Pastor Adultery Divorce Letter

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by SpiritWalker, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    Hi everyone. What do you think of this letter being sent to thousands of churches? It is very interesting, at least I think so, like something out of the early days. It is stirring up the pot I imagine. Anyway here it is. Blessings

    SpiritWalker

    Dear Pastor(deleted)

    This letter is written to you by fellow servants and laborers in the Lord. We pray that you will receive it in the same spirit of love and concern with which it is prayerfully sent (1). Although there are many common concerns that could be addressed, this letter focuses on the present state of divorce and remarriage in the church. The steady advance of sexual sin and deviation within the Christian community is fueled, one way or another, by disregard of God’s Word concerning marriage. Consequently, we pray that you will carefully weigh the merits of this case presented to you.

    As you have no doubt read, according to pollsters, the divorce epidemic among "born again Christians" is now higher than those who do not claim Christ (2). They also report that in the Bible belt of the United States, where the greatest concentration of "Bible believing" Christians live, the divorce rate has climbed 50% higher than in the American nation as a whole (2). Some even state that the clergy now represent the second highest divorced rate of all the professions (2). If these statistics reflect anything even close to reality, it points to the unavoidable conclusion that we in the church are caught in a web of sin more contagious and virulent than anything we have previously suffered in our 2,000 year history.

    We believe that the divorce and remarriage doctrines being commonly taught and practiced in the church today are neither supported by Scripture (3) or the early leaders of the Christian faith (4). Approximately 50 years ago, liberal church leaders began disregarding Biblical prohibitions against remarriage, a process that has expanded to include most conservatives, thereby replacing the historic position with the modern one. After only a single generation, little trace or memory remains of the protective walls that had once stood upon the sound original teachings (5). This authorized the divorce and remarriage culture to rapidly invade and infect the people of God with devastating results.

    This contagion is not limited to any particular Church tradition or division. It is spreading like a plague in every Protestant group in the Western world. To compete, Roman Catholics have inflated their concept of annulment leading to remarriage, into a modern day indulgence to sin, just like the Protestants. No longer can any one group point at the other as the source of the problem. The root is the commonly shared theology that undercuts marriage, tolerates divorce, and supports remarriage, contrary to Christ’s specific teachings (6). Fortified by a doctrine of confession without repentance, the epidemic is becoming uncontainable as it gains equality, respectability and a cloak of spirituality within God’s House. As a result, efforts to reach the watching world for Christ are returning unto us void as our lack of integrity empties us of the power of God’s Word.

    Wrong assumptions have provided ideal breeding conditions for the culture. For instance, it is widely assumed that a second marriage is valid in the eyes of God while a former spouse lives; that a second marriage invalidates the original (7) . Little independent thought is given as to what our Lord actually did teach, as most pastors are content to accept the consensus of the age. This theology brands those that hold obediently to the original understanding as legalists, and ostracizes them within their own church and families (8), especially if they have the courage to model and voice their convictions. It seems that most now believe, as an article of faith, that Jesus died to redeem their sin, instead of dying to redeem them from their sin. This subtle twist of Satan makes all the difference in the world.

    Pastor, you must realize that something is fundamentally flawed when the conduct of believer’s only matches or falls below that of unbelievers. It can not be explained as mere pressure exerted by the world, as we have suffered much worse without falling. The problem is not what is found in the world, but what is not found in the church – Righteousness. We therefore plead with you to earnestly seek God’s face on this matter, research for yourself, study His Word, and when finding the truth, take a stand to boldly support it, come what may. Responsibility to take action falls upon you as a shepherd of the Lord's flock (9) . We pray that you will come to understand that any authority the church may possess does not extend to being able to override God’s Word (10).

    The only remedy is to completely submit to Jesus Christ in total repentance and obedience, forsaking sin and thereby gaining His cleansing and healing power. Superficial treatments simply spread the contamination further. If any of us have sinned against God and led our people astray, all we have to do is to fall on our knees in godly sorrow, and repent - repent and forsake our own sin, and of the part we have played in the near destruction of His church (11). As Jesus told those in Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

    Pastor, we plead with you to remember the old truths presented here. Please, do not be silent and permit others to be deceived by the church divorce culture any longer (12). Please do not follow the crowd, but look for the ancient paths, and walk in them, isolated and alone if necessary. We pray that the Lord will be with you and your people as we expectantly look forward to His return.

