I enjoy selective reading of Wisconsin Christian News. I appreciate the editor’s zeal for truth, and the willingness to take on the hard issues of our culture, especially evident in the Pro-life stance, and the concern over LGBT issues. On these points we find mutual concern.
But then comes the rub. I do not believe that we lost the culture at the level of killing babies or of same-sex marriage. These are the effects of long term violation of the marriage covenant, a problem rife throughout the churches.
When I suggested to a prominent Christian writer that he seemed rather dismissive of the divorce rate in the churches, he put the blame back on the divorce laws of the land! We need to understand something. We do not look to government for spiritual direction. Government is not the temple of the Holy Spirit. That responsibility lies squarely on the Church. The Church, whose head is Jesus Christ, is called to serve as the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Further, marriage is itself inherently patterned after the relationship of Jesus Christ to the church.
It’s not as though the biblical contract were unclear. It states that the man will leave father and mother to be joined to his wife, that they will be one flesh, and that what God has joined, man must not put asunder. This relationship lasts “until death do us part.” If while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.
And though under the law, permission for divorce and remarriage was granted, yet we are informed in Old Testament Malachi 2:16, that “God hates putting away,” In context, divorce and remarriage are likened to idolatry, (marrying the daughter of a strange God, Malachi 2:11), and the crying out to God is in vain.
(We avoid the claim that separation must never happen. The test comes down to honorable celibacy, if the marriage cannot be restored.).
We should awaken to the horror of the damage done by opening the door of adulterous relationships posing as remarriage. When the basic structure of marriage is thus contaminated, we have provided the seed bed of all the sexually related woes.
While moral violations among church members are always a personal matter, the acceptance of these is not. Private convictions on divorce and remarriage, shed at the church foyer, do not save from the ongoing destructive fall-out on marriage and family, even as private convictions on abortion don't save the babies. This is confirmed in the biblical principle — a little leaven does leaven the whole lump. In reality then, the whole church is compromised by the actions of the minority.
So where is the Spirit of God on a Sunday morning where numbers of the “faithful” are seated with stolen spouses with the congregation giving implicit approval? Do we truly believe that church members, and even elders and pastors can divorce, remarry, and even go into serial marriages (one at a time), and then convince singles that unwed sex is sin? (It is a big deal. They that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God).
Sheep are great imitators and even blind followers. If you don’t believe it, then why the immersion of the church into the immoral offerings of television, radio, theater, internet, and smart phone? And why the copying of the sensual appearance of immoral with the same abbreviated attire and appeal the flesh? Why disclose to the public eye what God has entrusted to the privacy of the marriage union? These things show a love of the things God hates. It seems we can't accept a little inconvenience and deprivation in exchange for keeping a pure heart, and exemplifying the same for our children. Far be it from many of us to forfeit as much as even a figurative eye or hand sacrifice in pursuit of the kingdom of God, Matthew 5:29.
Our bankruptcy is also manifest in the equalizing or even reversing the role of men and women in headship, in distinct difference in bodily appearance (not wearing that which pertains to the opposite sex), and in competition in the job market. When God made them male and female, he was providing for more than repopulating the earth. He was assigning to men the role of husband,father, provider and protector. The woman as helper, homemaker, and the emotional cradle where babies are loved, loved,wanted, welcomed, and provided for.
Sacred moral patterns for the oncoming generation can be incubated only as the church arises to the challenges of being reliable fixtures the temple of the Holy Spirit, and standing firm as pillars of truth.
This means that holiness (without which no man shall see the Lord), is applied to all marriages and families, and incorporated into the whole assembly.
The Scriptures declare that judgment must begin at the house of God. We can offer ourselves as humble participants by judging ourselves and changing our ways, or we can refuse and suffer the consequences, continuing to reap what we have sown.
This message is brought from the Anabaptist/ Biblicist persuasion. Anyone wanting to reach this writer with questions or feedback is free to do so. Thank you.
-Lester Troyer, Unity, Wisconsin,