4.20.2009

To Lance - or the post where I still can't leave well enough alone.

Lance, I feel like you are a pharisee, trying to stir up trouble with your questions of divorce but I will answer anyway :-)

I don't think divorce should be illegal for the same reason God allowed Moses to grant divorces - it isn't good for society. Back in the day (of Moses) men weren't divorcing their wives but were making their lives miserable because their hearts were hardened against them. They were being mistreated and abused instead of being divorced. That isn't good for society or a good illustration of God's love for his church.

So just as marriage is for the benefit and protection of women and children, in a very sad way, so is divorce. If we didn't have sin in the world, we wouldn't have that problem, but we do - so we do.

But I do think it is too easy to be divorced in this country. You may disagree, but I don't think it should be easy.

But moving from legality to church issues, I think the church is way too soft on divorce. Yes, it has become common in our society, but that doesn't mean God's view on it have changed. I think the only church accepted reasons for divorce should be those that are in the scripture. And the Bible does clearly lay out times when divorce is acceptable - never good, never what He intended, but acceptable.

In Matthew 19:9, Jesus says

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."


My Strong's concordance translates that word "fornication" to porneia, which is defined as

1) Illicit s*xual intercourse (adultery, fornication, h*mos*xuality, l*sbianism, intercourse with animals, s*xual intercourse with close relatives, s*xual intercourse with a divorced man or woman.
2) The worship of idols

So apparently fornication is grounds for divorce. Another example of acceptable divorce comes up in 1 Corinthians 7:15 when it states that if a believer is married to a non-believer and the non-believe "wants out" that they are no longer bound.

My point here isn't to dissect every account when the Bible talks about divorce, it is that the Bible does talk about divorce. We don't have to use our minds to reason when divorce is okay and not okay, God tells us. And for most reasons, it isn't. And when it isn't, it is sin.

So just like I am not going to say homosexuality isn't a sin when I think the Bible says it is, neither am I willing to say that divorce isn't a sin in cases when I think the Bible says it is, even if if is unpopular to do so. I know that I don't make the rules, He does. And I think the church needs to do a better job of going back to the Bible as the basis for its standard of right and wrong.

But, and I think this is a big but, I hate to get so caught up in discussing what is a sin and what isn't a sin that I miss the whole point - forgiveness. I think it is important to define sin, because without knowledge of our sin, we can't repent, we can't ask for forgiveness. But the point is not the sin, the point is forgiveness. I said in my last post that my whole reason for living is to illustrate the gospel. The gospel is all about the grace of God. He wants us to live in his will because He loves us and wants the best for us. But He knows we can't do that on our own. That is the whole reason He sent Jesus. Repairing lives is what He does best. He wants to work miracles in our lives and restore them. God wants to forgive us of all our sin, that doesn't exclude homosexuality, that doesn't exclude divorce.

Since it all comes back to the Jesus, I feel like it is fitting to end with a verse about Him, you will probably recognize it:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17


6 comments:

Rachel said...

I think I agreed with everything you said here. I think divorce is too easy to get in this country (see: celebrity disposable marriages) and that it is a legitimate threat to the institution of marriage but, on the other hand, I don't know what exactly should be changed about it.

It's important that an abused spouse (whether physically or "just" verbally or emotionally abused) be able to get out of a toxic marriage, but trying to make them prove the other spouse's faults in front of a judge would create a lot of problems, I would think.

MacKenzie said...

I'm glad we agree. And that is one of the reasons I moved to church from legality, I don't know what the legal answer is. I guess it is because you can't really use the law to fix what is, at it's root, a heart issue.

Lance said...

But, I was never arguing heart or church, I was discussing law. As far as church goes, I am bound to the Discipline. As long as it prohibits me from performing same-sex unions, I will abide by that because I made a vow, whether I agree with the decision or not.
But law is another issue. I disagree with you. Marriage IS a right between two consenting adults. The same argument: it's wrong, it's unnatural, it's sinful, it will damage society, etc., was used by those wishing to continue prohibitions of interracial marriage. Society could decide who could and could not get married, and society had decided that blacks couldn't marry whites. However, this was an abrogation of their rights. And the state has no business enforcing religious values. It's job is to protect rights. If a Church wants to continue to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, that's the Church's right. No one has to agree with it that doesn't want to. But a legal system based on rights, such as ours, should never make laws saying that one group of consenting individuals have lesser rights because they don't follow another group's value system.
You may believe that homosexuality is inherently sinful, and that is your right. But it is homosexuals' rights to believe and practice otherwise as long as it does not infringe on anyone else's rights. And, contrary to what the Stephen Colbert commercial says, if gay marriage is legalized in all 50 states, straight marriage is still valid.
Any good Republican should be against the government making heavy-handed laws infringing on individual rights.

MacKenzie said...

We won't ever really come to an agreement and there isn't really a point debating logically because we start with different suppositions. You believe marriage is a right. I believe marriage is not a right, but an institution set up by the government to encourage behavior its citizens feel benefit society as a whole.

You said - "But it is homosexuals' rights to believe and practice otherwise as long as it does not infringe on anyone else's rights."

I agree with you. One does have a right to engage in whatever behavior they want (as long as it does not interfere with others rights) and they can believe it is morally acceptable while I will continue to believe it is wrong.

But no one has the "right" to have their behavior deemed acceptable, normal or beneficial by society.

I also don't think you can bring the racial issue in because it isn't really the same. Unlike what you say - Marriage is not a agreement between two consenting adults, marriage is a contractual agreement between one man and one woman. Marriage wasn't being denied to those of different races because they didn't fit the definition of the institution of marriage, it was denied to them because of their race. In the case of "homosexual marriage" they don't fit the definition of the institution.

Legally, a homosexual man can contractually obligate himself to a woman as much as a heterosexual man can (that is, if he fits in the other qualifications the state has outlined i.e. he is old enough, not too close blood relation, gotten whatever blood test, etc) He just doesn't want to. He wants to bind himself to a man. Well, that isn't marriage.

But enough about that, I'm home on a sick day today so I'm going to go back to what sick days are really for - sleeping, resting and getting to feel better.

Rachel said...

Another fundamental disagreement is whether the government ought to legislate morality based on purely religious grounds--because, as far as I can tell, there's nothing different about gay marriage in a secular sense as long as heterosexuals who don't have kids are allowed to marry.

(I'm not trying to badger you, so you can ignore me as much as you would like.)

Lance said...

A couple of things:
-Strong's is notoriously...unreliable in some of its translations. "Porneia" encompasses nowhere near as many activities as Strong's indicates. Most glaring would be lesbianism, which Scripture never mentions.
-I wonder where these terribly easy divorces can be obtained. As someone who's been through one, I can tell you, the last thing I needed was for it to be MORE difficult. It is far more difficult to get a divorce than to get married. I think it should be much more difficult to get married than it is.