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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What does the Bible say about divorce?

 

“DEAR THEOPHILUS”

By Tom Wacaster

 

It is not unusual for someone to write a “letter” to some imaginary character, and in that letter teach some lessons that address a vital issue of our times. Letters to imaginary characters can be encouraging; or they can express a certain sense of foreboding. There are, for example, those proverbial “dear John” letters, few of which are actually written to someone by the name of John. Just the two words, “dear John” conjure up thoughts of foreboding of a love gone wrong. One of the M*A*S*H episodes some years ago involved someone writing a letter beginning with the words, “Dear Sigmund,” perhaps an allusion to Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychiatrist. Occasionally I have come across letters beginning with, “Dear Theophilus,” all of which had to do with religious matters for the simple reason that the name Theophilus was the man to whom Luke wrote his two part history of Christ and the church.

 

I, too, have used this particular approach from time to time to share with my readers what I might have written to someone asking a question, or perhaps needing correction. In order to share the letter with a wider audience, while at the same time concealing the name of the individual who asked the question, I simply address the letter to ‘Theophilus.’ Whether or not Theophilus was a real person to whom Luke wrote his historical letters has been debated, and I’m not sure if the question of whether or not the man was a real person has, or ever will be settled.  The ‘Theophilus’ to whom I wrote the following letter is not real, but the  person to whom I sent the letter was a real person, with a real need, and a real question. As you read this letter keep in mind that it was written long before the Supreme Court of our land legalized homosexual marriages.  I hope you benefit from my thoughts:

Dear Theophilus,

Your question regarding a particular case involving marriage and divorce is quite interesting.  If I understand your question, then the facts in the case are these:

A man and a woman are joined in marriage, both trusting that the other is a legitimate candidate for marriage. After some time the woman learns that the man had been married previous to their marriage, and that he divorced his previous wife without scriptural authority. According to the Bible, she knows that she has no scriptural authority to be married to this man.  Consequently she divorces the man in a civil court and in the sight of God. The question now before us is this:  Does the woman have a scriptural right to remarry?

It might be good to take another look at the instructions of our Lord relative to marriage and divorce.  In Matthew 19: 9 our Lord said:  “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.”  If a man puts away his wife for any cause other than fornication, he has no scriptural authority to remarry.  That much seems clear from the passage. He has “adulterated” his marriage relationship by treating his wife with contempt, casting her aside in spite of the fact that she has maintained her integrity to the marriage vows.  If that man enters into a second marriage our Lord says he “committeth adultery.”  The present tense verb declares that when he enters into a subsequent marriage that he is now living in an adulterous relationship with his second wife.

 

One important aspect in our hypothetical case has to do with the fact that this man’s second wife is not aware of his previous marriage and consequent divorce and/or the fact that he had divorced his first wife for an unscriptural cause.  She has unknowingly entered into an adulterous relationship with the man.  The relationship itself is sinful.  She has no “authority” to be married to this man. While she may have civil authority to remain in this relationship, she has no Biblical authority to do so. It is my conclusion that the man and woman, while being legitimately married in a court of law, were not legitimately married in the sight of God.  In order to rectify the situation in the sight of God the woman now seeks and obtains a divorce from the man. 

 

At this point I want to entertain the question as to whether or not the man and woman were actually “married” in the sight of God; or were they merely living in adultery? In order to bring the question into focus, let us develop another “hypothetical” case. Let it be assumed that down the road of time that our civil courts legalize homosexual marriages [which they have now done, TW].  Let us also assume that two men join in “marriage” and live together for a number of years.  Now let us assume that one of the men is converted, renounces his homosexuality, and “divorces” his spouse. Is the man who is now seeking to live by God’s word qualified to enter into a marriage with a woman who, herself, is qualified in the sight of God to marry? Of course he is.  But why is he scripturally qualified to marry this woman?  For the simple reason that his first “marriage” was not a Biblical marriage. Now apply the principle to our case under consideration. The man and woman being considered were not Biblically authorized to be married. Their marriage, at least in the sight of God, was not legitimate.  Following her divorce she now has the right to remarry, just as the penitent homosexual, upon his conversion and separation from his partner, was qualified to “remarry.” If not, why not?

I hope this has helped you. 

 

Tom

~~~~~

I came across these a few years ago. I think you’ll get a laugh from these.  Be sure to take them in stride and not too seriously. Someone has compiled the following list of observations about married life:

*A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.  A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

* Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.  Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

* A man is a person who will pay two dollars for a one-dollar item he wants.  A woman will pay one dollar for a two-dollar item that she doesn't want.

* To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little.  To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

* When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping.  Men invade another country.

* A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but  he doesn't.  A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

* A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.  A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

* There are two times when a man doesn't understand a woman - before marriage and after marriage.

* Only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy.  One is to let her think she is having her own way.  The other is to let her have it.

* Any married man should forget his mistakes - there's no use in two people remembering the same thing.

* A man has six items in his bathroom - a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, deodorant and a towel. The average number of  items in the typical woman's bathroom is 437.  A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

* A woman always has the last word in any argument.  Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

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