    Your servants in Christ,
    Stephen W. Wilcox (13)
    Dr. Joseph A. Webb (14)
    Pastor Dana Hartong (15)

    We welcome your comments and will do our best to answer any questions or address your concerns. You may reach us by sending your response to: [email protected]. We would suggest however that you click on the reference numbers found embedded in the text of the letter or on the key below and study the material first before writing, as the information found there may be helpful. A number of teachings by various pastors authors and theologians on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage as well as other helpful materials and be found at http://www.marriagedivorce.com.

    Key to references:

    (1) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject1.htm
    (2) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject2.htm
    (3) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject3.htm
    (4) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject4.htm
    (5) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject5.htm
    (6) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject6.htm
    (7) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject7.htm
    (8) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject8.htm
    (9) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject9.htm
    (10) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject10.htm
    (11) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject11.htm
    (12) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject12.htm
    (13) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/mdgodsword.htm
    (14) http://www.bibleandmarriage.com
    (15) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hartong.htm
    End of Letter
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Two HUGE jumps in logic fly out of this single paragraph.

    (1) Divorce/remarriage is not supported by Scripture.

    (2) Biblical prohibitions agains divorce/remarriage are disregarded by liberals and now conservatives.

    Both of those statements are parochial at best. A GROUP of believers might say the Bible teaches divorce/remarriage is wrong. But it is NOT what the "Bible" teaches. It is that GROUP'S interpretation. (And poor one, exegetically).

    Secondly: There are no biblical prohibitions against remarriage after a divorce IF the divorce follows Jesus' and Moses' guidelines. For man to say otherwise sets them up in the seat of authority over GOD!

    Absurd. But these brethren are well within their right to proclaim their INTERPRETATION (flawed imho) of doctrine. But to prod or shame us because of that interpretation is totally wrong.

    All that said, we DO need a wake up call on the sanctity of marriage, the hatred of God for "putting away" a spouse, et al. It is NOT preached on enough and hence the points taken in much of the letter are quite valid.
     
  3. Dan Todd

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    John MacArthur has an excellent series on the subject of divorce and remarriage. He uses Moses, Jesus, and Paul's teachings on the subject!

    If interested - check here: link
     
  4. SpiritWalker

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    It seems to me the way the letter explains Matthew 5:32 and others, that it makes a whole lot of sense Biblically.

    I read what John Piper says, and essentially, he says the same thing, insofar as all remarriages being adulterous. He claims that the "except for fornication" refers to the Jewish espousal custom too.

    Anyway, one thing for sure, few care one way or the other these days I think. Sure makes me wonder how things could otherwise change in such a relatively short period of time. Blessings

    SpiritWalker
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    I haven't read what MacArthur or Piper, Spurgeon or Pink, says about the subject.

    But I've heard what Harold Camping says, and regardless of anyone's opinion about this old man, I agree with him.

    If God allows divorce on account of anything, then, no believer is eternally secure.
     
  6. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    I have not read what Harold Camping said about divorce, but when I looked at what others have said about him, it is pretty scary indeed.

    I read on several web pages where Harold Camping has called on everyone to leave the church they are members of because God has called them out and removed their candlesticks.

    I just clicked on the first link of the letter to the pastor and read what the Hosea Project who wrote this letter, had to say on the subject. This is the what it says:

    "Our team members come from different walks of life, vary in age, marital status, and denominational persuasion. Each one loves the Lord, and has made a personal commitment to stand up and reach out to their brothers and sisters along side them in the church."

    Like someone said in one of the web pages: "If you do not love the church, and the members of Christ's bride, how can you reform it? I think that reaching out to try to inform and reform like the above people is very different that outright blanket condemnation of every church everywhere if Mr. Camping actually taught that.

    Since I never heard of the man before, I do not know if he was being misrepresented in what he believes or not.

    SpiritWalker
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
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    In the OT divorce included a betrothal not just marriage. For one to break a betrothal the people had to be divorced for it to no longer be binding. We have not included that as well in our teaching in the churches.

