am quite comfortable continuing any discussion on the Biblical doctrine of divorce and of remarriage after divorce.  Just recognize that I will be quite driven toward grammatical, contextual, and Biblical precision within any such discussion.

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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3 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Bruce,

I would hold that the Lord our God divinely preserved His Holy Spirit inspired Word in the Masoretic text for the Old Testament Scriptures and in the Received text for the New Testament Scriptures.  I would further hold that the King James translation is a perfectly accurate translation in the English language of God's divinely preserved Word, and thus that the King James translation is the absolutely authoritative and holy Word of God for English speaking peoples.  However, I would NOT hold that the King James translation is somehow more inspired or authoritative than the divinely preserved Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated, or that it somehow supersedes them.

The Lord our God inspired His Holy Word by His Holy Spirit in Hebrew and Greek.  The Lord our God preserved His Holy Word by divine providence and power in Hebrew and Greek.  The Lord our God providentially worked so that His Holy Word might be translated with perfect accuracy from the Hebrew and Greek into the English language through the King James translation.  Even so, that English translation is perfectly reliable for English speaking peoples; but that English translation neither erases the inspired and preserved Hebrew and Greek, nor overrules the inspired and preserved Hebrew and Greek.

Indeed, I am quite comfortable continuing any discussion on the Biblical doctrine of divorce and of remarriage after divorce.  Just recognize that I will be quite driven toward grammatical, contextual, and Biblical precision within any such discussion.

Pastor Markle,

I absolutely believe, as you do, that the KJV is completely accurate and in no way overrules or erases the Hebrew, Greek, (or Aramaic) texts from which it was translated.  I use Strong's Concordance for various purposes but when it comes to determining the meaning of Greek or Hebrew words I tend to rely more heavily on the ways that the KJV renders those words.  I also find that old English dictionaries can be helpful at times. 

I am in complete agreement regarding proceeding with grammatical, contextual, and Biblical precision.  I think that we both would like this conversation to be one of "iron sharpening iron" without contention.

Thanks much for being willing to continue the conversation.

I have prayed that God will bless you.

Brother Bruce

 

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On 7/13/2021 at 11:21 PM, BibleBruce said:

Pastor Markle,

I absolutely believe, as you do, that the KJV is completely accurate and in no way overrules or erases the Hebrew, Greek, (or Aramaic) texts from which it was translated.  I use Strong's Concordance for various purposes but when it comes to determining the meaning of Greek or Hebrew words I tend to rely more heavily on the ways that the KJV renders those words.  I also find that old English dictionaries can be helpful at times. 

I am in complete agreement regarding proceeding with grammatical, contextual, and Biblical precision.  I think that we both would like this conversation to be one of "iron sharpening iron" without contention.

Thanks much for being willing to continue the conversation.

I have prayed that God will bless you.

Brother Bruce

 

Pastor Markle,

Please proceed however you wish with our conversation.  I'll follow your lead.

Brother Bruce

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6 hours ago, BibleBruce said:

Pastor Markle,

Please proceed however you wish with our conversation.  I'll follow your lead.

Brother Bruce

Brother Bruce,

I thank you for this message, since I have been pondering on this (how to proceed) for the past few days.  In a broad sense, I suggest that we proceed in the following order of discussion:

1.  The Permanency of Marriage (God's primary intention)
2.  The Permission for Divorce (If God has granted any)
3.  The Perspective on Remarriage (From God's viewpoint)

Even if someone comes to the conclusion the the Lord our God through His Holy Word has granted some provision for divorce (which I presently hold), and even maybe for remarriage after divorce (which I presently do not hold), I still believe that the discussion should always begin with our Lord God's original and primary intention for the PERMANENCY of marriage.  What do you think about the order above?

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On 7/6/2021 at 7:25 AM, Jordan Kurecki said:

https://www.amazon.com/Divorce-Remarriage-Christian-Spectrum-Multiview/dp/0830812830

I just recently finished reading this, I found it helpful. 

Hi Jordan,

I purchased the book that you recommended and read it through.  I found it helpful in the sense that it presented some angles to the issue that I had not heard before.  It didn't change my position but was helpful in understanding some of the contrary positions that are taken.

 

Thank you.

