I’ve made the assertion in a few of my previous posts that modern Western christians “love” divorce. Over the weekend I had a conversation with a friend who questioned whether or not I really believed that and I admitted that maybe “loved” was too strong a word. However the more I think about it the more I am going back to my old position.
Christians love divorce like your drunk aunt loves wine (if indeed you have a drunk aunt that loves wine). You know the one. Every time you see her she’s got a glass in hand and a bottle nearby (and maybe a couple of empty’s). When you pay her a visit she tells you how much she loves you and how great you look, then proceeds to tell you, as she’s pouring another glass, that you should NEVER take up drinking because its bad for you. If you mention how much she drinks she will laugh it off and tell you that she’s far too old and far too wasted NOW to concern herself with it, and you shouldn’t concern yourself with it either.
Just like this drunk aunt the church knows the dangers of divorce, but loves it too much to eschew it. It empowers women! It gives women a tool to fight against a husband who is controlling and uses the bible to rule over her like those gentiles did in the bible! Dalrock has done a great service in documenting some of the horrible advice the modern church gives women on how to deal with husbands they aren’t happy with, ie: Husbands who they find they can no longer control. Everything from dropping the threat of divorce to throwing “holy tantrums”, the last thing the Western church wants to do is encourage wives to take the biblical route and “win over their husbands through their chaste conversation” and their “meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3).
Lets just call a spade a spade here. Everywhere you turn companies and businesses are abandoning men and kowtowing to women. Every franchise that was once a male dominated space or even a somewhat evenly balanced space between men and women, is being converted to appeal MOSTLY to women over men. Why? Because women spend more and make more decisions about what gets purchased in the home. It makes sense to a business to appeal to the part of the household that spends a large chunk of the family income on necessities.
THE CHURCH OF THE WEST IS A BUSINESS FIRST, A CHURCH SECOND. THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE SAME BUSINESS MODEL AS ALL THE OTHER BUSINESSES ARE FOLLOWING RIGHT NOW. APPEAL TO THOSE WHO SPEND THE MOST AT YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS!
This fact cannot be denied. Even small churches have mortgages, bills, boards, staff and that 501C tax exemption. Once you have bills there is a need to fill seats. Full seats mean more tithes, and to keep those seats full with tithe payers you need to appeal to those who control the money allocated for those tithes. The women.
Add to this the fact that christian men in the West are whipped by their women. My coworker attends a church I used to attend. He told me that he listened to a recent sermon online of a service that he had missed on Sunday morning. The youth pastor had been given the pulpit for whatever reason, and he proceeded to give a sermon on wives roles in marriage. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except my coworker said he prefaced the entire sermon by self-deprecating himself for a good ten minutes first! Going on and on about what a horrible husband he was and a what a horrible man he was because he would come home from a day of work and sit and watch TV or start playing a video game while his wife was probably tired from watching the kid(s) all day and doing laundry and cooking, etc. Why does every pastor or preaching feel the need to qualify their talking about the role of wives by first talking about how horrible they are as a man and husband?
I’ve said before, it might be funny for pastors to joke about how horrible men are every once in a while, but when it becomes a common occurrence it stops being a joke and starts being a lesson.
The church has embraced feminism and “the power of women”, wholeheartedly.
Back to divorce.
Let’s make things clear: Jesus stated that once put together, God did not provide a way for man and wife to be separated, but that MOSES provided the nation of Israel with the ability to divorce because of the hardness of certain men’s hearts and because he failed to enforce Gods laws of marriage. What Jesus warned the pharisees of in their altercation was a man putting away his wife for any other reason than fornication, and this is where modern christians get their misunderstanding about divorce from.