    Liberals! The typical statistic is that only at best, ten perecnt of the people in the best evangelical churches can give reasons for their faith. Aren't the best churches conservative?

    [ March 07, 2004, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: gb93433 ]
     
  8. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    Spirit Walker:

    Yeah. You're right. He's telling everybody to leave the church on account of the Holy Spirit no longer operating in the church.

    The problem is : which church ? You see, he considers the Roman Catholic church a part of the body of Christ (somebody correct me if I am wrong), he considers Pentecostals of all colors (don't mean the skin...no disrespect intended) part of the church, he considers the SDA's to be part of the body of Christ.

    I used to listen a whole lot to this guy, on the way to work and coming back from work, 40 miles away, until I realized what he was really saying.

    I still listen to their station, though, for the music.
     
  9. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    I read a number of sites denouncing Harold Camping's statements. I wonder if senility is not taking it's toll, or if it is much deeper than that. He seemed to have changed his doctrines quite rapidly. Was his ministry on the straight and narrow at one time?

    The only thing I can find that I agree with is some of his older marriage and divorce teachings.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    No need to wonder about senility setting in (or some such mental problems) with Harold Camping!

    LONG AGO . . .
     
  11. SpiritWalker

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    Yeah, that's what I kinda thought too.

    SpiritWalker
     
  12. dr396

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    I just saw that a new book is out by Ligon Duncan and Mark Talbot against Harold Camping's view of the church. Also there is one out by James R. "The Protestant Hammer" White (my nickname) about his ministry in general.

    D.R.
     
  13. SpiritualMadMan

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    I wanted to jump in here.

    I agree with Dr. Bob's assertion about the letter being parochial.

    I'd like to add, though, that it is not the teaching on Divorce and Re-marriage that is at blame... They are a symptom.

    In the list of root causes must be our unwillingness to confront sexual sin in our midst.

    Especially with images so readily available on the internet.

    We live in a commitment starved and love starved world that thinks that a 20-30 minute physical encounter equates to either.

    We allow fantasy to crowd out our commitments to our spouses.

    I have a lot more to say about this subject. But, Christians, especially men, need to ride herd on their thought lives.

    'We' also need to heavily filter our roaming eyes that see just about everything that happens around us especially if it jiggles or is flesh colored.

    But, we are so afraid to share our weaknesses, so proud to proclaim we have none... That defeat is almost inevitable.

    I have a 'proto-type' study 'Insulating From Sexual Sin'. It's un-finished because it is too open and honest.

    And, there is so much condemnation for any hint of weakness.

    But, Paul gloried in his weakness because knowing them they could be given to Christ's Strength for safety.

    Here's a thought:

    If I never considered or wondered what it would be like to spend the night with a skinny woman...

    I'd never have the desire to consider how I might be able to try one...

    Get out of my marriage...

    And, appease man and the church, and by (incorrect) implication God.

    Lastly,

    Would any of us Christians ever consider what it would be like to serve another God?

    Of Course Not! We understand full well the Spiritual Adultery inherent in that thought life.

    Yet, many 'good Christian men' entertain such thoughts about non-specific 'other' women.

    Thinking that because it's no one specific... It's not sin... That it doesn't have at least the taste of 'Adultery' in it.
     
  14. CalvinG

    CalvinG
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    I would like to hear what those of you who are pastors teach in relation to divorce/remarriage when the original divorce was on grounds other than adultery and the former spouse was and is a Bible-believing Christian of one denomination or another.
     
  15. SpiritWalker

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    I just found this letter on a website connected with the Hosea Project. It seems that their efforts are from a larger group of pastors and leaders taking the bull by the horns. Just from reading his letter and others, I can they are courageous men indeed.
    Hosea Project

    Fellow preachers and teachers of the Bible: Are we proclaiming the whole council of God’s Word?

    Brethren,

    There is no greater privilege and responsibility than preaching and teaching the precious Word of the Living God. Lives are saved and truly changed when God’s Word goes forth into hearts that are ready to receive the saving grace of the gospel of Y’shua HaMashiach. Just as a good physician gives pure medicine to the sick, so must our gospel message be free of corruption and vice.