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On 7/13/2021 at 11:13 AM, Ukulelemike said:

"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." (1Cor 7:27, 28)

Clearly here, it was Paul's opinion, and I firmly believe it was based on an excellent understanding of the mind of the Lord, that if a man is loosed from a wife, they ought not remarry, so they can set their mind on the things of God, BUT, if they remarry, they have NOT sinned. The term of being loosed from a wife clearly doesn't refer to being loosed by the death of the spouse, because that was earlier dealt with in some length-this clearly must speak of divorce. And this probably also has to do with having been married to an unbelieving spouse who has chosen to depart, and Paul says a brother or sister is not bound in such a case. Therefore, when my wife, (passed away now) and I married, both being believers, but both having been left by unbelieving spouses, neither of us were under bondage in such cases, and being properly loosed, we were free to remarry. And both our former spouses had committed adultery against us before the marriages ended, so there's that, as well. 

Hi Ukulelemike. 

 

Thank you for your response.  Sorry for my late response.  I hope that you are doing well.  

We just don't agree on the interpretation of the passage that you have cited.  I'm thinking that we probably won't agree on this subject and it might be best to simply leave it as it currently stands.  If you think otherwise just let me know.

May God bless you mightily.

2 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Bruce, 

I am still here, and have not forgotten our planned discussion.  Good to know that you are also still here.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, BibleBruce said:

Hi Ukulelemike. 

 

Thank you for your response.  Sorry for my late response.  I hope that you are doing well.  

We just don't agree on the interpretation of the passage that you have cited.  I'm thinking that we probably won't agree on this subject and it might be best to simply leave it as it currently stands.  If you think otherwise just let me know.

May God bless you mightily.

 

 

 

7 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Bruce, 

I am still here, and have not forgotten our planned discussion.  Good to know that you are also still here.

 

On 7/16/2021 at 3:18 PM, BibleBruce said:

Pastor Markle,

I think that's a great order for the conversation.  Please proceed whenever you wish.

 

Brother Bruce

Hi Pastor Markle,

Thanks for letting me know that you hadn't forgotten.  Whenever you are ready to proceed with the conversation, just let me know.

Have a blessed evening.

Brother Bruce

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On 7/9/2021 at 4:33 AM, BibleBruce said:

 

Hi Wretched,

Thanks for the clarification.  I would still like to respond to your comments.  I'll begin with the question of whether or not divorce and remarriage is "unforgiveable":

I do not believe (and never have believed) that divorce and remarriage is an unforgiveable sin. I do believe that it is a sin (the sin of adultery) and I believe that God requires us to repent of sin in order to receive his forgiveness.  I don't believe that this sin is an exception.  I believe that repentance is a change of heart and mind regarding sin and that it results in a turning away from sin rather than a continuing in it. The following verse states that this sin of adultery persists as long as the husband of the wife who has remarried is living. 

“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” -Romans 7:3

I am confident that the same principle would apply if the husband were the one who had remarried.

We know that verse 3 is used by the Holy Spirit to help us understand the “marriage relationship" between the believer and Christ. Some claim that we are not free to literally apply the statement in verse 3 to earthly marriages because it is only an example, not the subject of the passage.  I do not believe that God would use a faulty earthly example to help us understand a faultless spiritual truth. 

To summarize my position on this particular portion of the divorce and remarriage issue, I would say that I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that:

  • Divorce and remarriage is adultery
  • Adultery is sin
  • Forgiveness requires repentance
  • Repentance results in a forsaking of sin
  • Continuance in a lifestyle of sin does not result in forgiveness

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" - Romans 6:1-2

 

When you looked at the following scripture how did you parse it with regard to divorce and or remarriage?

28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. ~ Mark 3:28-30

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On 8/22/2021 at 6:47 PM, 1Timothy115 said:

When you looked at the following scripture how did you parse it with regard to divorce and or remarriage?

28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. ~ Mark 3:28-30

Hi 1Timothy115,

Thanks for the question and the conversation. I hope that you are doing well.

The following is how I understand Jesus’ statement that you referenced above....

I believe that Jesus made this statement in response to the saying of the scribes as recorded in the following verse:

And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. - Mark 3:22

I believe that, in this statement, they had committed the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost (which is unforgiveable). Jesus had previously cast out unclean (demonic) spirits as recorded earlier in this chapter. The demons themselves had acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, thereby admitting that he was completely holy.  It seems to me that these scribes went beyond that which even the demons were willing to say and that this was evidence that their hearts were so thoroughly ruined by sin that they would never seek God’s forgiveness and therefore could never be forgiven.