Divorce and “putting away” are two different things. The men of Israel were already “putting away” their wives prior to Moses allowing them to write divorce papers! So what does “putting away” mean? Unfortunately the bible doesn’t give a specific example stating “this is what putting away means”, but we can ascertain by looking at Deuteronomy 24. In it we find that a man is commanded to give a certificate of divorcement to a wife he has lost favor with before expelling her from his home. From this we can ascertain that the act of “putting away” is essentially the act of removing support from a woman who is your wife. The men were kicking their wives out of the house and no longer providing food, clothing or shelter. This would have been problematic because since the woman is still a mans wife no other man is capable of taking her in and providing for her and there were no women’s shelters or government hand outs. Based on the question the pharisees had asked Jesus there were some who were of the mind that a man could put away his wife for any reason at all! Remember, the question they asked was “Its it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any reason?”.
Jesus’s answer was (my paraphrase): “Don’t you read? God made man and woman. God made marriage, and with it the two become one flesh. Therefore what God joined together no man can pull apart.”
The pharisees then retorted with: “Well then why did Moses say ‘just give her a certificate of divorce and then you can push her out the door’??!!!!”
To which Jesus replied (again, my paraphrase): “Because you all were jerks and hard-hearted, MOSES SUFFERED YOU TO PUT AWAY YOUR WIVES, BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO. BUT I SAY TO YOU THAT ANY MAN WHO KICKS HIS WIFE OUT, EXCEPT FOR THE REASON OF FORNICATION, AND MARRIES ANOTHER, COMMITS ADULTERY, AND ANYONE WHO MARRIES THAT WOMAN COMMITS ADULTERY.”
Lets break down what Jesus is saying:
- Certain men were being jerks and kicking their wives out of the house and cutting off support for them, ie: “Putting them away”.
- MOSES failed in that he allowed this “putting away” to take place, where GOD does not! God commands husbands to care for their wives and for a man to provide for his own. Remember that by the time these laws were being made that Moses already had a history of doing things not of God’s will in his anger, ie: striking the rock at Kadesh.
- MOSES tried to cover up his failure to enforce Gods law of marriage by allowing men to provide their wives with a certificate that basically stated “Hey, I’m not taking care of this chick anymore and I don’t want her, someone else can pick her up.” thereby giving women at least the ability to get picked up by another man who would keep her from dying of hunger or exposure. He could have chosen to be obedient to God’s law and prevented these men from putting away their wives altogether, but for whatever reason he chose not to do so.
- THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN WHEN MARRIAGE WAS FORMED BY GOD.
- ANY MAN WHO KICKS HIS WIFE OUT AND CUTS HER OFF, FOR ANY REASON EXCEPT HER FORNICATING, AND MARRIES ANOTHER WOMAN, COMMITS ADULTERY!
- HOWEVER, EVEN IF A MAN KICKS HIS WIFE OUT DUE TO HER FORNICATION SHE IS STILL HIS WIFE, AND IF SHE MARRIES ANOTHER MAN, SHE COMMITS ADULTERY, AND THAT MAN COMMITS ADULTERY!!!
This put the men in a bind because now they couldn’t trade in an aging wife for a younger model or an ugly wife for a prettier model.
“Why would they do that if men could have more than one wife, though?”, you might ask.
Yes, men can have more than one wife, as per scripture, but not every man can afford to maintain more than one wife, which could really put a dampener on a guys plans if he found a cute redhead he would rather have than the frumpy blonde he has now but he only has a small home and makes a moderate income and cannot really support another woman. Or maybe, women being women, a mans current wife would still give him hell for taking on another wife, even though it was his right. He didn’t need her permission, just the virgin bride’s virginity. The easy way out of that was just to “put away” the blonde for, well, anything! Burn my food. Out you go! Don’t perform well enough in the bed? Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you!
Well miss redhead it looks like we’ve just had a new position open and you look like you will fit quite nicely! Welcome aboard!
This was not permitted. At all.
Jesus’s response was so clear that the disciples were flabbergasted!
Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
“Woah! Wait a minute! You mean we’re stuck with her for life? If that’s the case then it’s a good idea not to even get married!”