    God Himself is responsible for the outcome of the proclamation of His Word, and for the results that it produces in the hearts and minds of those hearing it. We are commanded to proclaim His Eternal Word in love and truth, undiluted, in its purest form. We must not fear the wrath of those who choose to stay in darkness so that their sinful deeds will not be exposed. Even so, His Word will not return unto Him void. Ever since we in the church compromised many of the doctrines of God, we have witnessed the ever increasing destruction of the Biblically defined family that forms the foundation of our society.

    According to the latest Australian divorce figures recorded by the Government Bureau of Statistics, there were 398 divorces (0.1 per 1,000) in the entire nation in 1901, while in 2001, 55,330 divorces (2.8 per 1000) were decreed by the courts. After adjustments for population increases, this represents a staggering 2800% increase in divorce in just a little over an average life-span. It is obvious that something terrible has inflicted the heart and soul of the Australian people.

    So what role has the church played in the destruction of our society? Plenty, I’d say. By forgetting “thus says the Lord” regarding the Biblical stand on divorce and remarriage, we have become the primary active agent in the corruption of this nation. Pastors who have taught that it is within God’s will for an unhappy partner to divorce their lifetime spouse and remarry someone more compatible are showered with professional success. A number of pastors and leaders have even dared to declare that they have been directed by God to divorce their own rightful spouses and remarry another in order to be more effective in ministry. Typically, they remain not only in the church, but are often offered greater pulpits to preach from.

    Although some among us have championed the cause of divorce and remarriage, most of us have merely aided and abetted this curse through indifference and neglect. We stand idly by, double minded and confused as more and more divorced members of our flock come and stand before us to be remarried once again. We dare to presume that we will not be held personally accountable for our role in ceremonially sanctifying their adultery. To our everlasting shame, few of us pastors are willing to risk losing our own secure ecclesiastical tenure by standing firmly opposed to the corrupted will of multitudes within our own assemblies.

    Friends, church blessed divorce and remarriage has brought much pain and deception into all of our lives. The unsaved are blind, living in darkness and yet the very people who could, and should, be showing the way, offer no light or life in this regard. What about the so called exception clauses found in Matthew, you may ask? Anyone who diligently studies these clauses will find out that they actually underline Jesus’ teaching - that living in a state of remarriage, is actually living in a state of adultery. When we, as pastors, permit or recognize remarriage while an original spouse is still alive, we are actually playing a decisive role in the eternal damnation of those who deny what Jesus so clearly declared. Yes, I realize this is a serious statement, and I know that God alone renders final judgment, however when I read 1 Cor 6:9-10, I become deeply disturbed and alarmed, don’t you?

    “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.”

    Whenever this passage of Scripture is preached, the majority of Christians agree that people who live any of these life styles will not reside in Heaven. Most are quick to apply the warning to “outsiders” like homosexual activists, con artists and thieves, but seldom realize that Paul was not referring to the “world,” but to “insiders,” to those personally claiming the name of Christ, but not following his commands to live Holy lives. Blinded by the sin of adultery “inside” the church, we hypocritically pick at the cataracts of those “outside” the church. Unless, and until we pay heed to our Lord’s command to wash our own eyes in His Word and obey Him in this matter, we will continue to blindly fall in the ditch, as will all those who stumble along after us.

    Brethren, it is beyond the scope of this short letter for me to familiarize you with the overwhelming body of evidence supporting the Biblical doctrine of the permanence of marriage in this life. Nor can I by cunning word or clever turn of phrase persuade you to examine the fruit of the false teaching you have acquired from your fellows and peers. Such power to convict, producing a change of mind and heart that will forever alter the direction of your life and ministry are only in the hands of the Holy Spirit. But I assure you most truly, that all who are willing to study the Word without personal prejudice regarding adultery, asking if the New Testament allows a second “marriage” whilst the first spouse is still alive, cannot come to any other conclusion than what Jesus Himself declared – “a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife and that they twain shall be one flesh, so then they are no more twain but one flesh.”

    Jesus said: “whosoever shall put away his wife and be married to another committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” This takes us back to the 1Cor 6:9-10 scriptures and forces the question: “What is the Biblical position for people who are married for the second time whilst their spouses are still alive?” As these folks are living in an adulterous lifestyle it clearly shows that unless they repent, and relinquish their sinful relationship, eternal separation from their creator awaits them, notwithstanding modern sentiment to the contrary.