Jesus also made the following statement in the passage that you referenced: “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme”.  It is one of the most basic teachings of the Bible (as we all recognize) that those who reject Christ as Saviour will not be forgiven of their sins. I therefore believe that Jesus is telling us that all kinds of sins will be forgiven to those who receive him as their Saviour and that therefore the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost cannot be committed by saved people.  I also believe that those who continue in adultery with an unrepentant heart and life (not terminating the adulterous relationship as would result per any reasonable definition of repentance) are lost because God says that they will not inherit the kingdom of God:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. - I Corinthians 6:9-10

I believe that a common error in the "christian" culture is that God's grace is somehow "great enough" to allow acceptance of unrepentant, continuous sin in his children.  I believe that this results from a complete misunderstanding of grace and forgiveness and that the scripture clearly exposes this foolishness:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? - Romans 6:1-2

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; - Titus 2:11-12

It seems to me that the all-important question then becomes, "Does God consider those who are married (according to his standards) to a living spouse, but who are divorced and 'remarried' to be adulterers?"  I believe that the answer to this question is plainly stated in the following passage:

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. - Romans 7:2-3

The only other plain passages that I find in the New Testament dealing with the termination of marriage also speak of the death of a spouse.  While I find the divorce-and-remarriage subject to be somewhat challenging to sort out Biblically, I just don't see any other way to interpret the scriptures if unbiased principles of Bible interpretation and simple childlike faith in God's word are employed. To me, other interpretations are dependent upon passages that are not straightforward, and these interpretations cannot be reconciled with the clear passages.

Regardless of whether we currently agree or disagree, my prayer is that God will bless you mightily.

Brother Bruce

Edited by BibleBruce
Basic clarification.
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On 8/29/2021 at 7:55 PM, Hugh_Flower said:

Did not God divorce Israel after her fornication and lust for pursuing other 
gods.

Hi Hugh,

Thanks much for the question.  

Yes, it is clear in the following passage that God did divorce Israel.  It is also clear to me that, after God divorced her, he plainly said that he was still married to her:

“The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

       Jeremiah 3:6-15

This, for me, is one of the clearest passages stating that neither unfaithfulness nor divorce breaks the marriage bond in God’s eyes and that, furthermore, mercy is to be the guiding principle under these circumstances. In this passage, the door is left open for the offending spouse's repentance and return.  I see these same principles presented in the New Testament passages regarding divorce and remarriage.

FYI, I had also addressed your question in the PDF that I attached to my original post (which is a fairly comprehensive summary of my beliefs on the subject of divorce and remarriage and includes the scripture passages upon which I base these beliefs).  

Every time that I had confessed my own sins, fasted, prayed with supplication, diligently studied God's word, and committed myself to obeying whatever God would show me in the scriptures (refusing to lean unto my own understanding), I believe that he reinforced the beliefs stated in the PDF.

Hugh, I have prayed that God would bless you mightily today regardless of whether or not we are currently in disagreement on this subject.  Thank you again for engaging me on this important subject.

Brother Bruce

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On 8/22/2021 at 9:32 PM, BibleBruce said:

Hi Pastor Markle,

Thanks for letting me know that you hadn't forgotten.  Whenever you are ready to proceed with the conversation, just let me know.

Have a blessed evening.

Brother Bruce

I do apologize. Lately, for a week or more now, I have not been able to access Online Baptist at my home. I am now at someone else's house to read through what I have missed. Hard to stay up to date at the moment because of this, and even harder to engage in a lengthy discussion.

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On 9/17/2021 at 11:39 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

I do apologize. Lately, for a week or more now, I have not been able to access Online Baptist at my home. I am now at someone else's house to read through what I have missed. Hard to stay up to date at the moment because of this, and even harder to engage in a lengthy discussion.

Pastor Markle,

I understand.  No problem.  When it works out for you to continue the conversation, just let me know.  It you end up having too many things on your plate and decide not to continue the conversation, I will respect and understand that also.

I have just prayed for you,

Brother Bruce

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3 hours ago, BibleBruce said:

Pastor Markle,

I understand.  No problem.  When it works out for you to continue the conversation, just let me know.  It you end up having too many things on your plate and decide not to continue the conversation, I will respect and understand that also.

I have just prayed for you,

Brother Bruce

Brother Bruce,

As you can see, whatever the problem was now seems to have fixed itself. 

And thank you for praying for me.

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