Jesus’s response to that:
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
By following Jesus’s commandments and his instruction that marriage is a permanent thing between a man and his wife the church MUST, well, divorce itself from divorce. Why? Because the Mosiac law recognized divorcement, God does not.
It was law intended to be used for the ancient nation of Israel, which is no more.
“Well Jesus DID say that a man could put away his wife for fornication, right? So technically if the husband or the wife sleep with someone else then they could still divorce, right?”
Well, no, not in the biblical sense. I mean, people can divorce all they want when you are referring to divorce in the legal sense. The state recognizes a legal document that says you and x are married. You can go to court to get a legal divorce in which the state says the marriage between you and x has been dissolved. God, however, doesn’t give a whit about a legal document, but instead cares about the covenant pact made between you and your spouse, a covenant made in blood and binding the two into one. Covenants are only broken through death, and Paul tells us that “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”. Wait, what law? Mosiac law? No! God’s law, the law of marriage that says what makes a man and woman married, ie: a man takes a virgin’s virginity. God’s law supersedes mans law and no christian should feel compelled to obey mans law where Gods law is being restricted or where mans law is counter to. This is why I say that a man has every right to take on a second wife in the West if he so chooses. Legally he cannot get a binding marriage agreement between himself, his second wife and the state, since the state does not permit that type of legal agreement. The state, however, is not necessary for a marriage to take place, only for the legal status of married in the eyes of the state. God only requires that a man take a virgin’s virginity or, in the case of a widow, that the widow agree to be married and the sex act take place (as affirmed by Paul and quoted above).
A wife who committed adultery could be put to death. Problem solved. Time to find a new wife.
A wife who committed fornication, ie: any sexual act that wasn’t direct intercourse, since that would be adultery, could be “put away” for her betrayal to her husband. This didn’t dissolve the marriage, though, and if a woman repented and asked to return to her husband he was obliged to take her back in provided she had turned away from her sinful ways, otherwise she could not marry another without committing adultery.
1 Corinthians 7: 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.
This means a number of things:
- Women cannot “put away” their husbands, meaning women would lose the support of the church in maintaining their ability to use divorce as a threat point toward their husbands (Please visit Dalrocks WordPress blog for plenty of examples of church encouragement on this threat). Their only option would be to walk away and remain unmarried, eventually return to their husbands or become and adulteress.
- Though women would be able to legally divorce their husbands in the eyes of the law they would not be “not-married” in the eyes of the church and the church should treat them as wayward wives, where applicable. Naturally a woman who walks out on her husband because he is beating her should be treated very much differently, but we are talking about an entirely different situation.
- The number of adulterous couples in the church would skyrocket as women came to the realization that their paper divorce from their ex-husbands don’t mean squat to God, and that by marrying another man they have not only committed adultery but have caused that man to commit adultery as well, over what could possibly be years and years and that they have created a false family possibly involving children.
The church loves divorce because so long as it embraces it’s warm, fuzzy exterior it doesn’t have to deal with the truth of the scripture and it can then avoid confrontation. It is, essentially, where the Catholic church was before Martin Luther went tacking papers on doors: In a steady boat, that everyone in charge likes, and that nobody wants to rock. In the meantime everyone under those in charge is none the wiser. Even if they were, though, they wouldn’t care.
Unfortunately that boat has a big hole in it and is sinking, and nobody wants to start a panic by pointing out the hole.
Much like the drunk aunt who hugs her bottle of merlot while her liver slowly hardens the church doesn’t care much about the end results of divorce, it just wants to hold that bottle tight and reap the temporary benefits, the short lived high, of propping up women and inviting in families of newly married divorcees who can help stock the church coffers. They are a safe place. A place where we only rock the boat a leeeeeeetle beet. Just enough to say we shun sin, but only the BIG sins that we can’t really sweep away like not putting enough trust in the lord to tithe ten percent, or murder or abortion or praying to satan. THOSE we got plenty of rockin’ for!
But, trust us. We won’t rock the boat enough to make you feel PERSONALLY uncomfortable.