    Brethren, this is a most serious and somber issue. We, the church, the very salt of the earth, have been criminally negligent in our duties concerning upholding God’s Word concerning marriage. Reaping the corruption we ourselves have sowed, our people are forced to eat the poisoned fruit our labors have brought forth. If any of us wish to obey God, and return to the paths of righteousness, we too must accept His offer of Grace, confessing and forsaking our adulterous ways, and be cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. We must become faithful sayers and doers of the Word, by no longer withholding the truth from the people, regardless of personal consequences, come what may.

    Will all those counting themselves in the Body of Christ repent of their divorce and remarriage teaching and practice, and return unto Him? Sadly, according to the Bible, the answer is no. Indeed most will continue on their way, leading the church and the world ever farther into darkness as the hour approaches of His return. However, God alone is responsible for the outcome in the hearts of men and women when His Word is faithfully proclaimed. He has promised to save a remnant of His people. Those with His ears will hear. Those without His ears, will not. Let us work while there is still time and be about our Father’s business.

    In His service,

    Pastor Philip Hammond
    73 Somerset Drive
    Dandenong North. Vic 3175
    Australia

    e-mail [email protected]
    Source: www.marriagedivorce.com

    [ March 19, 2004, 09:43 PM: Message edited by: SpiritWalker ]
     
  16. CalvinG

    CalvinG
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    I last posted on Friday here. I thought there might be an answer by Sunday evening.
     
  17. SpiritualMadMan

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    Taking the 'Bull by the Horns' is a good way to get gored.


    The best way to lead a bull around is with a ring in it's nose...

    HMMMMM.

    We don't need a lot of scripture quotations or condemnatory sermons. What we need is open and honest counsel on what the temptations are, how they become risks, how to watch for and guard against them, and how to overcome them if they become a strong man in your life.

    You can tell me all day that it is wrong to look at a woman and lust after her... Of course we would probably disagree on what 'lust after her' means. [​IMG]

    But, even in getting me to agree you haven't given me any tools to avoid the traps! Except my own imperfect human strength!

    That's why I answered as I did.

    Give us tools to be strong with! Don't just tell us it's wrong, tell how not to do it, too!

    You know using the right tools... A frail Granny can get a bull to go where she wants to.

    But, I know of no man or group of men who can make a bull do anything it doesn't want to do no matter how many grab it by the horns!

    Give us tools!
     
  18. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    Dear Calvin,

    I think that the whole point of what the Hosea Project people teach, referring back Biblical authority should address exactly what you are asking.

    If you are looking for a vote from clergy as to what they allow these days, I can just about guarantee you that anything goes. So if they are the appointed judges and lawgivers then you are OK after a little ritual confession. There are few exceptions.

    That does not mean that the New Testament or God goes along with it whatsoever, for He doesn't. Marriage is until death does part.

    Look up the URL links for the Letter to the Pastor
    http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaprojectletter.htm.

    SpiritWalker
     
  19. CalvinG

    CalvinG
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    Spiritwalker,

    What reasons do pastors who perform remarriages while the spouse yet lives give for so doing?

    I can certainly understand that Erasmus in the time of Henry VIII and the new Church of England had reasons of political expediency to redefine marriage obligations. But why would Christians of today teach other than what they genuinely believe to be Biblical teaching regarding marriage?
     
  20. SpiritWalker

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    Dear Calvin,

    It is difficult to answer your question as to why the vast majority of Pastors disregard the Biblical prohibitions against divorce and remarriage. I guess hard hearted wickedness and indifference to Christ's commands. It is hard to believe it could be ignorance, but then again when I see the level of understanding, perhaps so.

    Most evangelicals have disgraced themselves and Jesus with the rampant immorality and the highest divorce and remarriage rates of any identifiable group in the world. Thumbing their nose at God and His laws. As a Baptist this really hits home to me, as according to Barna, our rate is the worst of the worst. Bad fruit from a tree going very bad, very fast. Salt turning to cynaide. May God forgive us. (Not unless we repent, He won't)

    SpiritWalker
     

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